Many politicians and uninformed citizens out there are under the guise that electronic cigarettes are being used as a crutch to “double down” on nicotine so to speak. As e-cigs do in fact supply the user with a superior non-toxic inducing nicotine experience, to the uniformed it could look like users will not only smoke their regular cigarette, but have puffs of their e-cig on top of it. This could not be farther from the case.
Reuters recently reported on a study done in the UK to see if this was actually the case. Researchers from the UK surveyed about 1,400 e-cigarette users on the Internet, 76 percent of whom said they started using their devices to replace cigarettes entirely. A much smaller percentage said their goal was to quit smoking or to improve their health.
One researcher who has studied e-cigarette users said the findings allay fears that people are using the devices to get more nicotine on top of what’s already in tobacco cigarettes, instead of for smoking cessation.
“This study really indicates people are using them specifically to try to quit smoking or try to get off cigarettes. This dual-use idea is simply not a tenable idea anymore,” said Boston University’s Dr. Michael Siegel, who was not involved in the new research.
Overall, 1,123 ex-smokers and 218 current smokers from 33 different countries took the survey. About 16 percent of participants were from the U.S. and another 77 percent were from Europe. Seventy percent were men.
About three quarters of respondents said they started using e-cigarettes as a “complete alternative to smoking,” and 22 percent said they started using the devices for “other reasons” – including stopping smoking (7 percent), for health reasons (6 percent) and to get around smoking restrictions (3 percent).
Some 86 percent said they had either not smoked cigarettes for several weeks or months since using the e-cigarette or that the amount they smoked had decreased dramatically.
The researchers also found that the majority of people responding to the surveys felt their health had improved since using the devices.
“Most people reported great health benefits. Their cough was reduced and their breathing was improved,” said Dawkins, who added that the benefits are most likely from people smoking fewer cigarettes and not an effect of the devices or vapors.
Still, Dawkins told Reuters Health that more research is needed on the long-term effects of e-cigarettes.
Siegel said there’s no question that e-cigarettes are safer than smoking, but there are concerns over some of the vapors’ ingredients – including propylene glycol, which irritates airways, and formaldehyde, which is known to raise lung and nasal cancer risk when it’s inhaled.
While Siegel’s health beliefs are those of his own and are still up for question it is obvious that e-cigs do not contain the same amount of toxins as regular cigarettes do. What has been proven, however, is that this myth that e-cigs will just be a gateway to users piggybacking there regular nicotine intake is in fact just that, a myth.
There are many great benefits from electronic cigarettes and we have just opened the envelope on further discussions. Keep checking back to this space as we debunk more common misconceptions surrounding electronic cigarettes.