Can E-cigs Help Quit Smoking?

Posted on: February 24, 2015

e cigsAn electronic cigarette (e-cig or e-cigarette) is a battery-powered vaporizer, which simulates tobacco smoke by producing an aerosol that resembles smoke. It generally uses a heating element that vaporizes a liquid solution known as e-liquid. E-liquids usually contain a mixture of propylene glycol, vegetable, nicotine, and flavorings.   E-cigs are designed to look like cigarettes, right down to the glowing tip. When the smoker puffs on it, a mist of liquid, flavorings, and nicotine that looks something like smoke is let off. The smoker inhales it like cigarette smoke, and the nicotine is absorbed into the lungs. The nicotine inside the cartridges is very addictive. In a recent study through Memorial Sloan Kettering, cancer patients who smoked were enrolled in a tobacco treatment program and their smoking history was evaluated. At the beginning of the study, it was noted that the patients who used e-cigarettes were more dependent on nicotine than those who didn’t use them. They also had tried to quit more times in the past and were more likely to be diagnosed with cancers of the lung, head and neck. At the conclusion, they found that the number of those who kicked the habit was the same in both groups. Other studies give a mixed picture. Some conclude that e-cigs can help people give up the tobacco habit, while other studies suggest that the artificial cigarette carries its own set of health risks. Presently, there is no government oversight of the e-cigarette and because the FDA has not approved it, there is no way for the public health, medical community or consumers to know what chemicals are contained in e-cigarettes or what the short and long term health implications might be. Researchers conclude that questions remain about the long-term safety and effectiveness of e-cigarettes and that more controlled research is needed. Medical practitioners advise all patients to quit smoking traditional combustible and electronic cigarettes by using FDA-approved cessation medications and/or smoking cessation counseling. Gigi Chen, MD is a medical oncologist and hematologist with Diablo Valley Oncology and Hematology Medical Group. She treats all types of cancers and blood disorders at offices in Pleasant Hill, Rossmoor, and San Ramon. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 925-677-5041 or visit Tags: