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Finding Facts about Vaping

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Perusing the “internets” for facts and empirical data regarding advantages of vaping over smoking can be exasperating at times.There are literal metric poop tons of studies and peer reviewed published writings that are used to promote or condemn vaping depending on which side of the money you are on.  Because, at the end of the day, money is what the debate is all about- but we will discuss those specifics another time.   That aside, I have decided to highlight some I nformation that will hopefully make your fact finding a little less maddening.

Cessation Rates:

According to this 2014 American Heart Association study, the meta-analysis of six previously published studies found an 18% smoking cessation rate after 6 months for smokers who used vapor products containing nicotine. This compares to an average cessation rate of 7% at six months for FDA approved nicotine replacement therapy products such as the nicotine gum, patch, and lozenge.

This survey published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine came up with the following findings and conclusion: “The primary finding was that the 6-monthpoint prevalence of smoking abstinence among the e-cigarette users in the sample was 31.0% (95% CI=24.8%, 37.2%). A large percentage of respondents reported a reduction in the number of cigarettes they smoked (66.8%) and almost half reported abstinence from smoking for a period of time (48.8%). Those respondents using e-cigarettes more than 20 times per day had a quit rate of 70.0%. Of respondents who were not smoking at 6 months, 34.3% were not using e-cigarettes or any nicotine-containing products at the time.  Findings suggest that e-cigarettes may hold promise as a smoking-cessation method and that they are worthy of further study using more rigorous research designs.”

This information empirically verifies what we, who have and/or continue to use vapor products, already know. Which is: Vaping is successful as a means to quit smoking, and Vaping is more effective than some current FDA approved products.  I personally observed this when I decided to quit smoking.  I used the patch and received the nicotine levels my body wanted, however the nicotine was never my real issue.  You can call my problem oral fixation, repetition compulsion, OCD tendencies… hoof and mouth, whatever you want to call it- I was and still am compelled by the repeated action of touching my mouth with my hand or another object and inhaling.The simple act of inhaling vapor that provided a simulated feeling of smoking in my lungs, mouth, and throat was what I needed in order to quit smoking.  I stopped using the nicotine patch after three days of concurrent use with my vape and have not smoked a cigarette since November 26, 2012.  I do continue to vape however, going through periods of no vaping, no nicotine vaping, and low 3-6mg level vaping depending on what factors are occurring in my life.

Harm Reduction:

What is Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) in the context of vapingand electronic cigarettes?  Tobacco Harm Reduction is providing a less health damaging alternative to cigarette smoking.  Specifically, it is the scientifically evidenced idea that electronic cigarettes and vaping cause less damage to the human body than cigarettes or smokeless tobaccos.

Harm reduction experts can point to research supporting that switching from cigarettes to a smoke-free product will reduce health risks to less than 1% of smoking traditional cigarettes - nearly the same as non-smokers. For tobacco harm reduction health professionals, it is misleading and irresponsible for public health officials to tell smokers that smokeless products, such as e-cigarettes, are not a safe alternative to smoking simply because they are "only" 99% safer and not 100% safe.

Is the idea of harm reduction controversial and why? From CASAA: “The concept of tobacco harm reduction is controversial in the tobacco control community. Many anti-tobacco activists would like to see all tobacco and recreational nicotine use stopped.  Others realize that may be an unrealistic expectation and seek alternative, low-risk sources of nicotine to reduce the health risks facing smokers.”

Is it safe to vape?

This is one of those questions you need answer for yourself by conducting your own critical thinking.  There are five ingredients in eLiquids: USP grade Propylene Glycol (PG), Vegetable Glycerin (VG), Concentrated Food Flavoring,Nicotine, and some manufacturers will add small amounts of water.  This is not to say that every eLiquid has all five ingredients, but the majority will use a combination of those.  For example, in our own eLiquid lines we do not use water and also have a large customer base that chooses eLiquids without nicotine.  All of the above ingredients that are used in eLiquids made in the USA are already FDA approved or GRAS(Generally Regarded as Safe) for human consumption.

A dispelled myth concerning PG: While it is also sometimes found in anti-freeze, it is actually added to make the anti-freeze less toxic and safer for small children and pets. Propylene glycol is a common ingredient found in many of the foods we eat, cosmetics we use and medications we take. It is also used in fog machines used in theaters and nightclubs.

A dispelled myth about heavy metals and contaminants from Dr. Igor Burstyn, of Drexel University: In his January 2014 BioMed Central's Public Health Journal published study he states there was no evidence of potential for exposures of e-cigarette users to contaminants that are associated with risk to health at a level that he tested or were previously evaluated in other studies.

Before I started vaping I conducted my own fact finding frenzy, which I continue to do, and would encourage everyone to do the same to form your own opinion.  Vaping was the right choice for me to quit smoking based on the evidence I gathered of higher cessation rates, harm reduction, and my personal desire to not smell like an asstray ashtray.

For additional resources, checkout CASAA where you will find an abundance of information on vaping news and current events.

If you enjoy talking vape, testing, and writing/recordingproduct reviews give us a shout if you are interested in becoming a contributor.

(About the author: Chris Bussell is a vape enthusiast, owner/partneri in several vape shops, eLiquid Manufacturer, and daily blower of clouds. He is an Active Army National Guard Warrant Officer, holds a Master’s of Strategic Intelligence, and gets to plan satellite networks for a living.)

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