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The American Cancer Society

Electronic Cigarettes – Boon, Bane, Blessing, or Boondoggle?

May 03, 2011

By Thomas J. Glynn, PhD


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that it is taking steps to regulate electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as tobacco products, acting under its authorities in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009.

 

That's got everybody talking about these rather strange devices, which have become increasingly popular over the past few years.


E-cigarettes resemble a standard cigarette but use a battery and an atomizer to heat a solution which, when inhaled, delivers vaporized nicotine to the user. They have been described both as a miracle answer to the devastating effects of cigarette smoking and as a grave danger to public health.

 

As with so many highly celebrated, or reviled, products, their true nature likely lies somewhere in between. Let's consider what many are saying about these devices.

 

Conflicting Viewpoints

 

Those who favor e-cigarettes list as benefits:

 

  • Their ability to deliver nicotine to the user without many of the other 7,000+ chemicals in a regular, burned cigarette;

 

  • Their absence of secondhand cigarette smoke;

 

  • Their resemblance to regular cigarettes, which provide the tactile and visual sensations - holding them in a certain way, a glowing tip, blowing smoke, etc. - that many cigarette smokers have become used to, or even psychologically dependent upon; and

 

  • Their potential for aiding cigarette smokers to who wish to quit to do so.

 

Those with concerns about e-cigarettes warn of:

 

  • Lack of scientific data about their safety. Simply put, e-cigarette users cannot be sure of what they are inhaling, since e-cigarettes have not been subjected to thorough, independent testing and, due to their manufacture by many different companies, there are no quality assurances in their production processes;

 

  • Lack of scientific data about their effectiveness as quit-smoking aids;

 

  • Lack of scientific data regarding their ability to deliver enough nicotine to satisfy withdrawal effects;

 

  • Lack of scientific data about the effect of secondhand vapor from e-cigarettes;

 

  • Lack of scientific data about whether the use of e-cigarettes encourages smokers who might have otherwise quit to continue smoking and only use e-cigarettes when they are in no-smoking environments; and

 

  • Lack of scientific data about whether youth may use e-cigarettes as an introduction to smoking regular cigarettes.

 

So, looking at these lists, it is easy to see how e-cigarettes are a source of controversy.

 

Proponents of e-cigarettes emphasize their potential for expanding the tools available for smokers who want to quit; their comforting similarity to regular cigarettes; the likelihood that they are considerably safer than regular cigarettes; and so on. They urge the public health community and, especially, the FDA, to drop their objections to e-cigarettes, promote their use, and, in the case of the FDA, to take actions to ease their way into the mainstream marketplace.

 

Those who are urging more caution in their widespread use, however, emphasize what we do not yet know about them: their safety for long-term inhalation; their effectiveness as smoking cessation aids; their appeal to youth; and so on. They urge the public to remain wary of e-cigarette use, the FDA to subject e-cigarettes to the same stringent testing regimen that similar products undergo, and the e-cigarette manufacturers to open their doors to independent safety and effectiveness testing.

 

What's Next?

 

The newly announced regulation would give the FDA authority to require e-cigarette manufacturers to register their products with the FDA, list their ingredients, establish (or continue) good manufacturing practices, address impure/untested product additions and misbranding issues, and restrict marketing and sales only to those 18 years and older.

 

While this new regulation would be a significant step forward in establishing the safety profile of e-cigarettes, what it would not do is establish whether they are effective in helping people quit smoking, whether they discourage some smokers from quitting, and whether youth may use them as gateway products to cigarette smoking.

 

The answers to those vital questions will need to come  from a wide-ranging, independent research agenda, as recently suggested and outlined by a group of international researchers who have themselves been viewed by some to be on both sides of this issue.*

 

During the time the new FDA regulation is being prepared and e-cigarette research is being conducted, these products will remain controversial - praised by many and looked at with great caution by many others. Many will use them and say they can help people quit smoking cigarettes, and many others will warn of possible harm from their use.

 

Bottom Line

 

The only solution to bridging this divide - and ultimately improving public health - is, as we have learned from more than two centuries of public health advances, to put science to work, obtain solid, independent data, and then make decisions and recommendations based on those data. To do otherwise, to develop public health policy on the basis of opinions and anecdotes, will not serve the public well and will, ultimately, undermine both points of view.

