E-cigarettes and vaping: A debate beyond nicotine addiction
— By Charlie Osborne on March 26, 2014, 1:40 AM PST
Why is there a picture of a lit cigarette at the top of an article about ecigs? Are you trying to say that they the same thing? Electronic cigarettes solve all the problems associated with smoking. People smoke to get nicotine. Unfortunately inhaling the smoke from a burning plant gives you a lot more than nicotine. Electronic cigarettes only give you nicotine. They have little or no smell. They do not have an open flame and do not get hot enough to start a fire. They are a healthy way to consume nicotine. I have been using ecigs for 3 years now and they literally saved my life. After over 20 years of smoking I was starting to have serious health issues. When I switched to ecigs all my health issues went away. I encourage every smoker that I encounter to try them and have bought kits for all my friends and family that smoke. Rather than restrict or ban them the government should subsidize them. They should pay for an advertising campaign to encourage smokers to switch. They could save many lives this way.
I've heard all the anti-ecig arguments. They go something like this:
1. Tobacco causes cancer and many other illnesses. The nicotine in eliquid comes from tobacco so ecigs cause cancer. FALSE. It is the tar and carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke that causes the illness, not the nicotine. Nicotine is a stimulant just like caffeine. In the doses that it is used in it is no more harmful than a cup of coffee.
2. Electronic cigarettes look like real cigarettes. Cigarettes are bad so this makes ecigs bad too. FALSE. This is just ridiculous. Many models of ecigs look like cigarettes or cigars because it is convenient for them to be shaped this way. There are a lot of different ecigs models available and while most are cylindrical it would be difficult to mistake most ecigs for real cigarettes. The earlier models were purposely designed to look like cigarettes so that current smokers would recognize them and to provide a familiar experience when used. Due to limitations of battery technology most ecigs are now considerably larger than cigarettes.
3. Eliquid comes in kid friendly flavors so they attract kids to use them. DOUBTFUL. There are lots of less expensive ways to get things that are flavored like cherries of bananas. Why would a kid buy a $100 ecig and $5 eliquid when they can just buy a $1 piece of candy. Besides, vendors already self regulate and don't sell to minors.
4. Electronic cigarettes are a gateway to smoking. FALSE. The entire point of ecigs is the consume nicotine in a more healthy way and in places where smoking is not allowed. No one whose first exposure to nicotine is from vaping will start smoking. Vaping is superior to smoking in every way (health, cost, freedom) that you would have to be an idiot to switch to smoking.
5. Eliquid contains trace amounts of several harmful substances thus eliquid is harmful. FALSE. Almost everything that we consume, including our air and water, have trace amounts of many harmful substances. The reason why they are not harmful is that their concentrations are so low that your body easily removes them. Eliquid is made of Propylene glycol, nicotine and flavoring. Propylene glycol is widely used in food and medicine and is regarded as safe by the FDA. Nicotine, in small doses, has no lasting effect. The flavorings are the same ones used in candy and baked goods.
I'm sure that they will come up with more excuses why they shouldn't be allowed. The truth is that a lot of people like to use nicotine. The traditional way to get nicotine had negative impacts on other people. A new method was developed that prevents this problem. It should be embraced and encouraged, not banned.
I smile every time I see a smoker in the cold rain, satisfying his or her addiction in the smoking area. Those of you that worry about smokers being punished by laws either were very lucky prior to the rules, or too young to remember. My youth was spent on a submarine, prior to smoking regulations. My watchstation was slightly larger than a closet and I was frequently the only one of the four watchstanders that did not smoke. You could not leave for 6 hours. When one lit up, they all did. I never will forget the time I scrubbed the yellow film off of the grey walls. They had no sympathy, and I never will. After thirty years, I still get angry thinking about it. (obviously)
It's truly nice to see a first-person article. Yes, there are many facets to the subject, but I can tell you this... My wife quit smoking 2+ years ago and began vaping. My son is a major "juice" manufacturer, so he keeps her supplied with her favorite flavors. The difference it has made I can tell you for certain is that she no longer huff and puffs walking on a golf course or walking in general. Vaping has made quite a positive difference in her physiology and she still gets her nicotine hit. I wouldn't even attempt to pry her ProVari or eGo out of her hand...[;>}
I realize there must me some down sides, but so far - is all I've personally seen is positive
Charlie, I agree with stevewaclo's comment and appreciate the first person perspective. I tried but never took up smoking (probably because my middle school friends were anti-smoking), but some in my family have fought with smoking and won, so be encouraged to continue.
On the other side of the coin I feel like smokers get punished by laws and regulations. I've only met a few disrespectful smokers, but it seems to me the majority are conscious of my choice not to smoke and so keep their smoking private. I also feel like society tends to marginalize smokers through ostracization. But considering the consequences of second-hand smoke I understand why this is the case.
In general smoking is a complex issue that involves psychological and physiological factors that can't easily be overcome by force of will.
