So you have made the decision to quit smoking and you have turned to vaping as a means to get rid of the stinky habit.
Well there is good news on the horizon. Scientists now suggest that people who take up e-cigarettes in an effort to stop smoking should consider upping the nicotine dose they get by using them daily.
Two new research papers just released this week suggest e-cigarettes may help smokers trying to kick the habit, but only if they are used every day, instead of infrequently. It may also be more beneficial to use the versions with refillable “tanks,” which could deliver a higher dose of nicotine.
Sure, there is so much controversy around the potential for e-cigarettes to help people quit smoking, even though it is estimated that the devices are up to 95% less harmful than actual cigarette smoking.
Dr. Ann McNeill of King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, where both studies were based, states: “Most smokers want to stop but are struggling, and disadvantaged and deprived groups are struggling most. If you are using an e-cigarette, use it more frequently and stop smoking cigarettes as fast as you can. If cigalikes don’t work, try something else.”
While both research papers do not set out to prove that e-cigarettes enable people to stop smoking, they instead highlight that e-cigarettes are helpful in getting rid of the addiction. Mind over matter also plays a role in the user wanting to quit the habit for good.
E-cigarettes and other forms of vaping have taken off in a big, big way. There are literally millions and millions of people in Canada, the USA and across Europe and around the world who are vaping.
Call it a new trend, a fad if you will – vaping is the in thing these days.
And e-cigarette providers online are selling vaping products like hotcakes.
Just ask Joel Hanmore, who opened up his online shop two years ago and business has been booming ever since.
“I am selling vape kits of all sorts to hundreds of people on a weekly basis in Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto – and the list could go on and on,” says Hanmore during an interview from his Kingston, ON, Canada, based office.
“It’s true: those who quit smoking and vape daily are typically the ones who end of kicking the habit – this is what I am hearing from my customers,” explains Hanmore.
“People who have smoked for 20 to 30 years tell me: ‘I vape daily and I have not had an actual cigarette in almost a year’,” says Hanmore, who owns eeecig.com. “This makes me feel so good to know I am offering products that will help smokers become smoke free eventually. It feels amazing to be part of such a unique movement. E-cigs are helping save lives and is giving people a chance to improve their health.”
The studies carried out involved nearly 2,000 smokers last year with a follow up this year. The initial study was first published in the Journal of Addiction and highlighted that over 65 per cent of those who were using e-cigarettes on a daily basis went on to make an attempt to give up smoking within the year, compared to 44 per cent of smokers who were not using e-cigarettes.
There was no evidence that daily e-cigarette users were more likely to have managed to get rid of a tobacco habit by the end of a year, but 14% had reduced their tobacco consumption by at least half.
Lead author Dr Leonie Brose states: “We already know that using an e-cigarette in an attempt to quit smoking increases the chances of success compared to quitting without any support.”
“This study did not test how helpful they are as quitting aids because we looked at smokers who were using them for any reason, including just to cut down on their smoking or in situations when they cannot smoke. But it is encouraging to see that even then, regular e-cigarette use was linked to reduced numbers of lethal cigarettes smoked and increased attempts to quit smoking in the following year.”
The second study, published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research revealed that people trying to quit smoking were more successful if they used a refillable tank model of e-cigarette, which allows the user to vary the nicotine content and flavours in the liquid it contains. Only 25 per cent of the 587 e-cigarette users had tank models which they used daily, but of these, 28 per cent had given up tobacco smoking after a year compared with 13 per cent of smokers who did not use e-cigarettes. The numbers who gave up while using cigalikes, or using tank models on an occasional basis, were similar to those who did not use e-cigarettes at all.
Only 5 per cent of people using cigalikes infrequently had quit smoking after a year, which the researchers say is concerning given that most of the cigalike brands are manufactured by the tobacco industry.
Linda Bauld, a professor of health policy and who is active with the World Health Organization, says these two studies have made valuable contributions to the growing literature on e-cigarettes.
“What this new research tells us is what e-cigarette users already know. The type of device, how often it is used and how much nicotine it contains all matter. Some devices will be effective to help smokers quit and others less so. Future studies need to maintain this focus and not treat all e-cigarettes, or all users, the same,” says Bauld.
Meanwhile, the debate over electronic cigarettes is a hot topic in countries like Canada. There are two camps: those who want e-cigs banned and those who support their use.
Hanmore hopes that the federal government doesn’t classify e-cigs as tobacco.
“Electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices are helping people quit smoking for good,” he says. “There is enough evidence out there that shows how harmful actual cigarettes are, so now we need to look at promoting the electronic cigarette industry on a broader level so Canadians have the right to healthier choices.”