Right up there with losing weight, for many people one of the top resolutions for the New Year is to finally quit smoking. Unless you’ve just arrived from another planet (in which case, welcome to Earth) you know that cigarette smoke is the leading preventable cause of death. Though for decades tobacco companies marketed a smoke screen around the facts, most every smoker knows that if cigarettes don’t send you to an early grave directly, they will shave quality years from your life.
The problem is, as any smoker will tell you, cigarettes are incredibly addictive. Trying to get the monkey off your back has proven impossible for many. Plus, finding a “healthy” alternative hasn't been much of an option. But perhaps that is changed.The newest “e” in the electronic world.
We have electronic mail, or email, to replace old-fashioned note writing, ebooks to save trees and convenience, and ezines to take the place of newsletters or magazines. Now we have e-cigarettes. The good news is if there is such a thing as “safe smoking” the e-cigarette could fit the bill.
If you’re unfamiliar with electronic cigarettes, here's what they are about. The cigarette is actually a small tube that looks like a cigarette, holds like a cigarette, and even taste like a cigarette. But there's one critical difference. Though it delivers the nicotine addicts crave, it doesn't deliver the carcinogenic chemicals and tar that typical cigarettes do. This means no harmful smoke for the smoker, and no second-hand smoke polluting the air for non-smokers, either.
Or, at least that’s the way they are being marketed. What has many concerned is all the facts aren't in yet.
True, it could be that these cigarettes are similar to the patch or nicotine gum in that they are a healthier way to deliver nicotine. But since the vapor emitted from the electronic cigarettes hasn’t been fully investigated, it's possible it may contain carcinogens as well. After all, cigarettes were around for hundreds of years before it was determined they were a death trap.
In any event, from what we know right now, they are probably safer than typical tobacco cigarettes. Plus, many people swear by their power to help them finally put down the pack once and for all. And though an e-cigarette still provides a nicotine fix that’s hard to kick, some say it’s easier to wean yourself from it than with gum or the patch.
While there's not enough data for the medical community to actually encourage e-cigarette use, for smokers who are staring death in the face with every puff, and when faced with the two choices, electronic cigarettes probably shouldn't be discouraged
as a safer alternative.