The debate over e-cigarettes seems to be entering a new phase. Studies are hitting journals over their efficacy and safety. The e-cigarette phenomenon was initially accepted as a good thing across the board. It gave smokers an alternative to lighting up a regular cigarette. We all know the risks associated with smoking, so could this industry be the bridge to quitting?

Initial thoughts were that the ‘smoke’ being exhaled by users was safe water vapor. The rules that applied to smokers quickly went into effect for e-cigarette users. That meant smoking areas etc.

One area that the e-cigarette industry did prop up was a cottage industry of conferences. An entire subculture now exists surrounding the devices. Vapors go back and forth to the major conference cities, pushing the latest in flavors, technology and modifications.

E-Cigarette Health Impact

You’re not going to find a health professional that says, yes, fire up the e-cigarette. What doctors want to know is if this represents a final bridge to getting people to kick the habit of smoking.

When it comes to cancer patients, the answer looks to be a no. A new study, published in the journal Cancer, showed that e-cigarettes do not help cancer patients who smoke kick the habit.

Instead, the opposite was true. Dependence rates actually jumped among the 1,074 patients enrolled in the study. From 2012 to 2013, the use of e-cigarettes jumped by as much as 300 percent.

At the end of the study, researchers concluded that the study participants were likely to be more addicted to nicotine. The study authors found that the use tracked closely with that of the general population. Co-author Jamie Ostroff from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer remarked on this finding.

“Consistent with recent observations of increased e-cigarette use in the general population, our findings illustrate that e-cigarette use among tobacco-dependent cancer patients has increased within the past two years.”

So, what can a smoker do to kick the habit? Obviously, the e-cigarette fad is not the magic stick we were all hoping for. The FDA recommends a variety of patches, nicotine gum, Chantix and Zyban. Of course, you could always cold turkey, but give your friends and family a break. You’ll be irritable enough with a pack of Marlboros slapped on your arm.

Read the full study over at Cancer.

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