Why smokers should switch to using ecigs

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Scott Tenorman

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    Hi all, I wrote this paper for an English class. I thought I would share it with you all and get some feedback. It's much shorter than I would have liked, but I already went way over the limit for the assignment word count. Sorry for the format, I had to copy from word.


    The Lesser of Two Evils: Why Smokers Should Switch to using the Electronic Cigarette​
    Smokers should switch to using electronic cigarettes because the health benefits can be enormous, they do not expose others to second hand smoke, and the cost is much lower than that of cigarettes. Every year in the US over 400,000 people die from smoking related illnesses, and every year countless thousands try to quit smoking using methods that are mostly ineffective at best. According to a statement released by the American Association of Public Health Physicians (AAPHP) in April 2010, “About 3% of smokers succeed in quitting each year. Pharmaceutical smoking cessation products, when used as directed, can increase that to about 7%.” (Nitzkin 1). 7% is not a very good track record. What if there was a way to stop using cigarettes, but still get the satisfaction of smoking without the smell, the cost and the danger to your health? Enter the electronic cigarette (which will be referred to as an ecig for the remainder of this paper).
    Although there are variations, most ecigs are made up of three parts: a battery, a cartridge that holds the eliquid, and an atomizer that the battery heats up and vaporizes the liquid, which is then inhaled, delivering a dose of nicotine to the user. The amount of nicotine delivered depends on the strength of the liquid chosen by the user, and can even be lowered as desired to wean the user off of nicotine entirely. The eliquid generally only has between 5 and 10 ingredients. The main ingredients are propylene glycol (which will be discussed later in this paper), artificial and natural flavorings, and nicotine. While nicotine isn’t the best substance to put into your body, it is not known to cause cancer or death. The University Hospital in Tronheim, Norway conducted a study of the effects of nicotine on rats. They exposed rats to nicotine at twice the levels of heavy smokers for 20 hours a day, 5 days a week for 2 years. What they found may be surprising. To quote the authors of the study, “We could not find any increase in mortality, in atherosclerosis or frequency of tumors in these rats compared with controls. Particularly, there was [sic] no microscopic or macroscopic lung tumors nor any increase in pulmonary neuroendocrine cells.” (Waldum) Nicotine is not the killer in ecigs or cigarettes, so what is?
    Many people know that when a conventional cigarette is lit, a toxic cocktail of over 4,000 chemicals is ignited, with at least 50 of those chemicals being known carcinogens, (What's in a Cigarette) which is a fancy term for something that is known to cause cancer. The AAPHP also tells us that “Conventional cigarettes account for about 80% of nicotine consumption in the United States, but more than 98% of the illness and death. This harm is not caused by the nicotine, but by toxic products of combustion. A cigarette smoker can reduce his or her risk of future tobacco-related death by 98% or better by switching to a low risk smokeless tobacco product. He or she could cut that risk by 99.9% or better by switching to a nicotine-only delivery product like one of the pharmaceutical products or E-cigarettes.” (Nitzkin 1) Simply put, smoking is bad, but switching to an ecig is a much safer alternative.
    Smokers wishing to switch to ecigs from regular cigarettes can expect to experience improved health as a result. In a survey conducted of 1,003 ecig users by an ecig forum, 91% said that they have experienced improved health effects since switching to ecigs, and 61% said they would go back to regular cigarettes if ecigs were no longer available (Ecig Poll). The aforementioned AAPHP also tells us that “E-cigarettes deliver the same nicotine found in the pharmaceutical products, with no more contamination by toxic substances than the pharmaceutical products already approved by FDA.” (Nitzkin 1) Since ecigs do not operate via combustion, nothing is being burned and there is no smoke, tar, or ash. Propylene glycol (PG) is the primary ingredient in the ecig liquid that is vaporized to be inhaled. PG has been shown to be harmless when inhaled, unlike regular cigarettes. It is the ingredient that has been used to make fog in smoke machines at concerts and shows for decades, it has been used to disinfect the air in hospitals (EPA), and it is even used as a drug delivery system for lung transplant patients (Wang). Essentially, a smoker switching to using ecigs instead of smoking is the same as a smoker quitting smoking.
