In 2003, a corporation in Japan invented the electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette. By 2007, it was for sale in the United States and today has become the latest trend in smoking cessation. But will the electronic cigarette really help you quit smoking?

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) says there is no scientific evidence to back the claim that e-cigarettes help people quit. However, this doesn’t mean that they can’t help you quit. It means we don’t know yet.

Supporters of the e-cigarette claim that the device helps you quit by giving you the smoking experience with less nicotine. They also claim it is a safer way to quit. Electronic cigarettes use heaters to deliver nicotine by vapor instead of smoke. This eliminates the need for tobacco. Tobacco is the primary cancer-causing ingredient in traditional cigarettes.

Opponents of the e-cigarette and several government agencies including the Center for Disease Control (CDC) argue that the device will not help you quit smoking because nicotine, the addictive agent in cigarettes, is still present and not easily measured. In fact, because the FDA doesn’t yet regulate them, e-cigarette vapor could be delivering more nicotine than a traditional cigarette.

No studies have been conducted on the long terms effects of nicotine alone. We need more information before we can know for sure that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to traditional ones. Nicotine is an addictive substance that can make users feel more relaxed. It is like other drugs in that it takes more of the drug to get the same high over time.

While proponents of the e-cigarette claim they have supportive anecdotal evidence, it will take multiple controlled studies to prove the theory that e-cigarettes help smoker’s quit. Because of this, the e-cigarette cannot currently be marketed as a health care device.

In an emailed survey of Blu (a popular brand of e-cigarettes) users, two hundred and twenty-two people responded. Nearly a third of them had used e-cigarettes to quit smoking traditional ones, while nearly two thirds had cut down. These are promising numbers, but the survey was far too small to be conclusive.

If you are thinking about quitting smoking, e-cigarettes may not be the best option. Patches, gums, medications, or other types of smoking cessation programs have been studied and proven effective. If you serious about quitting, the CDC recommends using one of these programs. And we recommend you first speak with your doctor before starting any new treatments.

One day we may know the truth about e-cigarettes, but for now the traditional options may remain the safest.

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