 

E-cigarettes may have the potential to make an important contribution to public health by helping some smokers stop. They are not likely to be a "magic bullet" any more than other quit smoking tools have been, at least to date. But their safety and effectiveness, their potential to keep some smokers from quitting, and possibly encourage young people to start smoking, require both investigation and thoughtful behavior and commentary by those on either side of this issue.

 

Hopefully, the research and regulation processes will move forward quickly. After all, if the e-cigarette is shown to be unsafe and ineffective, we want to move on to other approaches that can lower the appalling toll from cigarette smoking. Or, if they are shown to be both safe and effective, smokers can then add them to their menu of approaches to end their habit and extend their lives.       

 

*(Etter, JF, Bullen, C, Flouris, AD, Laugesen, M, and Eissenberg, T "Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems: A Research Agenda, Tobacco Control Online First, March 17, 2011 as 10/1136/tc.2010.042168).


Thomas J. Glynn, MA, MS, PhD, is director of Cancer Science and Trends and director of International Cancer Control for the American Cancer Society.

Comments

5/9/2011 8:58:33 PM #

Sylivia Jensen

I was smoking two packs of full flavor cigarettes a day and now I have completely quit with the help of an esig that was gifted to me. 2 others in this house hold one of which smoked 4 packs a day also quit with the help of this marvelous device.  I must say if you are trying to quit this may work for you as well. Smile  I feel better food tastes much better and I don't smell like smoke all the time! Love my Esig Smile  

Sylivia Jensen

5/10/2011 3:27:04 PM #

Scott Ballin

I want to commend Tom Glynn for his efforts to write a balanced, fair and civil piece on the e-cigarette. The e-cigarette has been a very controversial subject within the public health community. Highly respected people have taken differing views on the subject. There has also been a lot of rhetoric, noise, and misinformation on the subject. I am not so sure that those who are fighting each other on this issue and have polorized the subject are really that far off. If everyone would take the time to 'back off' just a little and sit down and sort through the issues, they just might find that there is more common ground than anyone could have imagined.  Science and working together to map out a  reasoanble plan of action that will move us forward is what is needed. Not only does the scientific community need to play a role in this effort but consumers of these products need to be heard as well -- as do the e-cigarette manufacturers (espeically those who believe that fair regulation is necessary and important from a public health perspective).

Scott Ballin

5/12/2011 3:25:56 PM #

Elaine Keller

The issues are presented in this article in a very balanced way.  However, what concerns me is the difference in goals between those opposed to electronic cigarettes and those in favor. The American Cancer Society has made it plain that they believe the goal of "smoking cessation" should be "nicotine cessation." They believe that complete nicotine abstinence is the most healthy path for all tobacco users. Therefore, they aren't really concerned about "Lack of scientific data regarding their ability to deliver enough nicotine to satisfy withdrawal effects."  

One of the reasons why electronic cigarettes are proving acceptable as a smoking replacement product is because the user can control the amount to nicotine to keep symptoms under control permanently. People who are switching from smoking to elecronic cigarettes in droves are older smokers who tried dozens or even scores of time to become abstinent from nicotine. Each time they did so, they became too ill to function.  They became confused, forgetful, inattentive, depressed, anxious, and irritable, and many were even plagued by phsyical ailments such as chronic pain and fatigue.

Yes, these are classic "withdrawal" symptoms.  But true withdrawal symptoms abate when the drug clears from the body.  Symptoms that persist longer than a few weeks are most likely due to underlying conditions such as attention deficit disorder, mild cognitive impairment, or mood impairments.  Most interesting is the fact that researchers are studying using nicotine to treat these conditions and others.  So the bottom line, which ACS does not appear to be willing to accept, is that complete nicotine abstinence is not possible for all tobacco users, and that for some people it isn't the healthiest path.

I smoked for 45 years and have been smoke-free for over two years.  Because I am abstinent from smoke, the wheezing that used to keep me awake at night is gone, as well as the productive morning cough. My blood pressure is lower and my stamina is higher. Because I am not abstinent from nicotine, however, I am able to concentrate, think, reason, remember things, and avoid a state of anhedonia.

