Amid the government struggling hard to chalk out the proposal to regulate sales of electronic cigarettes in light of its health threats, scientists have claimed that these modern cigarettes can be beneficial for those who have opted them as a way to kick out their smoking habit.
A study says, smokers who switch to e-cigarettes to try to give up their habit are at least as likely to succeed in quitting or cutting down as users of nicotine patches.
Researchers carried a comparative study of electronic or e-cigarettes with the more standard nicotine replacement therapy patches. They found levels of success were comparable with e-cigarettes more likely to help smokers who fail to quit cut the amount of tobacco they use.
Led by Associate Professor Chris Bullen, Director of the National Institute for Health Innovation at The University of Auckland in New Zealand, a team of researchers recruited 657 smokers. Study participants were all people who wanted to quit smoking, and were divided into three groups.
Over 13 weeks of using the cessation aids, and 3 months further follow-up, participants underwent testing to establish whether they had managed to remain abstinent from cigarettes.
At the end of the six-month study period, around one in twenty study participants had managed to remain completely abstinent from smoking.
While the proportion of participants who successfully quit was highest in the e-cigarettes group (7.3%, compared to 5.8% for those in the nicotine patches group, and 4.1% in the placebo e-cigarettes group), these differences were not statistically significant.
What is E-Cigarette?
Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are a smoke-free alternative to the traditional paper cigarette. It is comprised of a liquid cartridge attached to a white cylinder containing a battery. The liquid is a mixture of propylene glycol (a common chemical used in many in food products), vegetable glycerin, flavoring and nicotine. The battery heats the liquid into a vapor that the user inhales. Instead of the tradition term ‘smoking’, having e-cigarettes is called “vaping.”
E- cigarettes range from around USD 10 to as much as USD 70 depending upon the manufacturers. Although prices of the complete set of electronic cigarettes vary, pre-filled liquid cartridges usually cost a few dollars. , These cartridges usually last about as long as a pack of regular cigarettes. Flavoured e-liquid are also available for the vaping lovers at a price ranging from a few dollars to more than USD 10 depending on size.
Some experts believe e-cigarettes may be a “gateway” to nicotine addiction and tobacco smoking, while others view them as the most useful method yet of cutting back and helping would-be quitters.
So far, no sincere research has been carried to trace the health effects of inhaling a nicotine-laced vapour. There’s a lot scientists still don’t know about these modernized method of smoking. These include the actual chemical exposure that users receive compared with traditional smokers’ intake; the way vaporized nicotine is absorbed by the body; and the effects of secondhand vapour.
The e-liquids themselves are not required to meet any federal standards, although the FDA is expected to exercise its regulatory authority over the products later this year. For now, e-cigarettes are in a gray area and are not regulated as tobacco products or medical devices, even though they share similarities with both product categories.
Approval by the FDA means that a nicotine product, such as a patch or gum, has met standards of safety and effectiveness, said Dr. Anne Joseph, a tobacco researcher at the University of Minnesota. Joseph adds that electronic cigarettes may not be all bad for current tobacco users, with a couple of important caveats: Nonsmokers shouldn’t start, and e-cigarette consumers should use them only with the goal of quitting.
Tobacco is responsible for 6 million deaths a year and the World Health Organisation estimate that number could rise beyond 8 million by 2030.
The study, published in The Lancet medical journal and presented at a conference in Spain, was the first to assess whether e-cigarettes are more or less effective than nicotine patches.