    Another benefit of switching to ecigs is that there is no second hand smoke being exhaled for others to inhale. According to research done by Health New Zealand, second hand cigarette smoke is “responsible for about 8% of the deaths caused by direct smoking”, while “Second hand mist from an e-cigarette is not smoke at all, and does not contain any substance known to cause death, short or long term, in the quantities found.” (E-cigarettes: harmless inhaled or exhaled) Essentially, there is no danger whatsoever from second hand ecig vapor. There has not been a single study or report showing any danger from the vapor exhaled by ecig users. None of us like to breathe in second hand smoke, but we have nothing to fear from ecig users regarding second hand vapor.
    Ecigs also cost much less to use than buying regular cigarettes. For instance, a pack a day smoker in Colorado can expect to spend at least $120 a month buying and using cigarettes, but ecig users can spend as little as $40 a month using ecigs, minus an initial investment of between approximately $40 and $100, depending on the use and ecig model chosen. In these tough economic times, everyone can use a little extra money, and for a cigarette user the benefit is double: saving money and improving their health.
    While the benefits to smokers from switching to ecigs from traditional cigarettes may seem obvious, the FDA has different views on the subject. The FDA put out a press release on July 22, 2009 stating that “a laboratory analysis of electronic cigarette samples has found that they contain carcinogens and toxic chemicals such as diethylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze” (FDA and Public Health Experts Warn About Electronic Cigarettes). The FDA goes on to say in the report that “In one sample, the FDA’s analyses detected diethylene glycol, a chemical used in antifreeze that is toxic to humans, and in several other samples, the FDA analyses detected carcinogens, including nitrosamines. These tests indicate that these products contained detectable levels of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals to which users could potentially be exposed.” (FDA and Public Health Experts Warn About Electronic Cigarettes). This certainly seems like a dire warning against using ecigs, but the FDA failed to mention several very important pieces of information. The FDA said that they found diethylene glycol in the ecigs. What they don’t say is that they only tested 18 ecig cartridges, which only came from two companies – the two companies that had previously sued the FDA for confiscating shipments. This fact alone brings into question the FDA’s credibility of testing ecigs from companies that had brought legal action against them. The FDA also doesn’t say that they only found diethylene glycol in 1 of the 18 cartridges tested, or that the “quantity detected is approximately 10,000 times smaller than the toxic dose of DEG” according to Elaine Keller, a harm reduction activist, (Keller) nor do they mention that diethylene glycol has never been found in ecgis in any study before or after. The FDA also didn’t tell the public that the levels of the carcinogens they found were comparable to the levels in their own approved nicotine replacement products. What the FDA did do however, is release a report that was misleading to the public. They made it seem as though ecigs are full of toxic chemicals and ingredients found in antifreeze, but the truth is that ecigs are no more dangerous to your health than a nicotine patch or nicotine gum, both approved by the FDA.
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    While ecigs are not toxic, they do contain nicotine, and I am not arguing that nicotine is good for you, or that non smokers should take up using the ecig. What I am arguing is that ecigs are a much safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. No one should put nicotine in their system, but for those already addicted to the chemical, ecigs are safer for the user and those around the user, they are cheaper and they should be the first place to look for someone who wants to continue smoking, but doesn’t want to submit their body to the dangers of cigarettes. If you are a smoker, would you rather put something into your body that kills over 400,000 people a year in the US alone, or would you rather get the same feeling that cigarettes give you without the smell, health risks, and cost? You decide. I did, and so did my Dad and so did my brother. Between the three of us we have over 60 years of smoking under our belts. Not one of us has had a cigarette for over a year. Now it’s your turn.