Elaine Keller

5/12/2011 8:07:58 PM #

Paul Jacobson

Dr. Glynn, thank you for taking such a rational approach to this issue.  

Paul Jacobson

5/13/2011 11:19:05 PM #

Brad Preston

It is refreshing indeed to see a balanced article on this topic.  I just passed the 18-month mark using an e-cigarette, and have avoided smoking over 13,000 tobacco cigarettes.  This is the longest I have gone without a cigarette since the Johnson administration.  Like many long-time smokers, I thought there was no hope for me to give up cigarettes. But using the e-cig I found it miraculously effortless in contrast to any other attempts I'd made in the past.  I have seen nothing but positive effects - the persistent cough and congestion I had disappeared quickly, my senses of smell and taste returned, my blood pressure is lower, and the migraine headaches I'd had for several years also ceased.  I feel like i am in control now - I have lowered my nicotine level by 75% since I started.

I think most users would welcome regulation that ensures purity and safety of ingredients - I know I appreciate suppliers who implement policies such as lot tracking.  And certainly more studies on long-term use.  I believe the future is bright for this technology, and that it holds a great deal of promise.

Brad Preston

5/14/2011 8:33:34 AM #

Jim Rothenberger

Dr Glynn,

I was very pleased to see a well balanced article on E cigarettes, especially on the ACS website where, previously, the only message was ban E Cigarettes to FDA regulation as a drug and drug device.  This would have been a death sentence for one of the highest potential products for a real effect on smoking.

For too long the anti-smoking movement has been headed down a very slippery slope.  First to anti-tobacco, then on to anti-nicotine.  A prohibitionist attitude toward all forms of tobacco/nicotine has only a negative impact on overall health.  An honest review of relative risk of various products would give smokers alternatives to smoking, the use of tobacco that creates 98-99% of the risks of tobacco use.

I was a 43 year, 2-3 pack a day smoker at the end.  I never had any health issues with cigarettes until RIP was added to cigarette paper.  This was legislated as a requirement without any long term testing for "safety and effectiveness" and in my mind may have serious health effects long term.  For me, it may have been a life saver since the coughing and wheezing that developed convinced me to try E Cigarettes.  I had tried to quit using all approved medical and herbal methods dozens of times over the years, only returning to cigarettes.  I had given up trying to quit at least ten years ago until my girlfriend started talking about trying this new invention.  I was dubious, but gave in.  I'm now glad I did.

I immediately went from packs a day to about six cigarettes a day.  After six months, I was still unable to stop smoking entirely, but was convinced that, after my best quit attempt length ever, I could find a way.  I started asking questions and found out about Swedish snus.  I was so convinced, by the propaganda, that smokeless tobacco products were WORSE than smoking that my first response was to dismiss the idea.  Then I started reading about the product on the internet and reviewing the medical studies available.

I finally decided to give snus a try and ordered my first product.  From my first portion, I stopped smoking entirely.  I haven't had a puff on a cigarette in over a year and four months and have no desire to do so either.  Today I average four portions (4 grams) a day of Swedish snus (about the equivalent amount of tobacco that I smoked in two cigarettes).  I also use my E Cigarette on occasion, but more for the taste than any nicotine hit.  I have reduced the level of nicotine to zero nicotine.

I don't believe the health industry has really gotten a good grasp on why smoker's smoke and why it is so hard to quit.  I now view the issues as a three headed monster.  Yes, nicotine has an addictive effect but not nearly as strong as has been sold to the public over the years.  For some, it is quite addicting, much like caffeine.  Both have similar health risks and both can and do cause people to use too much of the products.

Underestimated in the smoking "addiction" is the habit aspects.  I know much of my problem was the habit of hand to mouth motion.  Many E Cig users that have successfully quit smoking using E Cigarettes have done so quickly and reduced their nicotine content just as quickly.  These people could not have possibly been "addicted" to the nicotine, they were "addicted" to the habit, perhaps the number one reason people smoke.

