Switching from Smoking to Vaping
On New Year's Eve, the last day of the year, people think-up all kinds of resolutions for the coming year— doing more sports, going on a diet, working less, etc,. Quitting smoking is one of the most popular and that can only be a good thing, as smoking is one of the leading causes of death in the world. The truth is, tobacco is one of the few substances that can be purchased legally and at the same time is incredibly dangerous. After all, one in two people die as a result of smoking.
The health aspect is of course important, but there are many more reasons why many people want to quit smoking. These include the high costs of cigarettes, the unpleasant odour and the fact that smoking is now frowned upon. Even among young people, cigarettes are now considered "uncool".
There are several ways to quit smoking. Some opt to go the difficult route and quit cold turkey. Others need some help in the form of medicines or other aids such as nicotine patches, chewing gum and inhalers.
Quit Smoking Using E-CigarettesThere is another alternative way to quit smoking: switching to e-cigarettes. However, experts still can’t agree on whether the vapour is harmful and on how harmful it is. Studies that highlight possible long-term consequences are still ongoing. The lack of education is also the reason why only a few people have decided to switch from smoking to vaping.
There is extensive research on the consequences of smoking, but this is not the case with regards to vaping, because the electronic cigarette has only been on the market for a decade. In fact, it’s not possible to research people who have been consuming e-cigarettes for a long time and have never smoked tobacco before.
Public Health England, the UK public health agency, reports that the e-cigarette is about 95% less harmful than the classic tobacco cigarette.
However, Professor John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at Public Health England, says that while this published estimation is the best one available, it is not based on accurate scientific estimations.
Some of the dangerous ingredients found in tobacco cigarettes, such as carbon monoxide and tar, are not found in e-cigarettes. There can still be some dangerous substances though, such as several heavy metals. Missing regulations also makes research more difficult, as the inequality between vaping brands can affect research results.
Many Knowledge Gaps Still Need to Be OvercomeApproximately 2.9 million people in the UK regularly consume e-cigarettes. This figure emerged from a recent parliamentary report. In 2016, according to the Tobacco Control Plan, a programme of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs aimed at reducing smoking in the United Kingdom, estimations show that more than 470,000 people used e-cigarettes to quit smoking.
The report does not say, however, how many individuals who use e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid have attained that target. There are no studies regarding the effects on smaller veins and arteries. These are big gaps in knowledge.
Newton says he's in the process of conducting a study at Sheffield Hallam University examining the benefits and risks of using e-cigarettes for smoking cessation. Scientists focus on cardiovascular health and examine the effects on small veins and arteries.
Funded by Heart Research UK, participants of that study can have their progress overseen and checked over a six-month period. The participants are divided into three different groups: one with participants using e-cigarettes and nicotine liquids, another using nicotine-free e-cigarettes and a third group with a nicotine replacement therapy, which is supported by Sheffield's smoking cessation services.
The identical smoking cessation behavioural support, which all participants will receive, is based on the smoking cessation support framework. The condition is that the participants are ready and willing to stop smoking.
Final Goodbye to Tobacco CigarettesThe research team measured the levels of cholesterol and dependence on nicotine in the participants. Preliminary results suggest that individuals whose random assignment to the e-cigarette groups are likely to refrain from smoking and to succeed in their attempt to quit smoking for good.
To be on the safe side, the participants are ultimately divided into those who have been successful and those who are not. It also checks why the latter group failed to complete with success.
Hopefully, new results will help to establish new guidelines for the use of electronic cigarettes in smoking cessation. It is also important that smokers get the opportunity to educate themselves better in order to make the best choice for them.
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