Nicotine replacement Electronic Cigarettes (e-cigarettes): A good alternative to smoking or a new harmful addiction?

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Dennis Kamp, RRT

Editor’s Note: Dennis is a Respiratory therapist/Pulmonary Function technician at Woodlawn Health.


My work as a respiratory therapist has allowed me to encounter many current and former smokers. As we have all heard for years’ tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. The Center for Disease Control, CDC states smoking causes about one in five deaths each year. In Indiana alone the cost from smoking related illness amounts to around $6.1 billion dollars, that’s $903 dollars per household whether you smoke or not. So, if you smoke you should consider stopping, if you do not smoke, please never start.


Let us look at some interesting facts about smoking cessation. The Food and Drug Administration has approved many different drugs and nicotine replacement alternative’s to help smokers quit with some effectiveness such as Zyban, Chantix, nicotine lozenge’s, gum, patches, spray’s and as of 2007 e-cigarettes. To date there are 23 different e-cigarettes which are approved but ongoing research is being done by the FDA to “find less harmful forms of nicotine delivery for adults”. With that being said studies show people that due use e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking have a better chance of quitting and sticking with the change compared to other nicotine replacements.


These studies compared e-cigarettes against other replacements therapies but not against group cessation programs which have been shown to improve outcomes by 55-60% compared to no help. One author of those studies Jamie Hartman-Boyce, MA DPhil, associate professor at Nuffield medical science division, University of Oxford noted while the reviews gleaned benefits of e-cigarettes more data is needed on the long-term effects.  We didn’t know what the effects of smoking would be when watching the Marlboro man, but we certainly do now and it’s not good.

We care about health. There are different options geared towards helping you quit. The overall goal is to stop smoking and to help you improve your quality of life.

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