- by Dr Murali Subramanian Oncology India
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- Feb 09 2017
E-cigarettes are far safer than cigarettes and could help you quit
The best way for smokers to reduce their risk of cancer, and improve their overall health, is to stop smoking completely. How you chose to quit is up to you but prescription medication and support from a specialist at your local Stop Smoking Services gives you the best possible chance of stopping successfully.
Electronic cigarettes produce vapor from nicotine dissolved in propylene glycol or glycerin but do not contain tobacco. Low levels of other, potentially dangerous chemicals have been found in e-cigarettes but usually at far lower levels than in cigarettes. All the evidence so far suggests e-cigarettes are far safer than tobacco cigarettes.
Growing evidence shows e-cigarettes may have the potential to help smokers move away from tobacco. But it’s not yet possible to know the long-term impact of these products.
Is nicotine itself harmful?
The main reason smoking is addictive is because tobacco contains nicotine. Nicotine causes addiction in much the same way as heroin or cocaine and it is just as addictive as these ‘harder’ drugs. But using nicotine itself (for example in NRT) won’t make a difference to your risk of cancer.
Cigarettes are deliberately designed to give you a fast nicotine hit - it takes less than 20 seconds for the drug to reach your brain from inhaled cigarette smoke. Nicotine replacement therapy and e-cigarettes can deliver nicotine but not as much, as quickly. Swapping to these cleaner sources of nicotine or using them to wean yourself off nicotine entirely is far safer than continuing to smoke and you don’t need to worry about using them too much. The most important thing is to stop smoking.
How do I get help to quit?
Stopping smoking can be hard, but free services and treatments are available to help and these have been shown to roughly triple the chances of success.
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