Times have changed. Where is was considered to be ‘hip’ to be a smoker, it is now completely anathema to smoke in public. In fact, almost every country now has strict bylaws that prevent smokers from smoking in front of non-smokers. Clearly designated smoking areas are the norm and this has been useful in helping people quit the dangerous habit. Apart from ‘ no-public-smoking’ laws, devices like electronic cigarettes have also proved to be quite useful in helping wean smokers off the habit. Invented by a Chinese chemist, the electronic cigarette was designed to provide smokers with the ideal hit of nicotine but without any of the 6000 other cancerous compounds present in cigarettes. E-cigs turned out to be one of the most useful devices every invented worldwide.
Is That Really True?
Although electronic cigarettes have helped thousands of people quit smoking, there have been reported problems as well. According to reports, there has been a rise in the number of dual users or users who use e-cigs along with traditional cigarettes. This dual use phenomenon is not common but users have been reportedly addicted to the use of e-cigs and the nicotine hit of cigarettes. In fact, the CDC or the Center for Disease Control was the first to publish an article regarding this dual use phenomenon. According to the CDC, users were more likely to use both options and this would result in users gaining an addiction to electronic smoking devices.
In fact, the CDC focused on a test case patient called Kristy. This patient had started using electronic smoking devices in an effort to stop using the actual cigarettes. However, Kristy was unable to kick the habit and she landed up with an addiction to electronic cigarettes as well. Due to the dual use, she landed up with a collapsed lung. The CDC used this test case as a way to deter smokers from relying on electronic devices to stop smoking. The CDC was supposed to raise awareness and raise the idea that electronic cigarettes might not be useful in quitting the habit of smoking. However, this idea is not really true. There have been a number of questionable studies reported on the effects of vaping and people trying to quit smoking, our friends at SmokeTastic did a great job of reporting on them already, so we are just going to touch on a few points of the use of e-cigs and how they can help smokers.
What you have to understand is the core use of an electronic cigarette. These units were not designed to help you quit. In fact, the major idea was to provide smokers with a healthier and safer way to get their nicotine. Of course, we don’t need any proof to tell you that simple nicotine is much safer than the 7000+ compounds present in cigarettes that can cause cancer. A study by Public Health England proved this fact as well by stating that e-cigs were more than 90% safer than cigarettes due to their pure content. E-cigs were also better as they achieved harm reduction to the users as compared to the use of real cigarettes.
Is Harm Reduction Really Possible?
Although the term has been bandied about quite frequently, the actual term ‘harm reduction’ is quite ambiguous. There is no proof actually showing that e-cigs are beneficial to health. Some research shows that users do find e-cigs useful to quit smoking while others state that e cigs do not really help at all. In fact, a small fraction of users stated that e cigs promoted dual use and it became increasingly difficult to quit smoking with the use of both real cigs and e-cigs. Due to the ambiguity surrounding the issue, researchers are now actively looking into the issue. In fact, researchers from the University Of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention were granted a whopping 1.8 million grant to look in to and investigate
What are Dual Users Actually and What Makes Them Different?
As we’ve stated, the term ‘dual user’ is quite difficult to understand. The actual incidence of dual users and how they turn into double users is not clearly understood. In order to raise awareness about the issue, researchers like Dr. Christopher Russell are looking into the issue. A recent paper released by the researcher was designed to increase awareness about the issue. His findings were presented in the 2015 Tobacco Science Research Conference in September this year. However, the results of the paper were quite stunning. According to Dr Russell, dual users were more likely to reduce their actual use of real cigarettes and move on to e cigs. This was also more likely to result in an eventual but complete stop in smoking.
Although the result was stunning, it was based on real-time evidence. The study incorporated people from all over the world and it was conducted online. To ensure an unbiased report, researchers used local languages and people from all over the world were able to give an unbiased feedback. These people included those who used cigarettes at least once. At last count, the study involved more than 7,200 users from all over the world. Results from the study showed that users who combined cigarette use with e-cig use showed a higher trend or likelihood of quitting the habit. The actual terms used in the study were also stated on the website. According to the study, more than 5000 users or 75% of the users were heavy smokers at the time of switching over to e cig use. Out of these 5000 users, more than 4200 users or 85.9% quit smoking as they had started vaping regularly. About 750 users were still smoking, and more than 50% reduced their smoking by more than 50% due to the continued use of e-vape units.
The study also showcased interesting information about other aspects of dual users. According to the same study, more than 64% of the users were able to use e-cigs to reduce their smoking habit. More than 50% of the users were able to quit smoking or at least their smoking habit due to the use of e cigs. One of the most interesting facts was that about 80% of the users were able to go without smoking for about or more. This means that they were able to reduce their dependence on cigarettes and move over to e cigs almost completely. These statistics were surprisingly high as very few devices were able to get people off smoking. In fact, electronic cigs managed to get 70% of people to quit smoking while 88% managed to use ecigs to decrease their smoking over time.
As a result, even though dual users are prevalent. The majority tend to use ecigs to quit smoking or reduce their smoking frequency. In fact, most of these dual users were making significant strides towards quitting or at least towards reducing their smoking. As a result, even though this sampling is small, it gives us a good idea of just how ecigs can help people out in quitting smoking.
Making the Distinction Between Smokers Who Use Vape Units or Vapers Who Use Cigarettes
Although the distinction may seem inconsequential, it is quite critical to understanding just how important both categories are in the smoking and vaping world. For example, studies show that there are two different categories of dual users. One category considers ecigs as replacements while others think of them as an addition to their smoking routine. As a result, a large category of smokers considered ecigs as a way to wean them off the real thing. It may also serve to complement their smoking behavior. Users can reinforce their intention to stop smoking due to their use of ecigs. There is a significant difference between smokers who vape occasionally and vapers who occasionally take a hit from a real cigarette. A similar study carried out by the International Journal of Drug Policy also researched the same situation. The study showed that there were different categories of electronic cigarette users and cigarette users. The study showed that dual users were more likely to have a longer smoking habit. They were also more likely to have a lower amount of daily cigarette consumption, and their dependence on smoking was similar to non-smoking capers. But once they started using vape units, they were more likely to smoke about 10 cigarettes but once they shifted to vape units, their consumption reduced by as much as 10%.
Another fact to be noted was that almost all vapers would have preferred to stop smoking rather than continue with both cigarettes and vape units. They did acknowledge the fact that vaping devices helped them reduce their smoking and their dependence on cigarettes. In fact, the study showed that dual use did not mean that users vaped and smoked at high levels but they did one habit more than the other and vaping was done much more smoking. This is very much different from what the CDC was presenting through the test case Kristy and her dependence on smoking and vaping. In fact, vapers are more likely to increase their use of vape units and stop using cigarettes if they can be convinced about the benefits of ECs.