E-Cigarettes: A Good or Bad Smoking Alternative?

E-cigarettes are perceived as “safer” and marketed as a method to quit smoking – but is there any truth to that story?

What are e-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are a battery-operated nicotine delivery system designed to deliver nicotine through inhalation. Also known as “vaping,” e-cigarettes have been in the United States since 2006 and appeal to both young adults and adults. The main difference between cigarettes and e-cigarettes is the number of chemicals inhaled and the delivery system.

What impact do e-cigarettes have on your health?
In February 2018, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) released a new report about the effects of e-cigarettes on an individual’s health. According to this study, e-cigarettes have less chemicals and toxins than cigarettes but are still addictive. Some e-cigarettes contain nicotine just like traditional cigarettes.

The Surgeon General states that e-cigarettes contain both harmful and potentially harmful ingredients, including:

  • Ultrafine particles inhaled deep in the lungs.
  • Flavorants like diacetyl, which is linked to serious lung disease.
  • Volatile organic compounds.
  • Heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead.

Since e-cigarettes have only been around since 2006, their long-term effects aren’t as well-known as the long-term damage from regular cigarette usage. However, this much is clear — e-cigarettes are not a safe or effective way to quit smoking. In fact, many traditional smokers become dual smokers once they are introduced to e-cigarettes.

The Freshstart Smoking Cessation program: a safer way to quit
If you or a loved one are looking to quit smoking, either from traditional cigarettes and/or e-cigarettes, St. Elizabeth Healthcare offers a proven method for quitting — the Freshstart Smoking Cessation program. It’s a free four-week program developed by the American Cancer Society and offered by St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

“The Freshstart program is designed to help the adult smoker take care of their efforts to quit smoking,” says Joyce Jacobs, a Heart and Vascular Prevention and Wellness Nurse Navigator at St. Elizabeth Healthcare, who teaches the Freshstart program. She is also a Mayo Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist and a Mayo Certified Wellness Coach.

Freshstart classes help to educate tobacco users on quitting methods, the use of nicotine replacement and tips for dealing with withdrawal. The program offers knowledge and support – something smokers need when they are ready to quit their habit for good.

“We’ve had traditional smokers successfully quit with the Freshstart program, as well as smokers who use both cigarettes and e-cigarettes,” says Joyce. “There are several FDA-approved nicotine replacement products available that are now covered by Medicaid and other major insurance companies. Some are even over the counter – we go through these options in class and talk about what would be a good fit.”

Sign up for the Freshstart program today
The Freshstart Smoking Cessation program is open to anyone in the Greater Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky area. Participants can choose a class that fits into their schedule, either during the day or in the evening, at a variety of locations.

For more information on the Freshstart Smoking Cessation program, call (859) 301-5570 or visit St. Elizabeth Healthcare for upcoming class dates.