What We Aren't Saying About e-Cigarettes

| by Dominic Kelly

The general perception of smoking has become increasingly negative over the past few decades. Doctors and researchers are learning more and more about the serious health effects associated with smoking, and as a result, more people are trying to quit. Additionally, laws have been enacted that ban smoking in public places, and more businesses are starting to follow suit in those areas without legislation.

In recent years, e-cigarettes have become incredibly popular. Fundamentally, e-cigarettes are said to be a safer, healthier alternative to smoking and have helped people quit the habit. Instead of releasing smoke, these devices release an odorless vapor, and many smokers have used them in place of standard cigarettes. From a legislative standpoint, e-cigarettes are not widely banned from public places, but more business owners are starting to enact strict policies anyway and are attempting to limit their sale. Additionally, the World Health Organization recently suggested that e-cigarette use be banned from indoor, public spaces. Studies suggest, however, that despite negative beliefs, e-cigarettes and the like may actually be useful tools for curbing smoking.

 Dr. Noah Minskoff works in biotechnology and serves as COO and CSO of InnovoSciences a company actively developing new Nicotine Replacement Therapies to help people quit smoking. Dr. Minskoff is also the co-founder of numerous vaporization technology-based companies and inventor on a number of of patents relating to vaporization technology. The experienced doctor and inventor acknowledges that, like anything else, there are pluses and minuses to e-cigarettes and similar technology, but says that as the field becomes more advanced, cessation tools like vaporizers need to improve as well.

“Fundamentally, e-cigarettes are a double-edged sword,” says Dr. Noah Minskoff. “On the one side, they have the potential to be the most revolutionary smoking cessation product ever. On the other hand, the technology surrounding them, as it exists right now, has some major problems. Current products are dismal in terms of their effectiveness in getting people to stop smoking. It doesn't matter if you're talking about gum, patches, inhalers, sprays, lozenges, whatever. They're all utter failures in the ability to get people to stop smoking. E-cigarettes have the potential to be vastly more effective.”

Minskoff says that while smokers are quick to try e-cigarettes, they sometimes don’t see the results they want.

“A lot of the products on the market perform poorly, and are made to a low-quality standard, so they're seen more as a novelty,” Minskoff continues. “Cigarette smokers are eager to try e-cigarettes, but tend not to find one that they like and want to stick with. That's a problem in terms of getting someone to use one, day in and day out. The other issue is that e-cigarettes don't deliver nicotine to the lungs the way a traditional cigarette does. A tobacco cigarette is the gold standard in terms of nicotine delivery to the lungs. There's some fundamental chemistry to that, but basically, with a traditional cigarette, the nicotine is absorbed quickly in the lungs and delivers the rapid nicotine reward desired by a smoker. E-cigarettes and lozenges deliver nicotine though the mouth and throat, which doesn't provide the same quick-acting affect. Their shape and their vapor output make them the most similar to a cigarette smoker, and that gives them a great head start out of the gate, but the technology for that nicotine delivery is behind in a major way.”

Current statistics show that about four to seven percent of people are able to quit smoking without using medications or other cessation tools like vaporizers and that 25 percent of all smokers can stay smoke-free for more than six-months with the use of tools. E-cigarettes have been shown to help people stop smoking, as the British Journal of General Practice notes that use of an e-cigarette increases the odds of remaining abstinent by 60 percent. Additionally, e-cigarettes have not been shown to make non-smokers addicted.

So while public impression of e-cigarettes may be more negative than positive, experts say that people looking to quit smoking could actually benefit greatly from using the devices.