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Little-known Facts About E-cigarettes

Despite our growing knowledge that smoking tobacco is bad for us more than 8 million Australians have tried smoking at least once in their life and 3.1 million are currently cigarette smokers. Smoking cigarettes is known to cause damage to every organ in your body, and smoking-related illnesses are responsible for 14,900 deaths in Australia [source: Better Health AU]. But nearly 70 percent of smokers report they want to quit, and a little more than 42 percent say they’ve tried to quit during the past year. In 2013 there was a 10 percent decrease in cigarette sales in the Australia and while that directly followed an increase in the cigarette tax, it’s not only price that’s changing the habits of Australian smokers. Electronic cigarettes (known also as e-cigarettes) have also contributed. Global sales of smokeless tobacco products, including smokeless inhalers, has grown to nearly $3 billion — and continues to grow. In an attempt to quit the tobacco habit as many as one-fifth of smokers have tried e-cigarettes [source: Ross].

Where did e-cigarettes come from?

E-cigarettes were first developed in China and were introduced to the Australian market in 2009. Many are similar enough in appearance to be mistaken for regular tobacco cigarettes. But one look inside and you’ll see the main difference: This is a tobacco-free product. E-cigs are actually vaporizers; instead of burning tobacco, the mechanism heats up a liquid. The liquid turns into vapor, which is then inhaled, or “vaped.” While some argue that vapor offers health advantages over traditional cigarette smoke, regulatory agencies and some health experts aren’t so sure that’s true. Before you consider taking up the e-cigarette habit, read on to get the facts.

How E-Cigarettes Work

They look like the real thing. The end glows as you inhale. As you exhale, you puff out a cloud of what looks like smoke. It’s vapor, similar to the fog you might see at rock shows, says M. Brad Drummond, MD. He’s an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

All e-cigarettes work basically the same way. Inside, there’s a battery, a heating element, and a cartridge that holds nicotine and other liquids and flavorings. Features and costs vary. Some are disposable. Others have a rechargeable battery and refillable cartridges. Using an e-cigarette is called “vaping.”

Are They Safe?

The nicotine inside the cartridges is addictive. When you stop using it, you can get withdrawal symptoms including feeling irritable, depressed, restless and anxious. It can be dangerous for people with heart problems. It may also harm your arteries over time.

So far, evidence suggests that e-cigarettes may be safer than regular cigarettes. The biggest danger from tobacco is the smoke, and e-cigarettes don’t burn. Tests show the levels of dangerous chemicals they give off are a fraction of what you’d get from a real cigarette. But what’s in them can vary.

“E-cigarettes may be less harmful than cigarettes,” Drummond says. “But we still don’t know enough about their long-term risks or the effects of secondhand exposure.”

Pro and Con

E-cigarettes have triggered a fierce debate among health experts who share the same goal — reducing the disease and death caused by tobacco. But they disagree about whether e-cigarettes make the problem better or worse.

Opponents say that because nicotine is addictive, e-cigarettes could be a “gateway drug,” leading nonsmokers and kids to use tobacco. They also worry that manufacturers — with huge advertising budgets and celebrity endorsements — could make smoking popular again. That would roll back decades of progress in getting people to quit or never start smoking.

Others look at possible benefits for smokers. “Obviously, it would be best if smokers could quit completely,” says Michael Siegel, MD, MPH, a professor at Boston University’s School of Public Health. “But if that’s not possible, I think they’d be a lot better off with e-cigarettes. They’re a safer alternative.”

Siegel compares replacing tobacco with e-cigarettes to heroin users switching to the painkiller methadone. The replacement may have its own risks, but it’s safer.

Some supporters believe that e-cigarettes could help people quit, just like nicotine gum. Research hasn’t shown that yet, though.

 

The Benefits of a Smoke Free Lifestyle

 

So you’ve finally done it: you’ve quit smoking.  Depending on how long you have been smoke free, you are in one of the many stages of recovery, all of which come packed with many different positive benefits to your health. But it is safe to say that overall, you are probably feeling pretty good. So let’s take a look at all of the good things that are coming your way as a result of your smoke free lifestyle. [Read more…]

Marijuana Vs Tobacco


m_bartosch / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The healthiest lifestyle is one that is totally smoke free, avoiding both marijuana and tobacco. Many tobacco smokers feel that as long as they don’t engage marijuana use, their habit isn’t that bad because it is legal. Conversely, marijuana users believe that tobacco smoke is way more harmful than cannabis smoke and thus they feel as though their lifestyle is less of a health problem. It seems as though both groups of smokers are trying their hardest to avoid the truth: that both marijuana and tobacco have very damaging physical and psychological effects. We are our minds and bodies-we must live with them every day and if we want to be happy, we have to keep them healthy. The best way to keep your mind and body in top form is to stay completely smoke free.

