The False Wall Between Smokers and E-cigs

The False Wall Between Smokers and E-cigs

A report published by the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in February 2020 showed its recordings of more than 2,800 cases of lung injury linked to vaping. More smokers are getting the wrong idea that vapes or e-cigarettes are as dangerous if not more than the tobacco-based cigarettes and these false fears are becoming a wall between smokers switching from tobacco to vapes. A report published by the PHE (Public Health England) on 4th March 2020 has addressed this false perception of the harmfulness of vaping.

But the belief is “out of line” with expert views from the US and Britain who say that using regulated nicotine vapes is far less harmful than smoking tobacco-based cigarettes. Smoking is the largest avoidable cause of death and serious disability in most developed countries. It causes around 85% of the approximately 40,000 cases of lung cancer in the UK each year. It also accounts for 85% of the 23,000 deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and about 25,000 from 200,000 deaths due to heart-related diseases.

An example of a personal e-cigarette. Courtesy: www.juulonlinesales.com

Nicotine is not a significant health hazard. Nicotine does not cause serious adverse health effects such as acute cardiac events or any heart disease and is not carcinogenic. The doses of nicotine delivered by vapes are significantly lower than any tobacco-based product and nicotine consumption at that level is extremely unlikely to cause any short-term or long-term harm to the consumer. This is one of the advantages of e-cigs over traditional ones. The other advantages of using e-cigarettes over conventional tobacco-based cigarettes lie in the difference of operation for both.

The Absorption of nicotine from tobacco-based products is much faster than e-cigs. This is because of how both products process nicotine. Tobacco cigarettes deliver nicotine along with a lot of carcinogenic elements and toxins like nitrosamines, acetone, acetylene, DDT, lead, radioactive polonium, hydrogen cyanide, methanol, arsenic and cadmium, and vapor phase toxins such as carbon monoxide released by the burning of tobacco. Since electronic cigarettes vaporize nicotine instead of burning it, most of these toxins are not present in the smoke produced. But not all e-cigarette producing companies produce an equal product that is as harmless as the current research says.

Though smoking tobacco-based cigarettes are bad for health, curing addiction takes time and rehabilitation. Suddenly leaving cigarettes is not possible for the majority of smokers. Slowly inhabiting oneself to reducing amounts of nicotine to completely leaving it is the way. Harm reduction is a strategy used widely in health policy to reduce harm to an individual or society by modifying hazardous behaviors that are difficult, and in some cases impossible, to prevent. Recent methods of practicing harm reduction to control the harm induced by smoking include introducing cigarette filters and limits on machine-smoked tar yields. While these methods appear to be successful on paper, saving about 10 million smokers over four decades, these smokers are those who were at oblivion’s edge and were forced to rehabilitate to survive. By definition, these harm reduction methods failed.

Over time, with better technology and innovation, there have been better methods to practice harm reduction for smokers effortlessly and more efficiently. One of the most successful methods is electronic cigarettes.

Electronic cigarette market changes in the US (adapted from Wells Fargo Securities)

Worldwide e-cigarette usage has increased significantly over recent years. The inference might be that the data also includes people starting to smoke with e-cigarettes, but while these cases exist, they are just outliers on the graph. These cases are not meant to be ignored, but the effects of e-cigarettes are proven to not be harmful even in long-term usage. There is evidence that in the US, the use of electronic cigarettes has become more popular among young people with ever use doubling between 2011 and 2012 from 3.3% to 6.8%, and current use increasing from 1.1% to 2.1%. Most of this increase has occurred as a result of use by people who already use some form of tobacco product. In a more recent analysis of 2011-12 data from young people in the US, reported widely (including by the British Medical Journal) to demonstrate gateway effects into smoking, use was again almost entirely restricted to young people who already smoked tobacco.

Electronic cigarettes offer nicotine delivery in a format that mimics smoking, have a socially acceptable non-medical image which enables users to retain their smoker identity but without the risk of smoke, are relatively inexpensive (start-up costs can be high, but running costs much lower than smoking), and despite (to date) nicotine delivery that is low relative to cigarettes, have proved popular with the current minority of smokers who use them.

An experiment conducted in Sweden using a population that relies on snus for their nicotine intake was conducted. Snus is oral moist tobacco which contains relatively low levels of tobacco-specific nitrosamines and has a risk profile that includes possible increases in the risk of oesophageal and pancreatic cancer and of fatal (but not non-fatal) myocardial infarction, but not COPD or lung cancer. The experiment revealed that, while the habit of smoking did not decrease, the deviation of smokers towards less toxic nicotine products was evident due to which cigarette consumption took a hit.

Trends in use of cigarettes and snus in Norwegian adults 1985-2012

The experiment showed that the availability of reduced-harm alternatives for tobacco smokers can have a beneficial effect. While snus is not likely to become a legal or indeed politically viable option, this data proves the concept that harm reduction strategies can contribute to significant reductions in smoking prevalence.

The conclusion to derive from this is the awareness of the effort the health organizations of the world are putting in to stop tobacco cigarette smoking by introducing harm reduction through e-cigarettes which are available at www.juulonlinesales.com and using this awareness to break through the false news on e-cigarettes to support these organizations in reducing to finish the harms of smoking.

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