The third head of the monster is self medicating.  I did not understand why I started and couldn't quit until I was well on this journey.  I never took a puff until I was 19 and in the process of getting a college education.  No peer pressure, just the pressure of college life and the worry of the Viet Nam war that could certainly effect my life when I'd graduate in a couple years.  People smoke to self medicate for various health issues, I did it because of a depressive aspect of my physiology.  Tobacco has alkaloids other than nicotine.  The E Cig helped my hand to mouth habit, but didn't address those missing alkaloids that have an MAOI effect.  The Swedish snus gave me the calming effect I needed to put away cigarettes forever.

There are other harm reduction products out there and I can't see any one product being the one fits all solution.  Star Scientific has Ariva and Stonewalls smokeless products, a very compressed tobacco tablet some have found helps them keep off cigarettes.  Their latest versions with a BDL designation (an acronym for "below detectable levels" of nitrosamines, I believe) have been ruled to not be a tobacco product at all by the FDA.  These may be the perfect stop smoking product for some.

If organizations such as the ACS really want to see the smoking population stop, they really need to consider harm reduction as the best possible alternative.

Jim Rothenberger

5/14/2011 11:32:30 AM #

Traver

While in general this is a good and well balanced article I do have an issue with you statements about the lack of scientific data. I agree that we need more but this article makes it sound as if there is a complete lack of scientific studies and data. This simply isn't true. The main ingredients, Food flavoring, propylene glycol and glycerin have been in use as food additives for many years. They are all approved by the FDA as food additives.
There have also been numerous studies on the use of electronic cigarettes. Both scientific and informal. Too many for me to go over in a short comment. I would also like to point out that the lack of data does not mean there are any negative health consquences. In fact all of the studies so far have implied that electronic cigarettes are an effective and far safer alternative to smoking. Links and a listing of current studies can be found here:
http://www.casaa.org/resources/

Traver

5/14/2011 3:43:52 PM #

M.R. Coleman-Dion

Why should anyone but me determine, what is the best approach for my smoking cessation habits?
It is clear as Ms. Keller has said that the ACS is making no distinction between smoking and nicotine and would like to stomp out both habits even though this was never a goal until ecigs came to the forefront and threatened the pharmaceutical industries hold on the smoking cessation market.

I don't want nor do I need anyone other than me or my doctors to tell me what is in my best interest.
I quit smoking tobacco cigarettes in two days with the help of an ecig and have never smoked again.
My lung function/asthma studies are almost back to 100%  when they were at an uncontrolled level just six months prior.
I can breathe, have my stamina back and I'm not lethargic as I was when smoking
simply because I didn't have the "wind" to do anything or even try.

Should the government want to try and make things better for those of us who use these devices, fine.
I'm all for that, but one of the inconsistencies in the article was the use, by those who are anti-ecigs, is the claim that these products are a "gateway drug to smoking for children/teens or those would quit".  I don't know a single kid who has a credit card to be able to buy a $100. ecig kit and if they don't like that particular one, spend more money to get another one!
That statement makes no sense at all.  Of course there are a variety of devices available from many,many vendors but it is simply easier for a kid to walk into any corner store, and get cigarettes for less than $10. anywhere in this country and most adults will help them.  I don't know a single adult again, who will lend anybody their credit card to do the same.
All the vendors I have bought from have age constraints in place to exclude minors.  Many of the "vapers" I know have gone from using a seemingly high nicotine level, to coming all the way down to 0 nicotine and then they stop using the device so how could that possibly be bad? They just get to choose when they are ready to stop rather than having someone else tell them when to stop as with the patch or gums.

One last thing.  It has been proven that inhaling PG and VG is not harmful. The FDA, whom has pretty lax standards after all and seems never to do the right thing, has said these liquids are safe for inhalation.  
There are many studies saying that.  If they weren't, no one would be using these devices and juices, but I'm pretty positive my juice choices are 99% safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes.

I never wanted to quit smoking but the smoke from cigarettes was filling my lungs up with so much garbage, that I had to do something to improve that situation so thank God {and my friend Ken} for turning me towards ecigs!
ACS and others of their ilk need to be more concerned with harm reduction and not using underhanded tactics {like those recently exposed} to help more of us who may not be ready to "quit or die" as they seem to want, but would like honest truthful and less judgmental help from those organizations we used to respect.
C.B.

