With the ever-rising cost of smoking cigarettes, the indoor smoking ban and the clear health implications involved with smoking, it is understandable that so many people are desperately searching for an effective way to quit.
Smoking E-Cigarettes or “vaping” is fast becoming an increasingly popular alternative to smoking cigarettes and it is thought there are some 3 million “E-Vapers” in the UK. The cost saving aspect gives this relatively new method of nicotine replacement an attractive edge, and the added novelty of a variety of available flavors and lack of smokey after-taste all make vaping a tempting method of kicking the habit – once and for all.
As vaping is still so new, the true health implications have been speculated with claims that vaping is as bad, and in some cases worse than smoking cigarettes, and the horror stories and theories connected with e-cigarettes could be enough to deter many from trying them out.
A recent study funded by Cancer Research UK, however, showed that those who replaced cigarettes with nicotine replacement were found to have lower levels of NNAL – a toxic chemical strongly associated with lung cancer – in their system than those who continued to smoke. 97% lower levels, in fact, after just six months of replacement. NNAL is just one of many chemicals which were found more highly present in people who continued to smoke cigarettes than those who switched to nicotine replacement. The number of toxins and cancer-causing substances found in those who made the switch was also considerably lower. The test was carried out on 181 individuals and is the first long-term study of the effects of vaping on ex-smokers and smokers.
The evidence it produced is contrary to some previous experiments which have been simulated; the results of which could now be proven wrong by these newer studies, carried out over a considerable amount of time meaning the results show that the long-term effects of vaping are also fairly low, although further investigations on the long-term effects are required.
Nicotine replacement therapy, or NRT, helps to deal with the addiction to cigarettes by finding a way to provide nicotine to feed the addiction while minimizing the harmful chemicals that are found in cigarettes.
The tar and tobacco in cigarettes are the dangerous ingredients that cause illness, and nicotine alone is not thought to be as harmful. Nicotine replacement is, therefore, the ideal way to remove dangerous chemicals from the body, without depriving it of nicotine.
The level of nicotine available in vape juices varies, with different strains of nicotine available. Ranging from 0mg of nicotine, up to levels as high as 24mg, e-cigs can be used to feed the physical addiction to smoking (the hand to mouth action) while gradually reducing the level of nicotine ingested – if the end goal is to quit altogether. Studies show, however, that using NRT permanently is no more harmful, as long as the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes are not present. This allows the user to concentrate on giving up smoking without worrying about the effects of withdrawal symptoms from nicotine.
The test showed that the reduction of toxins found in the body was only significant in those who replaced cigarettes completely. Those who continued to smoke as well as vape, showed little to no change.
Tests on E-Cigarettes are still in the early stages, and there will likely be more conducted over the coming years. This first long-term experiment has been a breakthrough though, proving that the cancerous causing chemicals in cigarettes are greatly reduced by switching to vaping, or another form of NRT.