More and more, people are trying to quit smoking by replacing their tobacco-filled cigarette with an electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette. The good news is that by using e-cigs instead of regular cigarettes, the smoker is no longer exposing his lungs to smoke multiple times a day. The bad news is that e-cigarettes:
Still contain nicotine
Contain other chemicals that are not regulated in any way
Are unproven in terms of their ability to help people quit smoking
Some people say that using e-cigs is simply replacing one bad habit with another. Others say that it’s a good way to step down slowly and reduce the harm caused by cigarettes right away while working more slowly toward being nicotine-free. Who’s right?
Harm Reduction vs. Risk
There is some evidence to suggest that harm reduction techniques are useful in certain contexts. They can help people who recognize that their addiction is harming them to lower the chance that the harm will be fatal while giving them more time to contemplate the prospect of dropping the habit for good.
However, there are no studies yet to support the use of e-cigarettes to quit smoking. Additionally, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that a number of adverse effects have been reported after use of e-cigs, including:
Like most things that contain chemicals, it is unlikely that they are an effective choice for use for the long-term. If the goal is ultimately to quit smoking, then no true progress will be made until the smoker makes the leap and stops using everything that contains nicotine.
Tips to Quit Smoking
If you are ready to quit smoking, it is recommended that you avoid use of products that have not been regulated and for which there are no long-term evidentiary studies. A little hard work and determination may be the best option, allowing you to put nicotine addiction behind you definitively and efficiently.
Here are some tips to help:
Know your goals. Why do you want to quit? What do you have to gain? Make it specific and personal and then write it all down. Keep the list where you can see it or pick out one or two list items that mean the most to you and post them where you’ll see them often.
Cut down before you quit. If you smoke a pack a day, don’t try to quit “cold turkey.” An estimated 95 percent of those who attempt to quit this way will relapse. Instead, cut back on a schedule that makes sense to you with the assistance of a professional counselor before you plunge into total abstinence.
Get support. Meeting regularly with other smokers in recovery or communicating with people online who are also trying to quit smoking can help you to stay the course when you feel tempted to relapse.
Get professional assistance. Treatments are available that can help you to quit smoking safely and effectively. Meeting regularly with a counselor as well as attending support groups can be helpful. If you struggle with co-occurring addictions – substance abuse or a behavioral addiction like gambling – then getting treatment for these issues at the same time can help you to be successful in recovery.
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