M.R. Coleman-Dion

5/15/2011 12:07:15 PM #

Pamela Ballin

I would like to say that I have been a non smoker for the last 6 months. I switched to the electronic cigarette, and have never picked up a cigarette or even been tempted!  I smoked two packs a day of little cigars because they were cheaper, and cigar's are not taxed like cigarettes.  I smoked cigar's for 5 years, and in one moment by switching to the electronic cigarette quit smoking!  I will also add that in order to save money I make my own liquid and it is made with a food product, and distilled water.  I am not even in need of nicotine, and thanks to the e-cigarette I am a Non smoker.  I am tired of all fighting either for a piece of the pie, and of course it has nothing to do with our health!  I know that we have many that love the taxes that flow through on behalf of smokers, and they are panicking.  The panic has translated into court actions to keep something that could help people out of their hands, and keep cigarettes in their lives all over MONEY!  

Pamela Ballin

8/13/2011 5:49:44 PM #

Kathy L Smith, RN Hospice Nurse

I too have been a long time cigarette smoker.  In one day, I stopped smoking cigarettes and started smoking e-cigs. As a hospice nurse  I have seen what smoking does to many patients, not just from lung cancer, but from COPD, heart disease, bladder cancer, esophageal cancer, laryngeal cancer, peripheral vascular disease and the list goes on.  When I started smoking e-cigs  I stopped coughing almost immediatedly and my breathing improved as well.  I felt so much better. Cigarettes just plain made me feel bad, the more I smoked the worse I felt.  Who knows what's in cigarettes anymore??  The FDA is not protecting us from the additives in them. E-cigs will not burn the house down if we fall asleep.  There is no second hand smoke in an e-cig to poison someone with a  lifetime of smoke inhalation damage.  Young people are going to try whatever is out there that they think is COOL. I sincerely hope they think e-cigarettes are cooler than Winstons or Newports.

Kathy L Smith, RN Hospice Nurse

9/12/2011 1:48:01 AM #

C. Robinson

I became aware and interested in e-cigarettes approximately two years ago. I checked the FDA website for info of their involvment and approval of this product. I discovered e-cigarettes has been in the market since around 2006 with no government regulations. There was some FDA studies with the conclusion that e-cigarette manufacturers would monitor their productions. Disappointing to say the least. Today I contacted the ACS and asked what was their position on the e-cigarette as a help stop smoking agent. The response was they did not support it. Disappointed, again. My plans are to write the American Medical Society, the Dental Association, the American Heart Association and any other organization that claims to care about the health of the American people. The ACS support of costly nicotine patches, nicotine cartridges, pills, and gums (I've tried them all) did not work for me. I convinced myself, I needed cigarettes to control my behavior. I agree strongly with the previous comments, especially J. Rothenberger. I will purchase the e-cigarettes without the approval of the FDA and the ACS based on the previous testamonies. I encourage the FDA and the ACS to take a positive approach toward e-cigarettes with/or without nicotine.

C. Robinson

9/13/2011 12:22:46 AM #

J. Rothenberger

C. Robinson, thank you for the kind words on my post.  I had actually forgot that I had made it some months ago.  You're making a wise decision in looking for an alternative that may help you get off cigarettes.  Before you jump into buying an E Cig, do some research and find good equipment.  I won't even make a recommendation at this point because there are so many out there.  You don't have to spend a fortune and shouldn't on your first one.  e-cigarette-forum is one of the biggest and most popular sites on all types of harm reduction products including E Cigs.  Spend some time asking questions and save yourself some money.  I didn't find the site until after I had spent a couple hundred dollars for my gf and myself.  I soon found out I could have done better and ultimately did.  

It's a bit of a journey but so rewarding once you find the correct path for you.  Beside E Cigs there are quite a few non-pharmaceutical solutions and if you are like I was, you've gone through most of them already.  The ?non-profit?"health" associations should be ashamed of themselves for not opening their eyes to all methods of getting off cigarettes.  If you look at their track record since 1998, they've managed to reduce the percentage of smokers (or perhaps other tobacco products have), but not seriously dented the number of smokers. May be can do it on our own, in our on time, when we want to rather than at their bidding.

