E-cigarettes are a relatively new smoking-cessation aid, and there are mixed messages from public health officials. Despite the scare tactics, millions of people are currently using these devices. Let’s look at the user experience, along with the science on their safety and effectiveness.
- Poll: User Experience with E-Cigarettes
- Study: Scientific Validation of Vaping Safety
- Make the Switch
Poll: User Experience with E-Cigarettes
The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives (CASAA) ran a survey at the end of 2015 that was completed by nearly 20,000 e-cigarette users. The poll was an attempt to gather information about why people vape, the types of products they use, and how they would react if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gets its way and effectively bans e-cigarettes. Here are three of the most impressive findings:
- E-cigarettes work: Nearly 9 in 10 users (87%) said that they had completely dropped traditional cigarettes after switching over to the electronic device.
- Other methods are less effective: Most people who had successfully quit with e-cigarettes had previously failed to get off of smoking. Four in five had attempted to quit smoking “cold-turkey”; seven in ten (71%) had used nicotine replacement therapy (NRT); and two in five (41%) had taken some other medication.
- E-cigarettes are a fast way to quit: Nearly two-thirds of poll participants (64%) were completely off cigarettes within just a few days.
One user shared through the American Vaping Association’s website that he had quit cigarettes, after two decades as a smoker, immediately when his device arrived in the mail. “Unlike the many failed attempts at quitting and wasting tons of money in the past using the usual over the counter quit smoking products such as the patch and gum…,” he said, “vaping worked for me immediately.”
Study: Scientific Validation of Vaping Safety
Big tobacco is a huge lobby in US Congress and is extremely powerful worldwide. Just consider how vast their business is globally: there are more than 1 billion smokers worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Those are customers the industry doesn’t want to lose, so it breeds as much doubt as possible through misinformation campaigns against vaping. Cigarette companies have tried and failed to compete fairly in the e-cigarette market, but their products were unpopular, so now they are attempting to kill the market through legislation and disingenuous messages about its phantom dangers.
What’s the truth? We can find the answer in an April 2014 report published in the peer-reviewed journal Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety: “[E]vidence indicates that electronic cigarettes are by far a less harmful alternative to smoking[,] and significant health benefits are expected in smokers who switch from tobacco to electronic cigarettes,” state the study’s authors, adding that additional research will make the devices even safer by guiding the development of standards and quality-control mechanisms.
What’s particularly compelling about the study is that it’s not just one isolated clinical trial that might have flaws in its design. Instead, authors Konstantinos E. Farsalinos and Riccardo Polosa conducted a systematic review of the safety of e-cigarettes, meaning that they looked at all the research on the subject to get the broadest and most accurate possible understanding of these products.
The scientists basically agree with other assessments that say vaping is at least 90% safer than cigarettes. In fact, the only dangers of e-cigarettes are toxins that have been found in the vapor, but those compounds are present in the same trace amounts that are legal in pharmaceutical medication. After all, e-cigarettes do not contain any tobacco, and you don’t set anything on fire, so there is no smoke.
Why is everyone so freaked out about vaping dangers if there seemingly aren’t any? Farsalinos and Polosa explain: “Surveys, clinical, chemistry and toxicology data have often been misrepresented or misinterpreted by health authorities and tobacco regulators, in such a way that the potential for harmful consequences of EC use has been largely exaggerated.” Plus, they point out, electronic cigarettes are intended for smoking-cessation purposes, so “any risk should be estimated relative to the risk of continuing or relapsing back to smoking[,] and the low efficacy of currently approved medications… should be taken into consideration.”
While the research duo acknowledge that additional study and regulations are needed, the latter specifically to prevent use of vaping among minors, they caution that laws should not be overreaching. One key point is that regulations should not make it excessively burdensome for smokers to get access to these devices and to e-liquids – that they should certainly not be harder to purchase than cigarettes.
Farsalinos and Polosa conclude that the information available is strong enough that any heavy-handed laws would be “an irrational application of the precautionary principle.” Furthermore, as opposed to being dangerous, these products actually save lives: “ECs represent a historical opportunity to save millions of lives and significantly reduce the burden of smoking-related diseases worldwide.”
Make the Switch
Do you want to quit smoking with electronic cigarettes? At eCIG.com, our mission is simple: provide the highest quality vaping products, along with the best customer service in the industry. To get started, explore our products on our site or find a store near you.