E-Cigarettes as Aid in Smoking Cessation

Manila Bulletin, June 18, 2013 | Go to article overview

E-Cigarettes as Aid in Smoking Cessation


Q: I wish to quit smoking. Will electronic cigarettes help me do this? How do these gadgets work?

Jason Dalisay

A: Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are battery-powered devices, many of which look like real cigarettes-with their tips lighting up-that are used to simulate the act of cigarette smoking. They vaporize a liquid solution known as e-juice or e-liquid of propylene glycol and/or glycerine and/or polyethylene glycol mixed with flavors and/or liquid nicotine. To mimic cigarette smoking, the smoke-like mist that is produced by the device is, much like tobacco smoke, inhaled into the lungs. E-juices come in a variety of flavors including regular tobacco, coffee, vanilla, menthol and assorted fruits.

Although prototypes of e-cigarettes have been patented since 1963, the device was first introduced to the market in China only in 2004 as an aid for smoking cessation and nicotine replacement therapy.

Proponents of e-cigarettes claim that these devices deliver the experience of smoking while eliminating the health hazards associated with tobacco smoke. The base liquids (i.e., propylene glycol, etc.) in e-cigarettes are purportedly safe because they are widely used as food additives and base solution for personal care products. Furthermore, even the nicotine-containing e-juices are much safer than conventional cigarettes because even if they give the same amount of nicotine as conventional cigarettes, they do not deliver the toxic products of combustion that conventional cigarettes do. Proponents also cite anecdotal studies and surveys that show that among smokers who wish to quit, e-cigarettes help fight cravings, cope with withdrawal symptoms, and avoid relapses.

Opponents of e-cigarettes, on the other hand, insists that e-cigarettes undermine smoking prevention and cessation by reinforcing the normalcy of cigarette use in public and workplaces. In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)is concerned that the marketing efforts of e-cigarettes may increase addiction to nicotine, especially in young people, encouraging them to experiment with real tobacco products. …

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