Dec 30, 2013

Resolved to Quit Smoking? Consider E-Cigarettes.

E-cigarettes help people quit smoking.

There. I've said it.

In fact, millions of people have quit smoking or switched to e-cigarettes. And yet statements such as this can get me into trouble because the FDA* regulates e-cigarettes as tobacco products. E-cigarette retailers such as Vaping Vamps can't publicly claim that e-cigarettes can be used a method to quit smoking.

And yet my own daughter quit smoking after using the e-cigarette for about a month. So am I supposed to not disclose that, too?

My daughter Emma quit smoking after using the e-cigarette for about a month.
Many people use the e-cigarette as a transition to a life without smoking or nicotine all together. Others simply switch over to e-cigarettes, which delivers nicotine without all the harmful chemicals contained in traditional cigarettes.

Gateway to Smoking?

Anyone who claims that the e-cigarette can be a gateway to smoking traditional cigarettes is sounding a false alarm akin to "the sky is falling!"

Once you invest in e-cigarettes (the most expensive part is the battery), why would you switch to something you know is harmful and that's going to cost you more money? It just doesn't stand up to reason. Vaping is not only smarter than smoking; it's also cheaper.

In fact, research reported in JAMA shows that e-cigarettes are helping people reduce their cigarette use or quit altogether.

Conducted by researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand, the study randomized 657 smokers into three groups: one group was given a 13-week supply of e-cigarettes with 16-mg nicotine, one group was given e-cigarettes with no nicotine, and one group received 21 mg nicotine patches.

After six months, 7.3% in the e-cigarette group had quit smoking, compared with 5.8% with nicotine patches and 4.1% of those using e-cigarettes with no nicotine.

While these numbers may not knock your socks off, the study also found that the e-cigarette users either reduced or quit using cigarettes in large numbers and were less prone to resume smoking for at least six months.

The reason why e-cigarettes can be effective tools to help people quit smoking or reduce their cigarette consumption is because they deliver nicotine (which, while addictive, is not a carcinogen) while mimicking the sensation of smoking.

Smoke from tobacco cigarettes has proven to be the main causes of cancer. The beauty of e-cigarettes is there's no smoke, no ash, no harmful chemicals. The main ingredient, propylene glycol, is the same stuff that's in asthma inhalers, nebulizers and fog machines and it's even found in foods such as sodas, salad dressings, and cake mixes.

How They Work

Electronic cigarettes heat up a liquid-nicotine solution, which turns into a vapor that the user inhales. The e-cigarette delivers a measurable and predictable amount of nicotine. Vaping Vamps sells e-cigarettes with four levels of nicotine: no nicotine, low (6 mg), medium (12 mg) and high (18 mg), or about the same that's in a traditional cigarette.

People who switch over to e-cigarettes tell us they're coughing less, breathing easier and can taste food again. They enjoy the fact they don't stink like smoke -- no more stale breath and smoky smelling hair and clothing. And they're no longer exposing their loved ones to harmful secondhand smoke.

The main part of an e-cigarette is a battery. There are lots of different styles of batteries, but we found that many women like the lighter weight, "pen-style" 510 battery. However, heavier smokers may eventually want to move to a larger battery which is heavier to hold but that produces more vapor.

Are E-Cigarettes Safe?

We keep hearing from opponents who say that not enough research has been done on e-cigarettes. They'll even tell you to wait and see if e-cigarettes are safe in the long run.

Really? They would advise you to keep smoking and wait? Wait for what? Many people have tried to quit using different methods but have been unsuccessful. We think they're doing you a huge disservice by telling you to wait.

E-cigarettes have been around since 2007. About 3.5 million people have used them. A major study conducted by Drexel University examined the vapor and liquid of more than 9,000 e-cigarettes and found no significant levels of contaminants or anything that would pose any health risk. The study affirmed that e-cigarettes posed no health risk to users or bystanders.