    Works Cited​

    “Ecig Poll.” E-Cigarette-Forum. N.p., N.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. <Ecig User Survey: Please follow instructions before taking!! - View Poll Results>.
    “E-cigarettes: harmless inhaled or exhaled.” Health New Zealand. Health New Zealand, 08 Sep. 2009. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. <Ecigarette mist harmless, inhaled or exhaled>.
    “FDA and Public Health Experts Warn About Electronic Cigarettes.” US Food and Drug Administration. US Food and Drug Administration, 22 July 2009. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. <FDA and Public Health Experts Warn About Electronic Cigarettes>.
    Keller, Elaine. “Health Organizations Base Policy on Misleading FDA Toxicology Report.” Newsvine.com. The Consumer Advocates for Smoke Free Alternatives Association, 18 May 2010. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. <Newsvine - Health Organizations Base Policy on Misleading FDA Toxicology Report>.
    Nitzkin, Joel. AAPHP Statement re State Regulation of E-cigarettes. American Association of Public Health Physicians, 02 Apr. 2010. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. <http://www.aaphp.org/special/joelstobac/2010/20100402AAPHPEcigLegisStatemnt.pdf>.
    “Reregistration Eligibility Decision for Propylene Glycol and Dipropylene Glycol.” EPA. Evironmental Protection Agency, Sep. 2006. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. <http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/reregistration/REDs/propylene_glycol_red.pdf>.
    Waldum, HL, OG Nilsen, T Nilsen, H Rorvik, V Syversen, AK Sanvik, OA Haugen, and SH Torp. “Long-term effects of inhaled nicotine.” PubMed.gov. Department of Medicine, University Hospital, Tronheim, Norway., 1996. Web. 11 Oct. 2010. <Long-term effects of inhaled nicotine. [Life Sci. 1996] - PubMed result>.
    Wang, Tao, Nancy Turner, Katherine Sprugel, Carlos Rodríguez, Rosemary Kovelesky, Maryellen Lynch, Ronald Steigerwalt, and Sarah Noonberg. “Preclinical Safety Evaluation of Inhaled Cyclosporine in Propylene Glycol.” Journal of Aerosol Medicine 20.4 (December 2007): 417-28. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. <Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. - Cookie absent>.
    “What's in a Cigarette?” American Lung Association. N.p., N.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. <What's in a Cigarette? - American Lung Association>.
     

    Katya

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      Nice paper, Scott! Congratulations.

      I might just point out that your statement that nicotine is bad is not necessarily true. There's plenty of data and good studies indicating that just the opposite may be true. Here's just one article, it's not the best one, but I knew how to find it quickly.

      Natural Cures – Here’s a Natural Cure Set for Huge Popularity!

      But you may want to do your own research and write another paper. :p

      Good job.
       

      hairball

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        Great paper....you should have been in NY when they had gotten banned.

        However, I'm going to make a correction. I was on the FDA's website about ecigs. The doctor (can't remember his name) that does all of the tobacco studies and tests for them, said that analog cigs have over 142,000 chemicals but only 4,000 are actually known. On his website, crap I wish I could remember, he even stated that ecigs are a better alternative to smoking. The FDA wouldn't approve his report that he wrote out for them. The FDA, insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, etc., make big money off of us dying. Everyone goes hand in hand. Same as AIDS. If there was a cure, doctors, hospitals, etc. would lose over a million dollars per person. So why find a cure? I hope you see the point.

        I did get my doctor to change over to ecigs because she couldn't quit on patches or gum. What a hoot! Nicotine, according to her, does the same to your body as caffine. It makes your brain release "happy endorphans" as she put it.

        Anyway, I hope you got a good grade on your paper. Maybe someone will see it and use it the next time the FDA wants to go up against us.
         

        Scott Tenorman

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        Jul 22, 2009
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          Great paper....you should have been in NY when they had gotten banned.

          However, I'm going to make a correction. I was on the FDA's website about ecigs. The doctor (can't remember his name) that does all of the tobacco studies and tests for them, said that analog cigs have over 142,000 chemicals but only 4,000 are actually known. On his website, crap I wish I could remember, he even stated that ecigs are a better alternative to smoking. The FDA wouldn't approve his report that he wrote out for them. The FDA, insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, etc., make big money off of us dying. Everyone goes hand in hand. Same as AIDS. If there was a cure, doctors, hospitals, etc. would lose over a million dollars per person. So why find a cure? I hope you see the point.

          I did get my doctor to change over to ecigs because she couldn't quit on patches or gum. What a hoot! Nicotine, according to her, does the same to your body as caffine. It makes your brain release "happy endorphans" as she put it.

          Anyway, I hope you got a good grade on your paper. Maybe someone will see it and use it the next time the FDA wants to go up against us.

          Thanks to you both for you input, I actually wanted to go into much greater detail on why there is so much negative feedback from industry giants but I just didn't have time. I fully agree with all that you said hairball, just didn't have room to put it into the paper. Maybe I will write a full version where I am not limited to a word count for an assignment. I could make the case much more thoroughly.
           
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