Quit Smoking: Cold Turkey Better Than E-Cig?

Lacy LangleyScience

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Quitting smoking is hard, always has been and always will be. No matter how much additional tax is levied on each pack or how many videos go up on youtube to discourage smoking, there will be people who struggle to kick the habit.

Right now, these e-cigarettes are all the rage, with signs going up in liquor stores and convienience stores, as well as bars. Some have opened bars themed around the e-cigarette. But, is it the best way to quit, a safer alternative, or simply another set of problems?

According to the New York Times, it could be the third. In case you're unfamiliar with the e-cigarette, it looks like a normal cigarette, but instead of emitting the nicotine as a nasty smoke, it heats it up and emits it as a clear vapor.

The e-cigarette was invented in 2003 by a chinese scientist, but has only recently caught on in the US as a means to help smokers resist cigarettes, which they need to do, as we all know, for health reasons. Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, remarked,

“Even 50 years after the first surgeon general’s report on smoking and health, we’re still finding out new ways that tobacco kills and maims people. It’s astonishing how bad it is.”

However, there are a few kinks in the e-cigarette that are worth looking into before you go out and buy one of the 200 brands that are on the market right now.

For example, Dr. Frieden said that these e-cigarettes admittedly “have the potential to help some people quit,” but, the method could possibly backfire “if it gets kids to start smoking, gets smokers who would have quit to continue to smoke, gets ex-smokers to go back to smoking, or re-glamorizes smoking.”

Also, he adds that e-cigarettes produce 30 known carcinogens, and the long-term effects just haven't been studied. Therefore, it's probably safer just to go "cold turkey" when trying to kick the habit. You would be in good company.

There was a Gallup Poll last year in the US which found that only 8 percent of ex-smokers attributed their success to patches, gum or prescribed drugs, while 48 percent attributed their success to quitting ‘cold turkey’ and 8 percent to willpower and commitment.

Something to think about.

Image via wikimedia commons

Lacy Langley
Lacy is a writer from Texas. She likes spending time in the home office, homeschooling her kids, playing the didgeridoo, caring for her chickens (Thelma and Louise), Rolos, Christmas, and Labyrinth.