Looking to quit smoking? A study tracking smokers is pushing back on using e-cigarettes as the bridge to quit traditional smoking.
Public health officials and proponents of the industry have often pointed to the devices as a crutch to get tobacco smokers off traditional cigarettes. Now there are studies showing that is not the case.
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine tracked 1,000 California smokers for a year. Each traditional smoker used both tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes, popularly known as vape pens.
The results are what you would expect if you just think – nicotine. The addictive substance is in both, so is it surprising users of both were 60 percent less likely to quit? Or smokers were only half as likely to limit the number of traditional cigarettes?
Traditionally smokers are already addicted to cigarettes via nicotine, but often hit a ceiling due to the fact the things smell horrible and are not what you would consider easy on the palate.
Enter e-cigarettes or vape pens. These come in a variety of flavors, don’t smell terrible and give smokers a way to increase nicotine intake. Is the study a surprise? Maybe, but look at the nuances, it’s not hard to imagine pairing the two should not be a blanket recommendation to quitting smoking.
Rather, think of the vape pens as a tool for physicians to offer patients looking to get away from traditional cigarettes.
Dr. Wael Al-Delaimy, lead author and a professor at the Department of Family Health and Public Health, expanded on the results.
“Based on the idea that smokers use e-cigarettes to quit smoking, we hypothesized that smokers who used these products would be more successful in quitting. But the research revealed the contrary. We need further studies to answer why they cannot quit. One hypothesis is that smokers are receiving an increase in nicotine dose by using e-cigarettes.”
More research is needed. Physicians shouldn’t discount the e-cigarettes as a tool to help users quit. Especially over prescription meds.
If I were a smoker and wanted to quit, I would try the vape pens way before I started a prescription drug regimen. Try the paths of least side effects first with patches, gum, vaporizers. If that doesn’t help, then move on.
E-cigarettes are about to go through hell with the press, and the blame can be placed on the manufacturers. Don’t promise the ultimate weapon in quitting smoking, Everyone is different, and will respond differently to treatment options. Even ones you can buy at your local convenience store.