Can the electronic cigarette help you quit smoking?

 

"I tried cold turkey. I tried using lollipops or candies as an oral fixation. I got 14 cavities but I still smoked...”

Spike Babaian, President of the National Vapers’ Club, on trying to quit before switching to the e-cigarette.

Many people use the word quitting when they actually mean switching. They are quitting tobacco, tar and combustion but continue to use nicotine, which has been compared to heroin in its capacity to create addiction.

Cigarettes stubs lie in a glass on a table.Licensing

Currently no electronic cigarettes are licensed to be sold as quit smoking aids. That doesn’t mean that they won’t be licensed to be used as such in the future, though, and a new government-funded study in New Zealand plans to examine ecigs ability to do this.

Current Studies

While there are word of mouth reports that the e-cigarette can help people to quit, there have been no long term studies to prove this. We know from nicotine cessation aids that many people can quit in the short term, only to resume smoking in the long term.

However, there have been several studies which suggest the possibility that e-cigarette can help people to quit. A study in New Zealand found that the electronic cigarette was effective in reducing nicotine cravings, and rated slightly above the nicorette inhaler for reducing irritability, restlessness, poor concentration and the need for a cigarette.

A separate study by Dr Eissenburg found that current smoking cessation methods failed to address smoking related stimuli:

“These results indicate that, while some tobacco abstinence symptoms may be suppressed with nicotine, suppressing others may also require strategies that address the absence of smoking-related stimuli.”

Source: PubMed

"It appears that the role of nicotine in addiction to smoking has been exaggerated and that there are behavioral aspects to the addiction that play a very important role."

It’s a position that Professor Michael Siegel agrees with, stating:

"It appears that the role of nicotine in addiction to smoking has been exaggerated and that there are behavioral aspects to the addiction that play a very important role."

Source: Zero Nicotine E-Cigarette

If these doctors are correct, and the e-cigarette can successfully provide smoking related stimuli as well as addressing nicotine cravings, it is possible they will be effective at helping people quit in the future.

Related articles

Can electronic cigarettes really help you quit smoking? (Associated content - page since removed)

Can electronic cigarettes help you quit smoking? My rant on the discussion (E Cig Spot)

Also see: The Electronic Cigarette Glossary

Image by Ship Photos

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