- What Are They?
- What Kinds Are Available?
- Using E-Cigarettes To Quit Tobacco Smoking
- Are E-Cigarettes Safe?
- Are E-Cigarettes Safe In Pregnancy?
- Is the Second-Hand Vapor Harmful to Others?
- Advantages of Quitting Smoking with E-Cigarettes
- Some Concerns About The Rise of E-Cigarettes
- What Happens In Your Body When You Stop Smoking and Begin Vaping?
- Top Tips For Quitting E-Cigarettes
- The Bottom Line
You’re probably aware of the recent bad press surrounding e-cigarettes, including the deaths of two people in the US. What we don’t really know is if the reported lung problems are related to the use of e-cigarettes and if this is the case, who is at the highest risk?
We do know that the problems haven’t been linked to any specific brand or flavor. Experts suspect that the cause of the problems is most likely a contaminant or an allergy to the chemicals and not vaping itself.
Quitting is one of the top things you can consider for the sake of your health because smoking doesn’t only harm your lungs, but every organ of your body. Almost 33% of deaths from heart disease are caused by smoking or secondhand smoke.
What Are They?
Let’s backtrack a little. What exactly are e-cigarettes? They’re devices that let the user inhale nicotine in the form of vapor instead of tobacco smoke. Because they don’t use tobacco, they don’t emit tar or carbon monoxide, which are the most dangerous products in tobacco smoke.
E-cigarettes work by heating up small amounts of liquid which contains nicotine plus some flavorings. The liquid is vaporized as the e-cigarette is “smoked”. Hence the term, “vaping“ .
What Kinds Are Available?
Various types of e-cigarettes are available today. One kind looks like normal tobacco cigarettes and are called “cigalikes.” They may be either disposable or rechargeable.
Other popular types are vape pens. They come in the form of a small tube that has a tank for storing the e-liquid, plus rechargeable batteries and replaceable coils.
Then there are pod systems that look something like a compact USB stick or pebble. They come with e-liquid capsules.
The biggest type of e-cigarettes are “mods.” They are designed with a refillable tank, long-lasting rechargeable batteries, and various power settings.
Using E-Cigarettes To Quit Tobacco Smoking
Thousands of people in the US and UK have successfully used e-cigarettes to quit tobacco. The evidence that they are effective as an alternative for traditional cigarettes is mounting.
E-Cigarettes work by helping you manage your nicotine cravings. E-liquids come in various strengths, so you can gradually work your dosage down.
A major trial was published in the UK this year which showed that if combined with expert face-to-face support, e-cigarette use to quit smoking was twice as effective as using nicotine patches or gum.
The report also concluded that it’s best to stop the use of cigarettes entirely and switch to vaping only. Your local specialist vaping shop will be able to give you the best advice on exactly how to go about it.
If you want to have the best chances of quitting smoking, choose the type of e-cigarette that’s rechargeable because they deliver better vaping experience than the disposable kind. For light smokers, it’s best to try “cigalikes”, vape pens or pods. The main consideration is to pick the correct strength of e-liquid to suit your needs.
Are E-Cigarettes Safe?
While e-cigarettes are not totally risk-free, they are much better for you than conventional cigarettes. They don’t produce carbon monoxide or tar, and the vapor contains lower levels of the harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke.
Although e-cigarettes contain nicotine, this is a relatively harmless chemical as compared to the toxic chemicals found in tobacco smoke. Nicotine replacement in the form of gum or patches has been used for many years and has not been found to be harmful.
Having said that nicotine is “relatively harmless”, remember that it is still a highly addictive, toxic chemical. We’re not recommending that non-smokers go out and buy e-cigarettes. Nicotine is still a toxic chemical that increases your blood pressure and causes adrenaline levels to rise.
This can precipitate a heart attack in susceptible individuals. There are still a lot of unknowns about vaping and more research needs to be done.