I'm well over a year and a half without a single drag on a cigarette and it was so much easier than all my previous attempts, maybe because when I started on my journey I had no intention of quitting smoking.  It just happened and it was really easy once I found the right products for me.  Good luck.

J. Rothenberger

9/13/2011 7:25:10 PM #

C. Robinson

Thanks J. Rothenberger for your response. I will continue my research. I smoke approximately 2-3 packs of cigarettes per week. Smoking for me (inhaling and exhaling) relieves stress, anxiety, boredom and is rewarding. I don't smoke marajuana, I rarely drink alchohol, coffee and soda pop. I believe smoking cigarettes for me, is more of a habit than an addiction. I would like to find an e-cig without the nicotine and other chemicals. Hopefully it won't take long at all.
The lastest info from the FDA was dated April 25, 2011, concerning catergorizing e-cig as drugs/or devices. September 09, 2010 FDA issued warnings to 5 e-cig distributors-manufacturers concerning labelings and non listings of ingredients.

C. Robinson

9/24/2011 1:29:22 PM #

J. Zimmet

I am so happy to see a discussion on this topic.  I am mid fifties, smoked for 40 years (1-2 packs per day) and have been trying to quit for the last 20 years.  I have tried everything ever recommended (anyone remember the rubber band on the wrist aversion therapy? I just about snapped my hand off!) all without success.  Everytime I tried I'd get no more than 3 days in and go back to smoking. EVERYTHING during those days was horrible.  I was in real pain, my emotions were uncontrollable, and I felt like I was losing my mind.  Even though I have asthma and have had a heart attack I could not tollerate being without that cigarette!  I tried the e-cig because I am still willing to try anything to get tobacco out of my life!  Well it's been 7 solid days and I am not even tempted to buy a cigarette.  NO pain, emotions normal, mind firmly here.  This may not seem like an accomplishment to anyone else, but I know me and I know I will not smoke tobacco while I have the e-cig.  I will try to cut down on the nicotine as I have on caffiene becouse of my heart, but just losing all the crap in and about cigarettes is making me (and my non-smoker husband)  happier than I can even communicate!  PLEASE, to anyone who is still trying to stop smoking, just keep trying, something WILL work for you!

J. Zimmet

3/6/2012 3:54:41 PM #

Harold Barnes

Electronic Cigarettes have been in the market for 12+ years.  The ACS has opposed them for reasons that they have not been able to substantiate,  through innuendo rather than through some real basis.  The FDA evaluation revealed that the products tested were safe, with only a single sample being adulterated to a non-toxic level.  Were the ACS to fund the research I am sure that most manufacturers would be pleased to submit products to an unbiased evaluator.  What is the hold up with FDA evaluation, it has been 12 years that they have been waffling in regard to testing.  If there is a responsibility for exposing the American public to a toxic (?) product then it lies at the door of the FDA for dragging it's feet on completing the necessary testing.  Recent research, Nov 2011, indicates that e cigarettes are an effective tool for reducing the use of traditional tobacco products.  E-Cigarettes are SIGNIFICANTLY more effective than either of the FDA approved patches or gum.

Harold Barnes

7/14/2012 6:31:08 PM #

Patricia Rose

I've smoked for 42 years and wouldn't even consider quitting until I tried an E-Cigarette.  I bought my starter kit two months ago and haven't touched or wanted a regular cigarette since.  My only fear now is they will ban the e-cigarettes and I'll have to go back to regular tobacco.

Patricia Rose

8/4/2012 11:15:58 AM #

Cathy Hyman

I am 48 years old and have been a heavy smoker since I was 14.  I smoked a pack to a pack and a half a day.   I purchased an e-cig about a year ago and it did not help.  About a month ago, a store opened up across the street from my office that sells these products.  I walked in and bought a starter kit.  When I left the store, I said to myself, I just threw away $125.00.  That was on a Thursday evening.  By Monday morning, I had smoked less than a pack of cigarettes for the entire weekend.  By the next week, I was down to 6 cigarettes a day.  I went back to the store and bought a more powerful system.  Now I am down to two cigarettes a day.  To summarize, within 2 weeks, I went from smoking a pack and a half a day to two cigarettes a day.  That is incredible for a 34 year addiction and habit.  I will be completely smoke free within the next week or two. This really works as a smoking cessation device.

