Nicotine Replacement with Electronic Cigarettes

Written By Arman Zulhajar on Sunday, March 11, 2012 | 12:59 AM

By Tariku Haque

The main motivation for purchase cited by electronic cigarette consumers is a wish to wean away from tobacco products, considered by many to have greater health risks to the user. As the physical draw to usual cigarettes comes from the nicotine content, electronic cigarette manufacturers offer an assortment of nicotine solutions intended to minimize or quell cravings. Because this is currently an unregulated industry, nicotine concentrations vary by brand, resulting in the need for users to cautiously read labels in order to ensure they are getting the preferred strength.

Packaging is typically marked with general low, medium, high, or extra-high designations, which generally average as follows:
* Low - 6-8 mg/ml
* Medium - 10-14 mg/ml
* High - 16-18 mg/ml
* Extra-High - 24-36 mg/ml

The prime selling point for electronic cigarettes is less what they contain and more what they lack. The industry promotes the absence of most chemicals attributed to tobacco cigarettes, which many experts number in the range of 10,000 or more. Though trace amounts of some tobacco-related carcinogens have been found in the electronic cigarette vapor, most experts agree that the levels are below those considered detrimental to human health.

The nicotine is suspended in a liquid mixture made with a propylene glycol or glycerin base. Propylene glycol is recognized by the United States Food and Drug Administration as a safe substance, and it has been used for atomized medication such as asthma inhalers and nebulizers for nearly sixty years. Glycerin is a well studied food additive with no significant known health risks.

New study published in the November 2011 issue of the European Respiratory Journal studied whether smokeless cigarettes reduce nicotine dependence, as advertised by the producers. By examining the levels of nicotine by-products in the blood, scientists compared the nicotine consumption of both tobacco smokers and smokeless cigarette smokers in conditions equivalent to standard real-world consumption. Conclusions indicate that the nicotine level in users of both types of cigarettes is comparable, and special note is made of the fact that the strength is double that found after use of smoking cessation products such as nicotine patches, lozenges, and gum.

Some scientists have expressed concern over the way nicotine is delivered with electronic cigarettes. Unlike approved nicotine replacement therapies, vapors from these devices go directly into the lungs. The potential risks have not yet been fully studied, leading electronic cigarette opponents to suggest a ban pending further review. Those in favor of electronic cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco use suggest that the potential risks, regardless of nicotine going to the lungs, are far smaller than the risks posed by continued traditional cigarette smoking.

Selection of smokeless cigarettes as a method of eliminating tobacco use serves a two-fold purpose. First, the body's craving for nicotine is addressed, and individuals have the option of slowly moving to lower or nicotine-free liquids over time. Second, the design of the device deals with the behaviors associated with smokers. As these habits are often ingrained over many years, they alone can disrupt attempts to quit. Smokeless cigarettes do not requiring learning dramatically new behaviors, growing the odds of success.

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dany chandra said...

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