Should American smokers be putting down their cigarettes and picking up a vape pen?
Smoking kills one in five Americans each year. In fact, it’s the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. Despite this, about 37.8 million Americans currently smoke.
One of the reasons that so many continue with this dangerous habit is the level of their addiction. Not only are they addicted to the nicotine found in cigarettes, but they may associate smoking with some of their routines and activities. Not only is it a physical addiction, but a mental addiction as well.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of Americans who smoke are decreasing. Among young adults between 18-24, only about 13 percent report currently smoking. This decrease in smoking cigarettes comes at an increase in the mainstream popularity of vaping. According to Reuters Health, almost one in 20 American adults report vaping and more than half of those people are under 35 years old.
History of Vaping
Although a relatively new trend, vaping is actually a not new concept, but rather one that took a lot of failed efforts to finally get off the ground. According to the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives, the first recorded mention of vaping was a patent filed by Joseph Robinson in 1927. He was never able to get his idea to the commercial market.
Patents were filed in the 1960’s, 80’s and 90’s which all failed to find commercial success. It wasn’t until 2003 that a prototype was created that resembles what we commonly know as a modern day vape. It was created in China by Hon Lik, a 52 year old pharmacist and smoker. He created the prototype after losing his father to lung cancer.
Backlash of E-cigarettes
While it isn’t specifically known if the prototype was created as a means to help others quit smoking, vaping has received a large amount of backlash since hitting the commercial markets.
In September, 2008 the World Health Organization issued a press release stating they do not consider vaping to be a smoking cessation aid.
The following month a study conducted by Health New Zealand found that vaping was 100-1000 times less dangerous than smoking cigarettes. It also stated that the nicotine contained was similar to what was found in smoking cessation aids. Despite this, countries around the world started banning the import and sale of vaping products. Many policies are still in effect today.
What is a Vape?
A vape or an electronic cigarette can come in many shapes and sizes. Most contain a battery, a heating element and a place to hold liquid. Vapes heat a liquid that usually contains nicotine into an aerosol that is inhaled into a user’s lungs. That aerosol is then exhaled and can be breathed in by those around the user, similar to secondhand smoke.
Vapes are known by many different names. They are sometimes called e-cigs, e-hookahs, mods, vape pens, e-cigarettes, tank systems and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).
Some models may resemble a cigarette or a pipe while others have large tank devices or resemble USB devices.
More than an E-cigarette
Users who want to take their vape experience to the next level can look at models that come with vape mods and tanks.
Vape mods are bigger and bulkier than regular e-cigarettes but can offer advanced features. Some can be used with tanks that can hold larger quantities of liquid or are able to heat up faster. While they are not generally advised for the new user, advanced users may want to consider an upgrade.
Best Brands to Try
When considering an investment in a vape system, many want to look for quality and durability, including seeking out the most durable vape tank. A durable tank is important as liquid nicotine is extremely dangerous if ingested. Injuries have also been reported from defective vape batteries exploding, so it’s important to seek out a reputable brand. Kanger tech, Geek Vape and Eleaf top list after list for their innovation and durability.
Are Vapes Safe?
According to the CDC, vape products can be useful to smokers who are not pregnant if they are being used in lieu of their regular smoking products. They state that vaping aerosol contains less than the 7000 chemicals found in most cigarettes. While the CDC agrees that vaping is less dangerous than smoking cigarettes, they stress that it does not make them safe.
Can Vapes be Used to Quit Smoking?
While vapes certainly seem like a better alternative to traditional cigarettes, the CDC says they don’t yet have enough research to determine if they’re an effective smoking cessation aid. A study by the American Journal of Medicine in 2011 showed that the use of vapes can be effective in reducing the amount of cigarettes people smoked (66.8 percent) and helping them quit altogether (31 percent) over a six month period.
A clinical trial published by BMC Public Health showed that e-cigarettes were an effective tool in reducing cigarette consumption in smokers who had no intention to quit smoking. This trial took place over a six month period and was successful in more than half the participants. It also noted that it was a smoking cessation method with very few side effects.
A recent European study showed that vaping was not effective in helping users stop smoking cigarettes. Instead subjects began vaping as well as smoking. It also concluded that vaping was linked to an increase in the user’s blood pressure and heart rate.
No matter how you ingest it, nicotine is a powerful and addictive drug. So while vapes may contain lower amounts than a traditional cigarette, no amount can be considered safe to use. Before starting any smoking cessation program you should speak to your health care provider to learn all the options available to you, so you can make an informed decision for your health.