To stay psychologically healthy, stay off pot: The major benefit of staying smoke free and pot free is better mental health. Marijuana is not as physically dangerous as tobacco smoke in terms of cancer; it does cause respiratory infections and other smoke-related illnesses. According to medical researchers headed by Dr. Donald Tashkin at the University of California at Los Angeles there is a chemical reaction within marijuana that kills cancer cells, and tobacco apparently lacks this property. However, psychologically, marijuana is damaging to each smoker’s health. It causes euphoria, panic, anxiety, and paranoia. It provides users with a false sense of happiness or fear that is fleeting, and many people develop a marijuana habit to escape the reality of life, often to avoid problems. Marijuana use can also impair short-term memory and damage learning skills.

To stay physically healthy, stay off tobacco: The major benefit of staying smoke free and tobacco free is better physical health. Tobacco smoke contains potent carcinogens that are proven to cause cancer and other devastating health problems such as emphysema. Tobacco is a habit that can lead to early death and an overall decreased enjoyment of life due to poor health.

The categories above are much generalized; marijuana and tobacco contribute to both physical and psychological problems. However, these categories serve as a good rubric for understanding the importance of role of mind and body synergy for better health. When we talk about health, we often think of mind health and body health as separate things that don’t necessarily affect each other-but in reality they are connected and constantly influencing one another. A healthy mind leads to a healthy body and a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Both marijuana and tobacco affect the health of the mind and body, so it is important to realize that a smoke free lifestyle is your best bet for total health.

If you found this article of interest and would like to be notified as more articles become available subscribe on my website www.LifeCoachToQuitSmoking.com.  Also ‘Like’ my Facebook page to get exclusive offers, share your stories and join our community at www.facebook.com/lifecoachtoquitsmoking.

Impact of Smoking Ads on Children

A big part of keeping children smoke free is to attack tobacco’s advertising capabilities. Children have malleable minds that are easily shaped by external influences; they soak them up like a sponge, storing up the behaviors and habits that will characterize their adult life. Thus, children are much more responsive to images, cartoons, and advertising campaigns than are adults. For as long as tobacco has been advertising, they have associated smoking with independence, sophistication, beauty, and fun. While these concepts primarily target teens and adults, children are often left absorbing, consciously or unconsciously, that smoke free is not the way to be if you want to be in the in-crowd or achieve success.

While tobacco companies have always maintained that they do not target children specifically, these claims were put to the test during the 10 years that Camel’s Joe Camel reigned over billboards, t-shirts, and cigarette packages across the globe. Joe Camel seemed almost a deliberate attempt at keeping children from pursuing smoke free lifestyles; according to a 1991 report by the Journal of the American Medical Association, children were able to match pictures of Joe Camel with a cigarette just as often as they were able to match Mickey Mouse with the Disney logo. Yikes. Joe Camel’s cartoon images had imprinted into the minds of many children during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, and the AMA study showed just how integrated he had become with the fabric of society.

It’s hard to stay smoke free if cigarettes have a cartoon just as identifiable as Mickey Mouse, and this line of reasoning ultimately led to the abolition of Joe Camel. But Big Tobacco advertising remains, and so does its tie to leading children away from smoke free lifestyles. Children and adolescents are more than twice as likely to light up a cigarette from one of the three most advertised tobacco brands, Marlboro, Camel, and Newport, and a 2011 study conducted by the Dartmouth Medical School concludes that “specific images from tobacco ads predict” and encourage smoking among teenagers and children.

Though there is plenty of evidence that supports the claim that tobacco advertising leads children away from smoke free lifestyles, there are still many skeptics, and many are not card-carrying members of Big Tobacco. For example, a lot has been done, particularly in Australia and New Zealand, to eradicate the power of tobacco advertising, and still smoking is on the rise. The skeptics of tobacco advertising’s influence on children are correct that advertising is not the only factor in keeping children smoke free; it is up to parents and educators to talk to kids about the dangers of tobacco use, and to be good role models themselves by refraining from smoking in front of their children. A parent’s influence is more powerful than any advertisement. Additionally, remaining smoke free is ultimately a choice that each individual must face, a choice not to engage in the bad habit, but instead choose a smoke free lifestyle.

Therefore, it is important to combine restrictions on tobacco advertising with personal responsibility-both contribute to the delicate balance of influencing children to remain smoke free. A big part of keeping children smoke free is to attack tobacco’s advertising capabilities. Children have malleable minds that are easily shaped by external influences; they soak them up like a sponge, storing up the behaviors and habits that will characterize their adult life. Thus, children are much more responsive to images, cartoons, and advertising campaigns than are adults. For as long as tobacco has been advertising, they have associated smoking with independence, sophistication, beauty, and fun. While these concepts primarily target teens and adults, children are often left absorbing, consciously or unconsciously, that smoke free is not the way to be if you want to be in the in-crowd or achieve success.

If you found this article of interest and would like to be notified as more articles become available subscribe on my website www.LifeCoachToQuitSmoking.com.  Also ‘Like’ my Facebook page to get exclusive offers, share your stories and join our community at www.facebook.com/lifecoachtoquitsmoking.