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Are e-cigarettes the answer?

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2015, January, hope you made it!  Unfortunately some of your friends didn’t.  Cancer was one of the major reasons for people dying last year, and tobacco was up there, top of the list of causes.

Don’t believe me?  Tobacco is the number one cause of cancer in this world.  It is top of the WHO Code which was drawn up by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization

This is not something new either.  Tobacco has been in the code since its earliest version in 1987, but even here there are new adjustments.  Tobacco is the number one cause of cancer, so this has to be re-emphasized over and over again for successful prevention, but for the first time IARC is emphasizing the importance of a smoke-free environment in the workplace and at home, which contributes to helping people to stop smoking and also, of course, reduces the risk of second-hand smoke.

Now, work has been continuing on how to reduce tobacco consumption, and fairly recently, the use of e-cigarettes was put forward as a step in the right direction.  But is it?

A recent symposium looked at this problem, and I quote directly from the report.

“Aventura, Florida ― e-Cigarettes ― are they a welcome addition to the smoking cessation armamentarium, or are they gateway devices to smoking with potentially serious hidden health costs?

“Here at the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) 25th Annual Meeting, addiction experts weighed in on the devices during a session devoted to examining the safety and impact of e- cigarettes on nicotine addiction and the possible impact of the devices on vulnerable populations.”

“Laboratory paradigms suggest e-cigarettes may be less addictive, reduce nicotine withdrawal, are associated with negligible secondhand exposure, and better mimic the ‘hand-to-mouth’ experience compared with other types of nicotine replacement therapy.  It has also been suggested that e-cigarettes may have lower levels of toxins.”

On the other hand, toxins and carcinogens are not completely absent, the potential negative health effects are still unclear, and the lack of regulation makes it difficult to determine safety risks.”

The essence of the debate comes down to the fact that e-cigarettes are not 100 percent safe, and it is not yet established as to whether the use of them works to assist in quitting.

By all means, do try and give up, but remember ‘Cold Turkey’ is still the best way of becoming a (healthy) non-smoker!


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