5 Reasons Smoking Electronic Cigarettes Makes it Harder to Quit
It is difficult to quit smoking. For many addicted to cigarettes, quitting smoking is one of the hardest things they will ever do. While many claim that electronic or e cigarettes have helped them on the path to a smoke-free life, vaping or smoking e cigarettes are not recommended for quitting.
There are three components to addiction: physical, psychological, and behavioural. The physical component is the chemicals your body is addicted to – in cigarettes, that is nicotine. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance and certainly one of the largest factors in the difficulty that comes with quitting.
While psychological and behavioural facets of addiction can be targeted through quitting smoking programs, to target the physical aspect of addiction nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) are used. Well-known NRTs include nicotine patches and gum. Some claim that e cigarettes can be used in a similar manner. However, it is not recommended for the following reasons:
- E-Cigarettes are Currently Unregulated.
Existing products will continue to be unregulated by the FDA for another four years. Until 2022, there is little oversight into the ingredients or manufacturing process of e cigarettes and e liquid. Each brand of e cigarette can vary wildly in the concentration of nicotine with some delivering significantly more than traditional cigarettes.
- The FDA Does Not Recommend E-Cigarettes for Smoking Cessation.
The FDA does not have e cigarettes on its list of approved NRTs. While other NRTs go through a rigorous testing process on both animals and humans before they are sanctioned for use by the FDA, e cigarettes have not been tested nor approved. FDA oversight helps to ensure that smoking cessation products are safe to use. With e cigarettes, there is no consistency nor guarantee of efficacy for quitting smoking.
- E-Cigarettes Do Not Target Behavioral Addiction Like Other NRT’s.
People that are addicted to cigarettes are also partially addicted to the action of smoking. Unlike patches or gum, which can help someone break a comforting habit while still delivering nicotine, e cigarettes require the same behaviors as regular cigarettes. In fact, it is possible to increase the amount of nicotine use on accident by smoking both regular and e cigarettes at the same time.
- E-Cigarettes Do Not Help With Long-Term Cessation.
Current research shows that while e cigarettes may help smokers quit smoking for the first few weeks to a month, there is no correlation between e cigarette use and long-term cessation from smoking. The study showed that from 3- to 6-months, there was no difference in cessation rates between e cigarette use and a placebo.
At the end of the day, any method that helps a smoker quit smoking is something that should be supported, but choosing to use e cigarettes as a smoking cessation measure should be approached with caution. While some may find benefit to the use of an e cigarette, it is still too early to definitively say whether it does more harm than good.