Smoking e-cigarettes: is vaping a healthy alternative to smoking?

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a cigaretteThere’s a new ‘smoke on the block’ called e-cigarettes, or e-cigs for short, and it already has a raging fire of controversy burning around it. On one hand, e-cig supporters have promoted them as healthy alternatives to traditional cigarettes, and on the other hand, e-cig opponents have quickly banned their use in the workplace and indoor public spaces due to the dangers that they pose to our health. As a smoker, you might be wondering: “can e-cigarettes be a healthy alternative to smoking?” However, before you pick up the habit, you may be interested to learn that e-cig ingredients are likely unhealthy, and that a smoker’s willpower and ability to cope with everyday stressors are key factors in successfully quitting smoking using e-cigarettes.

Are e-cigarettes healthy?

E-cigs are battery-operated vaporizing devices that enable smokers, aptly called vapers, to inhale a liquid nicotine mix that also includes propylene glycol and glycerin. Is this healthy? E-cig advocates argue that these items are commonly found in household products such as toothpaste, and therefore don’t pose a great danger to your health. However, e-cig opponents point to the other ingredients in e-cigs including heavy metals cadmium, nickel, and lead. Are they healthy to consume or inhale? Not likely.

Can e-cigarettes help me quit smoking?

The short answer is: maybe. In one British study, e-cigs were proven to help the same percentage of smokers as those in studies not using vaping as a method of quitting. The findings indicated that the success rate may have resulted from the smoker’s willpower alone, or their desire to simply quit smoking. Another study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal found that e-cigs helped smokers quit – except when they were “under real world conditions”. In other words, everyday stress affected the smoker’s success rate when using e-cigs as a method to stop smoking.

The e-cig question won’t be answered until more studies are completed. Until then, you may take up the habit for the pleasure of vaping, or as a step towards smoking. Either way, you should recognize the importance of learning how to cope with everyday life challenges – that may be pushing you to smoke in the first place.

By Talya Rotem

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