Recent research on nicotine and its use in reducing the effects of Parkinson's disease show that, on its own, nicotine is not as addictive as many think. It is the chemical soup in tobacco that causes the addiction. Perhaps that is why nicotine patches don't do much good in helping people to quit smoking.
And now it's personal...
Another excellent article, Charlie and your first person reporting puts a welcome perspective on the subject.
There's an old saying to the effect "Well, the situation may not be totally repaired, but it's a darn sight better than it was when we got here."
I don't smoke but suspect that while vaping may be simply transferring nicotine addition to a different delivery system, it's got to be a "least worst" alternative.
Best wishes on your continuing efforts to quit completely, and I suspect you will perform just fine after the nicotine induced IQ points go away .
Google health benefits of nicotine. Nicotine isn't especially bad for you, it's all the other crap in cigarette smoke that will kill you.
A fair, if a bit rambling article.
The smoking gestapo should be more concerned about the general quality of air in built up area's, and it's affects on the long term health, than their desire to completely exterminate smoking - more and more quality evidence is coming to light on this, esp. with the general reduction in smoking across most Western Nations and other causes coming through. People want to smoke, and they will do so regardless of the health issues. Blaming smoking for everything is self-evidently self-defeating.
@robert_rowe9 @robert_rowe9 Very well stated. there's another point altogether that no one is mentioning, yet it is on the bleeding edge of research into cognitive enhancing drugs or "smart drugs." Research going back to the late '80's and early '90's have taken the neurosciences by storm, as some prominent researchers started taking a serious look at numerous benefits of nicotine. It turns out many of the long-held assumptions about nicotine (by itself,) have been found to be simply untrue.
Nicotine, it turns out, is not the culprit in traditional tobacco smoking responsible for the myriad of deleterious health effects we've all come to understand. Recent research suggests nicotine may be one of the best drugs ever looked at in cognitive enhancing "smart drugs" research. It's neuro-protective properties for conditions like Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's, ADHD, Dementia, etc. are being taken very seriously.
Even it's notoriety as being among the most addictive substances on this planet, worse than cocaine or heroine, is being seriously questioned (and researched.) This research suggests that nicotine (by itself) is not addictive, that it takes the combination of other chemicals present in cigarette's to produce the addiction we've all come to fear. Furthermore, we should discuss just what implications from any given addiction has on a subject. Some consequences of addictive behavior can be deadly, others, not so much. Think about how many coffees you've had at the office.
Then there's people like me. A small percentage of folks that are actually non-smokers interested in nicotine for reasons having nothing to do with smoking cessation. The research has shown that nicotine is an amazing drug that has dual-use properties. It makes picks you up when your down, and relaxes you when feeling stressed. It helps you focus and concentrate, and generally improves mood.
I'd like to see more articles detailing this aspect of nicotine that very few are currently talking about. In certain circles it's a hot-bed of interesting discussion. I suspect we'll have much more to hear about on this subject as more and more researchers, previously blinded by dogmatic ignorance, come to appreciate this exciting area of research.
"Another excellent article, Charlie and your first person reporting puts a welcome perspective on the subject.".... or personal anecdotes, reported as fact. I'd personally expect a journo to discount their personal experiences from this sort of sciencey article, as being biased reporting.
@doubleganger ...other than the fact that it's more addictive than cocaine.
@kerryberry22 Vaping does not get rid of addiction, due to the nicotine being the addictive chemical. It diverts the problem. Although the thousands of other chemicals are eliminated through vaping, the nicotine is still a stimulant and not healthy for your heart or circulatory system. I do see the benefit in vaping, but also see the trendiness and cool appeal that youngsters will see. When the article spoke of a gateway to traditional methods we must realize that the gateway is social acceptability. Only time will tell.
@JohnMcGrew @doubleganger Rodo1's original point is that nicotine is less harmful than other substances to which people become addicted to, when separated from the other effects of smoking tobacco. I'm currently addicted to caffeine. Is that bad? Probably, but I'm living with it, and don't feel the need to pop caffeine pills when deprived of coffee.
@JohnMcGrew @doubleganger You mean the "fact" made up by the late (thank God) C. Everett Koop? Alcohol is far more addictive than tobacco, and I know that from first hand experience. Koop, Glantz, et. al. are (were) just a bunch of whiny, pissed off ex-smokers that have never let lying get in their way.
@theotherwill @JohnMcGrew @doubleganger That much I can agree with. But the same can apply to many higher-category addictive substances. Heroin is largely benign as well, with most of the negative health issues being more related to the variable quality of the substance available on the street and the risky delivery methods usually employed.
I wouldn't consider caffeine addiction in the same class, simply because caffeine doesn't affect your behavior in unhealthy ways like nicotine and similar substances do. Like you said, the fact that you don't feel the need to pop pills when coffee isn't available is the big difference. The same can't be said for these other substances.
@JohnMcGrewAh, the "hate" issues, the refuge of the true far left wing-nut. I guess that makes it make it particularly difficult for me to take you seriously on just about anything. I have yet to see anyone quitting smoking strapped to a gurney in the throes of the DTs. Never mind your schedule I, II, or II drugs. What about alcohol?