The thing to be careful about with e-cigarettes is that some users take in even more nicotine than they would while using tobacco. They purchase extra-strength liquids and increase the device’s voltage to get a bigger hit. If you’re using e-cigarettes to quit smoking, this is something you don’t want to do.
Are E-Cigarettes Safe In Pregnancy?
Very few studies have been done on the safety of e-cigarettes in pregnant women. We suspect that they are probably much less harmful to the woman and the baby than traditional tobacco smoke.
Of course, if you’re pregnant the best option is to quit smoking immediately. If this proves impossible, then e-cigarettes are simply a better-than-tobacco option.
Is the Second-Hand Vapor Harmful to Others?
While second-hand tobacco smoke is definitely harmful to those around you, there is no evidence yet to show that vapor from e-cigarettes can harm others.
Advantages of Quitting Smoking with E-Cigarettes
- You will no longer smell of tobacco smoke
- You can control the dosage of nicotine you’re getting and reduce it incrementally
- It’s one of the easiest ways to quit smoking
- Once you’re on the low strength liquid you’re well on your way to being nicotine free
- You’ll start reaping health benefits straight away. Your “smoker’s cough” will improve and your taste level will be cranked up a notch.
- It’s cheaper than smoking regular cigarettes
Some Concerns About The Rise of E-Cigarettes
A big concern is that e-cigarettes are becoming extremely popular among youths.
In fact, the US Surgeon General said in 2015 that among high-school students, the use of these products had increased by nine hundred percent. Some say that it’s becoming an epidemic.
There are several reasons for this. One is that they are cheaper than many tobacco products. Another is that the liquids are made in different flavors like fruit blend or tropical pineapple, which have great appeal for young people. The lack of a smoky smell is a big drawcard for many.
Many see this trend as a problem because it means many young people who probably never would have smoked anything are now nicotine addicts. There are fears that it will lead them to tobacco products later in life as well.
One body that’s particularly concerned is the American Lung Association. They cite growing evidence about the health risks of the vapor on the lungs and has made repeated requests that the FDA scrutinizes the products better.
The US Surgeon General stated that secondhand vapor contains emissions of nicotine, diacetyl which is a flavoring chemical that’s been linked to lung and heart disease, tin, and lead.
What Happens In Your Body When You Stop Smoking and Begin Vaping?
The First Day
Your body’s oxygen levels will return to normal because e-cigarettes contain no carbon monoxide. Your body will remove all the residual carbon monoxide by the end of the first day. Your lungs will continue removing debris and accumulated mucus.
The Second Day
Your sense of smell will improve, and you’ll begin to enjoy some of the aromas you missed out on when you were smoking. That’s because your body is repairing the receptors for taste and smell in your nose and mouth that were damaged by smoking.
The Third Day
You’ll probably notice that you’ll start to breathe easier. The tar that was clogging your bronchial tubes and causing irritation begins to be removed by your body. You should start coughing less.
After 5 Years
If you can keep it up for this long, you’ll have cut your heart attack risk in half. Your risk of lung cancer will decrease too.
Keep it Up
You can take pride in the fact that your body’s health is improving. If you can keep off tobacco products for ten years, you’ll halve your lung cancer risk and reduce your heart attack risk considerably. Best of all, you can take pride in the fact that you’re no longer exposing those around you to harmful tobacco smoke.
Top Tips For Quitting E-Cigarettes
We recommend that you take the process slowly, particularly if you’ve been a smoker for many years. Give yourself a couple of months on the high strength liquid before switching to the medium strength.
Once you’re settled on that, get the low strength liquid. Many smokers find that the longer they spend on each stage, the easier it is to eventually give up altogether.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, we really don’t know much about the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes. They’re still too new. It’s also difficult to study the effects because they vary so much among brands.
The e-liquid is not standardized and not all devices deliver nicotine by the same mechanisms of even a steady dose.
For now, our recommendation is that if you don’t smoke, don’t start now. However, if you’re a tobacco smoker who is looking to quit, e-cigarettes are worth trying.