Vaping: A Former Healthcare Worker’s View

The following is a guest post contributed by Helen.  All opinions are solely those of the author.  

Using E-Cigarettes Could Save Your Life

Smoking is one of the biggest global health threats of all time. Of the one billion people worldwide who smoke, half will die early as a result of their smoking unless they make the decision to quit before it is too late. Smoking is directly responsible for about 85% of all cases of lung cancer and half of all cases of bladder cancer. Other cancers it can commonly cause are cancers of the oral cavity, kidneys, intestines, stomach and pancreas. Smoking causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – a condition where airflow is restricted to the lungs due to blockage. It also increases the risk of pneumonia and can bring about the development of cardiovascular disease.

The Effect of Passive Smoking on Children

Smoking doesn’t just affect those who smoke – passive smoking can affect their families too. Babies and children who breathe in second-hand smoke are more likely to contract serious illnesses like meningococcal disease (MD) or succumb to crib death. It has been estimated that half of all cases of meningitis and septicemia are the result of exposure to cigarette smoke and it doesn’t just double the child’s chances of getting it, but it also dramatically increases the chances that they will die from the disease.

Research in 2006 linked crib death and cigarette smoke and found that babies who lived with fathers that smoked but mothers who didn’t, were 1.5 times more likely to die suddenly.Although safer sleeping practices have reduced the number of infants who die unexpectedly, the number of SIDS cases in which the mother smoked, have increased. In the UK, 86%, or nearly nine out of 10 cases, occurred to mothers who smoke. Quitting is the best way to safeguard your health and that of your family, but it can be easier said than done as it is extremely addictive. The majority of people who smoke will continue to do so for years because they can’t give up tobacco.

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So, What is the Alternative?

Tobacco is the addictive component of cigarettes but it isn’t the most harmful component. The most damage done to smoker’s health is done by the numerous other chemicals in cigarettes. Every cigarette contains around 600 noxious ingredients and when ignited they create more than 7,000 chemicals, including butane – used in lighter fluid, lead, formaldehyde (an embalming fluid), tar, insecticide and even arsenic. E-cigarettes are smoke free tobacco containing cigarettes that were developed so smokers could obtain tobacco without breathing in the other harmful ingredients that are present in regular cigarettes. They can also be a useful tool for people who want to quit but have been unsuccessful in their efforts.

When E-cigarettes were first introduced, health authorities viewed them with suspicion, fearing that people who didn’t smoke would try them and become hooked on nicotine, that their ingredients would be just as harmful as cigarettes or that their use would act as a gateway to other drugs. Another idea was that they would only be used for a temporary cessation of smoking and would not make much difference for people trying to quit. These negative perceptions from government bodies led to E-cigarettes being banned in public places, alongside traditional cigarettes. Now, the medical profession are beginning to question whether governments have it right.

The Royal College of Physicians Say E-Cigarettes Save Lives

The Royal College of Physicians, a prominent medical organization in the UK, has come out in support of the use of E-cigarettes. They say that the government and doctors should utilize them for people trying to quit because:

  • E-cigarettes give doses of nicotine to addicts without giving them many of the other harmful chemicals including the 43 known cancer causing agents in regular cigarettes
  • The physicians say that ‘vaping’ over a long period of time may carry more risk than using anti-smoking patches or pills, but the harm is very small and may represent less than 5% of the harm caused by cigarettes
  • Research on habits of those who ‘vape’ shows that none of the concerns about E-cigarettes have materialized. They have not caused an increase in the number of young people who smoke
  • The majority of people who ‘vape’ are established smokers who want to smoke a less harmful product or those who want to give up permanently
  • E-cigarettes are generally more effective than using patches, gum or pills in order to quit smoking
  • They suggest that health authorities could use E-cigarettes as a public health tool that could save lives.
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A one sided attitude by regulatory agencies could mean that tobacco companies begin to take over the market and develop E-products that are just as harmful while governments drag their feet.
So, if you’ve tried to quit and failed and you still need your nicotine but want a product with less risk, why not give vaping a try?

Helen Dawson works as a writer – prior to this she was in the healthcare sector where she worked with families and individuals, helping them to achieve better diet and fitness. She’s now a stay at home mom and has two daughters. She fits her work around her family and feels she’s now finally got the balance right!

Steve K

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