Against Smoking: Alternatives to Cigarettes

by Shamsul
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Against Smoking: Alternatives to Cigarettes

World No Tobacco Day 31st May

About a quarter of smokers say they want to reduce their cigarette consumption instead of completely quitting. In a group of smokers with chronic bronchial obstruction followed for five years, who were advised to stop smoking, a quarter smoked the same amount at the end of the study, 43% a number between the initial amount and half, and 30% less than half. All participants who had reduced their tobacco consumption were using nicotine substitutes like electronic cigarettes.

In another group of smokers followed for three years, the number of smokers who had reduced their consumption was higher than those who had quit. Factors associated with the reduction were:

  • Age.
  • The presence of tobacco-related illness.
  • The feeling of sickness.
  • Increased tobacco consumption.

Another study carried out among a group of Spanish smokers, followed for eight years, confirmed the impact of health problems on reducing long-term tobacco consumption. Among 19,000 Danish smokers who followed for fifteen years, 10% spontaneously reduced their consumption by more than half.

It emits an aerosol from a heated liquid, while the “classic” cigarette emits smoke from tobacco combustion. As the scientific studies supported by Public Health England point out, e-cigarette vapor contains 95% less harmful substances than tobacco smoke.

While World No Tobacco Day takes place on May 31, one can wonder about the benefits of e-cigarettes. Are electronic cigarettes really an attractive alternative to conventional cigarettes?


Who are the Consumers of Electronic Cigarettes?

Electronic cigarette mainly attracts the young and male audience. Especially appreciated by smokers or former smokers, the e-cigarette can be a good solution for tobacco harm reduction and for those willing to quit smoking. Thanks to this invention, 400,000 people have already succeeded in quitting smoking, at least temporarily! The appeal of the electronic cigarette also lies in its price since such equipment costs less than the consumption of conventional cigarettes. It is, therefore, an alternative to save money by satisfying your craving for nicotine.

The debate still divides the medical profession: does the electronic cigarette help with smoking cessation? The studies lead to contradictory results, especially as a significant proportion of e-cigarette users continue to smoke tobacco, but it is always good; these smokers consume (much) less cigarettes. Between 2010 and 2015, while during this period, e-cigarette use increased from 1.4% to between 15 and 30%, the rate of smoking cessation increased from 4.5 % to 5.6%. Apart from these few figures, the medical profession has no data on the possible undesirable effects. The e-cigarette is considered a consumer product and not a medical device. But according to the latest work of the High Council of Public Health, electronic cigarettes can constitute aid to stop or, at the very least, reduce the consumption of tobacco.


The Technical Differences

The disposable electronic cigarette has obsolete and low-quality components, giving it a disposable character. Like all electronic cigarettes, they are composed of a battery and a resistance that transforms liquid into vapor. The battery is not rechargeable, and the resistance does not allow a strong flow of smoke (reminder: this is the duo of battery power + quality of the resistance that will enable you to vary the rate of smoking and the feeling of flavors).

Obviously, the parts are interchangeable on a rechargeable electronic cigarette, and changing the battery and the resistance is possible to have a more efficient product. However, disposable electronic cigarette has significant advantages.


The Advantages of the E-Cigarette

The strengths of the disposable electronic cigarette are as follows:

· The disposable E-cigarette looks a lot like traditional cigarettes, small, light, and even imitates incandescence when inhaled. Therefore the gestures are the same.

· They cost around 6 euros each and correspond to about 30 cigarettes, or a pack and a half of traditional cigarettes.

· They are easy to use and convenient. They automatically turn on as soon as you vacuum. There is no button to press. There is no maintenance because they are thrown away when they do not light up. You don’t need to charge them either; therefore, there is no charger, which is excellent for traveling.

· They are more hygienic; the tips can become nests for germs if not changed frequently.

· They also have all the advantages of non-disposable electronic cigarettes, such as cost, authorization in certain public places, no passive smoking, choice of nicotine level, no risk of fire, and help with withdrawal, and less dangerous than tobacco.


Health Impacts of E-Cigarettes 

Beyond the growing success of the electronic cigarette, it is essential to know its effects on health. On this subject, the available data are lacking or contradict each other, and the opinions of health professionals are opposed:

On the one hand, supporters of electronic cigarettes claim that the e-cigarette is much less harmful than the conventional cigarette. For them, the e-cigarette can be a “replacement” cigarette because “it is better to vape your whole life than to smoke your whole life,” and above all, it can be effective in helping to quit smoking.

On the other hand, opponents point out that the harmlessness of inhaling substances contained in the vapor of electronic cigarettes has yet to be demonstrated. The effects of these repeated inhalations over the long term could potentially be dangerous for health. This is the overall discourse of WHO.


A Risk for Young People

The electronic cigarette particularly appeals to young people, who are a privileged target of manufacturers’ marketing strategies (particularly flavors). A survey by Sciensano shows that 15-24-year-olds are the most curious to test electronic cigarettes. They use it more occasionally than daily, but more of them use it without having smoked before. Therefore, there is a risk that the use of electronic cigarettes (with nicotine) will cause them to become addicted to nicotine. Some fear an easier transition to classic cigarettes among these young vapers.


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