Do E-Cigarettes Really Help Quit Smoking? Find Out the Truth!

(Last Updated On: August 21, 2017)

Many inventions claim to help the smoker quit his habit. From nicotine patches to e-cigarettes, the market is constantly attempting to innovate and evolve. The big question, however, remains: Are these just stopgap arrangements? Can E-cigarettes help you quit smoking?

The Hazards Of Smoking

As per the official statement of the World Health Organization, more than 1 billion people around the world smoke and close to 5 million people die each year due to tobacco-related illnesses.

Most people find it hard to quit smoking in spite of knowing the numerous health hazards. Some well-known health risks involved with smoking cigarettes include:

  • Damage to the Respiratory System due to the inhalation of harmful chemicals.
  • Interference with the functioning of the Central Nervous System.
  • Development of serious cardiovascular problems.
  • Weakening of the Immune System

What Are E-Cigarettes?

Electronic cigarettes are electronic devices that produce an aerosol via a heated liquid. This mechanism enables the user to inhale the aerosol, thus creating an effect closely resembling tobacco smoke. The use of e-cigarettes is sometimes colloquially referred to as “Vaping”.

This modern-day remedy was invented by a Chinese Pharmacist called Hon Lik in 2003. China continues to remain the top exporter and manufacturer of e-cigarettes.

More on The E-Liquid

  • The key liquid in an electronic cigarette is made up of a solution of nicotine, propylene glycol, and glycerine.
  • Various flavorings are also added to these cigarettes.
  • Nicotine is not always present in all e-cigarettes.
  • Traces of heavy metals at medically permissible levels are also present in the aerosols.

The Motivation

The purpose for using e-cigarettes can be recreational or sometimes driven to quit smoking. The popular belief that electronic cigarettes are healthier than tobacco cigarettes leads many to switch to e-cigs. The fact that electronic cigarettes are odor-free have also prompted people to opt for them.

Do E-Cigarettes Work?

  • Up until now, electronic cigarettes have not been reported to cause any serious health hazard.
  • These cigarettes are safer than tobacco cigarettes, but their long-term effects are yet to be scrutinized.
  • Surveys have shown that e-cigarettes helped an average of 18,000 people quit smoking as of 2015. The numbers have been increasing annually ever since.
  • However, these cigarettes if used by a non-smoker can lead to nicotine addiction and become the preamble for chain smoking.
  • Surveys have also shown that nearly 15% of the population of smokers did not get habituated to using electronic cigarettes.

Combat the Cravings

It is important to manage frequent cravings. Cravings can lead to anxiety and stress, ultimately leading you back to the starting point.

Lower The Nicotine

Using vaping liquids with lower nicotine concentration can be beneficial to your motive to quit smoking.

  • The usage of e-cigarettes with lower nicotine content over a period of several weeks has been reported to be effective in most users.
  • Most medical retailers give you the discretion to choose the concentration of nicotine
  • You should be warned that excessive addition of nicotine to your e-liquid can reverse the effects of smoking and cause nicotine addiction.
  • It is important to note that when your craving for e-cigarettes decreases, the drastic fall in the nicotine content can be highly beneficial. This will help as  two events occur simultaneously:
  1. The gradual decrease in your use of regular cigarettes.
  2. The lower threat of nicotine addiction.

Health Risks Associated With E-Cigarettes

  • Electronic cigarettes have been reported to lead to adverse health impacts
  • Some symptoms include nausea, vomiting, throat and mouth irritation, and coughing.
  • Many times, the chemical concentration in e-cigs fail to comply with strict public safety limits.
  • The excessive chemical composition may cause several health hazards to the user and cause nicotine addiction.

What Do The Health Experts Say

Medical practitioners and organizations have divided opinions regarding the effectiveness of vaping. While some believe that switching to electronic cigarettes may help quit smoking without any adverse effect, most medical organizations warn about the hazardous chemicals present in e-cigarettes.

International organizations have hesitated to recommend electronic cigarettes as an alternative. According to a research conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2016 there is “not enough evidence to show the risks of ENDS/ENNDS over regular combustible cigarettes”.

Making The Right Choice

Till date, no serious side-effects have been reported for electronic cigarettes. Evidence clearly exists that smoking tobacco cigarettes kills. Therefore, most experts believe that switching to electronic cigarettes that have no known serious impact can be recommended for quitting smoking.  

E-cigarettes for experimental and recreational purposes are discouraged. Non-smokers who use e-cigarettes face the risk of nicotine addiction. Being responsible and consistent about the entire routine has helped most smokers completely quit smoking.

Smoking kills. So, on this World No Tobacco Day, take a pledge to quit smoking. In fact, the risk of diseases like COPD, chronic bronchitis and emphysema is way higher in smokers compared to non-smokers. If you are looking for expert advice on these diseases or related conditions that you may have developed due to smoking, consult a Portea doctor today.

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Dr Rahul has Masters in Maxillofacial Surgery with an overall experience of six years. Since the last 2 years, he is working in the Medical operations team of Portea. An Alumni of the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health and Science, he has previously worked with Nationwide- The Family Doctors while as their Chief Consultant Maxillofacial Surgeon and Implantologist. He has a special interest in Facial Trauma Surgery, Dental Implantology and Facial aesthetic surgery. It is not only medicine that fascinates Rahul. He is a die-hard sports enthusiast with a strong passion for Football, Basketball, and Cricket and occasionally strums the guitar, too.


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