It is shameful that the ACS would rather promote drugs with horrible potential side effects, i.e. Chantix, Wellbutrin, etc. Some of the possible side effects listed by Chantix are nightmares, vomiting, insomnia, suicidal thoughts, heart irregularities and seizures, just to name a few.

So far, the side effects that I am experiencing from the e-cig are better sleep, no cough and more energy.  And, most importantly, true smoking cessation.  ACS, please restore your credibility and get on the ball.  And for anyone interested in an e-cig, please investigate your options thoroughly.  There are a lot of snake oil salesmen out there and the industry is not regulated as it should be.

Cathy Hyman

11/2/2012 1:29:44 PM #

Sean Blaum

Thank you to everyone for your response to this article.  It is helpful in my education to learn about both sides of this very interesting debate.

I wanted to direct a question to Mr. Harold Barnes.  In your response to this article you stated, "Recent research, Nov 2011, indicates that e cigarettes are an effective tool for reducing the use of traditional tobacco products."  Would you be willing to share that study with me?  I have not been able to find any information that substantiates this statement, and I've been looking for one.  So far, all I can find is endorsements from the manufacturers (who obviously benefit financially from the sale of these products), and anecdotal support from long-term smokers who make statements about their personal 'quit history'.  (who obviously benefit from reduced smoking for a number of reasons!)

The reason that I'm asking for this is I am trying to do honest research on both sides of this topic.  I have not formulated an opinion as to whether or not I'm 'pro-e cig' or 'anti e-cig' as of yet.  I have been looking for a U.S. based scientific study that offers clear information either for or against its use.  Having the information available to me would be of tremendous gain for my own personal use and education.  If you would be willing to share it with, I would be extremely grateful.

Thank you.

Sean Blaum

12/11/2012 2:10:24 PM #

H.Voigt

@ Sean Blaum

I recommend the article
"Electronic cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy for tobacco control: A step forward
or a repeat of past mistakes?"

by Michael Siegel and Zachary Cahn.



@ all

I smoked cigarettes for 29 years (in the end about 40 per day), my wife as well (about 25 per day).
In December 2011 we changed to the electric cigarette, from one day to the next.
Since then we never have had the wish to smoke. It seems to be the best decision we ever made.
During this period I reduced nicotine from 24mg/ml to 12mg/ml (my wife reduced to 9mg).

Here in Germany we had some mendacious campaigns against the e-cig.
Government (tax), tobacco industry and the pharmaceutical companies are not friends of the new option for heavy smokers, because they know that this will bring less income for them. And since the media prefer copy-and-paste journalism it is not really surprising that many people think that the electric cigarette is dangerous. Reading some reputable articles (e.g. above) everyone could get an own opinion on this topic.

Most users of e-cigs are former heavy smokers over the age of 40. Many of them tried repeatedly to quit smoking. They realized that smoking will kill them. Some already have serious smoking related diseases. They got an option to get their needed nicotine avoiding unnecessary toxins and more damages to their lungs. Some of them reduced nicotine to 0mg and keep their electric cigarette because they still love the habit. Some of them quit any use of nicotine. But even when people keep on using the e-cig with nicotine, it is not a secret that the nicotine is the smallest problem regarding smoking.  

By the way: In my opinion the electric cigarette is not interesting for kids. Ask them and you will hear that it is not "cool" to suck on such kind of device. In addition it is much easier to get a pack of cigarettes, even in the US.

My personal conclusion:
Using the electric cigarette is not healthy - but much less dangerous than smoking tobacco.

Kind regards,
H.Voigt




H.Voigt

1/11/2013 1:24:32 AM #

maxi

The electronic cigarette was a strange thing when first introduced to the market. Now, it's the best invention next to the cell phone. The cigarette minus all the bad stuff.

maxi

1/12/2013 2:48:48 PM #

Mike Valentino

I too feel that this article was balanced on the topic. I also appreciated the comments from ex-smokers and those on their way to becoming ex-smokers of cigarettes and other combustible tobacco products.  

