E-cigarettes. Cigarettes, Nicotine… what’s the difference?
Recently I’ve thought a bit about quitting, the financial benefits would be good and the health benefits even better. Somebody once said to me, on gambling, quit while you’re ahead. Maybe that would be wisest. My thoughts about quitting were all well and good until one day my friend, who is soon to be a father, came over and started puffing on an E-cigarette, first time I actually tried one. Not bad to be honest. I began to consider using them as an aid to quitting. Thinking hey, I’m still getting the nicotine while avoiding more harmful chemicals that are in cigarettes. As my consideration became more and more serious I decided to do what most people with half a brain would do, research. I’d looked up similar products when they first became available.
There were two issues I was aware of one of those is nicotine overdose, pretty easy to avoid but you really do have to make yourself stop puffing on it as it doesn’t burn down. Avoiding that is common sense, some people lack that but what can you do? The second which was a real issue was cheap products coming from china, low quality heating element could cause a problem if it flaked and entered the lungs. This can be avoided by buying higher end E-cigarettes. As with anything the price paid usually dictates the quality of the product. These were two issues that could pretty easily be avoided but another bothered me slightly, something I’ve been saying for a little while now: The possible ill effects of ‘vaping’ may not materialize for decade or so. With renewed interest I did a second more-thorough round of research.
Firstly a little Google because well even I can be lazy sometimes. I quickly noticed that E-cigarettes aren’t approved by the FDA or any other organization, to be honest it is way too soon for these things to be approved and marked safe for use as an aid to quitting. I kinda expected that with the limited time they’ve been widely available. Second place I looked I wasn’t so lazy, I do love The Lancet. It was very informative as was my third stop CDC. Some new facts came to light about quality of manufacture not being anywhere near consistent and the cartridges containing Formaldehyde and other carcinogens. Strange for me to be concerned about really considering the crap I already put in my body.
I only ever looked at E-cigarettes from my own perspective, as an aid to quitting or at the very least a safer delivery system for a very addictive drug. The CDC had mentioned a number of younger people finding E-cigarettes attractive also a percentage that had never smoked but tried E-cigarettes. There’s now this moral quandary as to whether the whole concept of making a very addictive substance more widely available and appealing to younger people. My real issue with them is the lack of regulation. Apparently the United Kingdom and EU, doing it right for once, are planning on regulating E-cigarettes as they would any medicine. There are fears that this would push prices up and make what could be a safer alternative to smoking, less accessible. It seems that in general everybody is on the fence. Honestly I wish I had the equipment to test a batch of E-liquid.
Nothing is conclusive but from what I’ve seen E-cigarettes appear to be somewhat effective at helping people towards quitting. Then there was that other thing The Lancet mentioned about the tobacco companies having huge stakes in E-Cigarettes. It argues that approving and regulating them could lead to the renormalization of smoking habits which would in effect go against everything the worlds various health services and numerous campaigners have worked for. As I mentioned my main problem is the quality and pharmacology of the liquid. I never much liked the idea of breathing in ‘aerosol and other additives’ that’s a little to vague for me. I like that it says ‘CONTAINS HYDROGEN CYANIDE, BENZINE…’ on my cigarette packet. It isn’t pleasant but it is honest. I value honesty especially if I’m choosing to poison myself with your particular brand.
You can also get a widely variable dosage from each cartridge. Nicotine can be lethal might I remind you, I’m guessing that liquid would be a decent purity if not high purity so an accidental overdose is quite possible as mentioned by both the CDC and Lancet. Suddenly this ‘safer alternative is looking very risky. The CDC takes such wonderful field notes, I read about genotoxins, and animal carcinogens which is always a good time. The article implied that there are ‘therapeutic E-cigarettes’ that are regulated. I’ll have to look into that. There’s also the increased risk of a cardiac event which is usually associated with the usage of nicotine.
It appears to me that if they were regulated or I could purchase quality E-liquid they would be a viable solution to my habit. Due to unknown associated health risks I’d probably only use them for a short amount of time before complete cessation. That seems like the smartest idea other than writing them off as too risky. A man who inhales over 4000 toxic chemicals on a regular basis is suddenly concerned about one or two. Doesn’t make much sense really. I think I’ll have to look into the therapeutic E-cigarettes. If I have to spend a little more for quality I don’t really mind. Either way it’ll be less than I’m currently spending on tobacco. Prices are ridiculous nowadays.
From one gamble to another it seems.