In other words, e-cigarettes are “magnitudes” safer than tobacco cigarettes, according to doctors and researchers who have thoroughly studied the devices.

All you have to do is compare e-cigarettes to the alternative. No one has died from using an e-cigarette. And for many people, the choice is just that: between traditional cigarettes, which kill about 450,000 people every year -- or e-cigarettes, which are 99 percent safer than regular cigarettes.

Obviously, quitting cold turkey is probably the best way to quit smoking. But most people need a little help.

So if you've tried quitting and nothing has worked, try an e-cigarette -- the smarter, safer alternative.

And since I'm a vaping vamp, I hasten to add that it's also much sexier than smoking!

*Fortunately, the FDA lost the battle to regulate e-cigarettes as drug delivery devices, which would have kept them off the shelves for years. E-cigarettes are not currently in the category of smoking cessation products called NRT or nicotine replacement therapy. The raging debate before the FDA is the proposal that they create a new category of products called THR or tobacco harm reduction for e-cigarettes.

Dec 10, 2013

Women and Smoking: Bad for Moms, Worse for Babies

Women Will Switch for the Health of their Unborn Child

If her own health isn’t enough reason to give up smoking, the health of her unborn child is often the impetus for some women to quit or switch to e-cigarettes, the healthier alternative.

New research on the dangers of smoking to young women and their unborn babies can send chills down any woman’s spine. We now have several more compelling reasons to help women realize how important it is to quit smoking or switch to e-cigarettes – ideally e-cigarettes with no nicotine.

Quitting smoking at any point during pregnancy reduces the
chance of complications. Of course, the sooner, the better!

Smoking While on the Pill 

We’ve known for a while that smoking can be dangerous for young women who are taking oral contraceptives. Women who smoke while on the pill can potentially develop deadly blood clots and even can suffer a stroke or heart disease.

Just this month, a 23-year-old Israeli woman collapsed and died; doctors believe it was because she was smoking while on the pill. There were no warning signs and she had no preexisting conditions that could have explained or contributed to her sudden death.

Minnesota’s own Mayo Clinic warns: “Smoking cigarettes during the use of oral contraceptives has been found to greatly increase the chances of these serious side effects,” namely blot clots, stroke and serious cardiovascular side effects. They strongly advise young women to not smoke while on the pill. 

Smoking During Pregnancy

Smoking during pregnancy increases the baby’s heart rate, reduces her oxygen and can have drastic effect on the baby’s lungs and birth weight. Smoking increases the chance of a miscarriage, premature delivery, stillbirth and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

There’s ample evidence that smoking during pregnancy can result in life-long complications such as asthma, ear infections and even ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. ADHD affects one in 20 children worldwide and the learning and social problems that stem from the neurodevelopment disorder can last a lifetime.

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics tracked 13,000 children with ADHD and found their mothers were more likely to be younger, had smoked during their pregnancies and had complications in pregnancy and birth. Other maternal factors played a role, but the one factor that consistently came up as a significant risk was smoking during pregnancy.

Smoking during pregnancy can also cause severe DNA damage to the placenta according to a new study conducted by Otago University in New Zealand. This study looked at 236 placenta samples donated by women after birth, including 150 from non-smokers and the remainder from women who smoked at some point or throughout her pregnancy.

DNA damage was greatly increased in smokers' placental cells, and the more cigarettes a woman smoked, the greater the DNA damage. Dr. Tania Slatter, who authored the study, says there’s a clear link between higher rates of double-strand DNA breaks and lower birth weights and earlier deliveries. The study also found the smokers' placentas had compromised DNA repair mechanisms and reduced expression of at least three proteins that are key to fetal nourishment and growth.

However, the study also found that the level of DNA damage in the placentas of the women who quit while pregnant was similar to that of non-smokers. That’s clearly good news for pregnant smokers, because they still have a chance to reduce complications and improve the chances of a healthy outcome for her child.

And that’s what any mother would want.