A common position from us ex-smokers regarding e-cigs is how much healthier we feel and truly are by making the switch.  I have never felt better, and we all know that cigarette smoking was killing us, we've already caused irreparable harm to our bodies, and we are not necessarily out of the woods with regard to significant health issues later on.  

But, we do not want 20 years of "insufficient scientific data" and subsequently governmental foot-dragging and obstructionism making their availability and price, prohibitive.  If you want to talk about "lack of scientific data", start talking about approved Chantix, nausea after ingesting, and nearl psychotic dreaming you get... even warnings regarding suicidal thoughts.  Why is that still on the market, because it helps smokers quit smoking?  Give me a break.  So does e-cigs and to deny that "fact" would be disingenuous.  

So, what we need now is for our medical society to add to those words "lack of scientific evidence..." with the words, ".. however, the AMA and other health organizations strongly support the use and availability of e-cigarettes as a replacement for smoking tobacco products, even with nicotine as an ingredient.  We urge the FDA to implement the necessary regulations to ensure that e-cigarette manufacturing and distribution follow safe health standards".

Thank you.

Mike Valentino

3/10/2013 11:31:12 AM #

Loves Jesus

I think this could be a good thing to use to quit smoking, but the end result should be to quit all together. Nicotine in the system is still a drug and your body could use a good detox. I think alot of the mental part of it is the need to take time for yourself. To go get a cup of coffee and sit by a window and ponder for a moment and give yourself a break. My hubby use to smoke back in the day and he said it is about the moment you give yourself. That is indeed what the smoker misses when they quit. Once the nicotine is rid in your body, you just need to take a few breaks throughout the day and rest. Grab some raw veggies, or a toothpick, or gum. Something to keep your mind off of the habit, this may help. And these ecigs may help to quit, but the true goal would be to quit totally be free from the bank account sucking cig/andor/ecig life cycle. ;+)

Loves Jesus

3/13/2013 11:04:37 AM #

Aidan Lukehart

Electronic cigarettes seemed to have helped a lot of my friends from smoking, although its not really quiting as your still smoking water vapor with nicotine in it! But its a start, plus you get to cut down the nicotine at your own speed, I think they are great, and fully appreciate this product!

Aidan Lukehart

3/18/2013 5:17:10 PM #

R Suttman

The electronic cigarette is the direct result of members of the medical marijuana community seeking a healthier way to consume cannabis. They realized that cannabis resin vaporizes at a lower temperature than it takes to burn cannabis flower and leaves They began experimenting with heat guns and later developed vaporizers. The E-cigarette is the direct descendent of those early heat gun experiments and is used extensively in the medical marijuana community. So when you finally are able to quit smoking tobacco, thank a pothead.

And as for this article. One side has 10 years of positive results, and the other side has a "lack of data" but a lot of financial support from the tobacco industry. This article seems to be a textbook case of false equivalency. And the cry for "more research" from those who block said research is a familiar one to the medical marijuana community.

Good luck to all those quitting tobacco. I truly hope this product helps you.

R Suttman

4/9/2013 3:25:03 PM #

O Roper

My husband has not reduced the amount of nicotine  he started with in the e-ciagarette.  He seems to be puffing more often therefore, andI assume he is getting more nicotine.

I smelled the nicotine in the bottle at he e-cigarette store and it smelled kinda of sweet.   Because my husband smokes in the house now, I smell the sweet smell in our bedroom.

Does this mean that the vapors have the same effect as second hand smoke less the tar?  He loves the e-cigarette, I love that he does not smell of tobacco, but I fear I am getting nicotine I don't want by being in the same room with him while he is enjoying his cigarette.

Can anyone answer that question so I can have the peace of mind?   Thank you O Roper

O Roper

8/25/2013 11:22:43 AM #

Deborah - Internationalvaporgroup.com

As with any other products, e-cigarettes have their benefits and disadvantages. Lack of scientific data about e-cigarettes positive results may be countered by empiric results reported by smokers who have sued them for quite some time. E-cigarettes main benefits are the ability to help smokers quit smoking while still fulfilling their need for smoking experience with less ehalth risks. Hopefully e-cigarettes will be scientifically proven as effective and safe smoking-cessation aids.

Deborah - Internationalvaporgroup.com

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