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    electronic cigarette study
    Jonathan Foulds, PhD posted:
    A new report on use of e-cigarettes has just been published online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine by Dr Michael Siegel and colleagues at Boston University. The researchers carried out an email survey of 5000 first-time purchasers of a specific brand of e-cigarettes, about 7 months after their original purchase. They received 216 valid responses, meaning that only 4.5% of eligible e-cigarette purchasers responded to the survey. This extremely low response rate is a major weakness of the study.
    Of the 216 responders, 72% were men, 50% had smoked for over 15 years, and two thirds had tried to quit at least 3 times before. About half of the responders stated that they quit smoking "for a period of time" and 31% said they were not smoking 6 months after their purchase. Just under a quarter of the respondents were using their e-cigarettes daily at 6 months, and of these people, just over half were not smoking. The authors did not explain exactly what questions were asked in the survey, but as the survey was sent out 7 months after the initial purchase but the data refer to abstinence at the "6 month point", presumably these people were not necessarily abstinent from tobacco at the time of responding, but rather stated that they were not smoking about a month ago.
    The authors acknowledged a number of limitations of their study. The most important one is the extremely low response rate (4.5%). We usually find that people who do well in stopping smoking are much more likely to respond to follow-up surveys like this one, and the response rate is so low as to make the results virtually meaningless. In addition, as the respondents were replying via e-mail they knew there was no way of checking biochemically if they really had quit. However, despite acknowledging these weaknesses, the authors still compared the percentage quit rate with that of much more rigorous prospective clinical trials that calculated their percentages on an intent-to-treat basis and included biochemical verification of abstinence. Such a comparison is just nonsense. (If one used an Intent-to-treat analysis on this survey, counting non-responders as still smoking as is done in clinical trials, the quit rate was 0.014%...certainly an underestimate, but shows how silly it is to compare such different types of studies).
    So what can we conclude from this study? The only firm conclusion is that less than 5% of e-cigarette purchasers respond to follow-up e-mails aiming to evaluate the product. But I agree with the authors that e-cigarettes are worthy of further investigation.
    If you have tried to use an e-cigarette to stop smoking, please respond to the poll below.

    Take the Poll

    If you have tried to use an e-cigarette to stop smoking at least a month ago, are have you smoked any cigarettes or used any tobacco in the past 7 days?
    • Yes, I smoked a cigarette or used tobacco in the past week
    • No, I have not smoked or used tobacco in the past week
    View Poll Results
    Astrecks responded:
    By April this year I will have been off tobacco cigarettes for 2 years. After years of trying to quit tobacco and failing countless times, I decided to try an e cigarette, and they work if you really want them to, but they won't rid you of your addiction to nicotine.

    Medically, nicotine is not good for you, but it is the least worse chemical in a traditional tobacco cigarrette, it is not known to contain carcingens, whereas 200 other components of a tobacco cigarette are known to have carcinogens.

    I'm not medically qualified, I'm just an ordinary guy who has found what I believe to be a healthier alternative to smoking, healthier for me and those around me.

    What I don't want to see is organisations like ASH here in the UK and also in the USA who are financially backed by pharmaceutical companies with a vested interest in stopping me using my e cigarette so as to either force me to return to smoking tobacco, or forcing me to use their overpriced and to be quite frank, ineffective products.

    I would welcome regulation to ensure that what I use is made to high standards and I'm not against a tax being levied against it provided it was a fair tax and was proportional to the level of the cost to the NHS to treat any illnesses caused by my using it and not taxed to pay bonuses to the overpaid pharmaceutical industry.

    The UK Government have a golden opportunity to put into action what they say they want to do and that is to care for peoples health and encourage people to stop smoking, E cigarettes are not the entire answer, but for many thousands of users it is a step in the right direction. The government have a golden opportunity to prove they care about peoples health above their own greed and "behind the door" deals with the tobacco and pharmaceutical companies.

    I can think of another addition that effects me more than my or other peoples smoking ever did, and it is getting worse.. I'll leave you to work that one out.. except to say the previous UK government got the idea that "Open all hours" was the cure for the problem.
    CraigSchultz responded:
    I was and still am amazed by my personal vaping devices. Once I found a kit that worked well and wasn't frustrating to try to make it work, I found I had no real desire to smoke.

    As with anything that is new and popular, there are a number of products out there, some of them more advertised than others, that do not work very well so one has to be careful and do one's research to find a quality supplier.

    I didn't even plan on trying to quit smoking when I first bought a vaping device because I had given up quitting by that point. I bought an e-cig because I get into gadgets and it seemed like an interesting concept.

    It is not so much that I quit smoking but more so, that given the opportunity to vape, which gives me all the 'habit' affects of smoking but with a much better taste and less obnoxious smell, the choice is rather obvious.

    I tried all the NRTs out there and none of them worked. Many of the people I know who use them smoke at the same time. Vaping though is not what I consider an NRT any more than tea is a caffeine replacement therapy for coffee or a garden salad is a greasy french fry replacement.

    That said though, after my first pre-filled cartridges ran out, about a week after I got the kit, I mixed my own e-liquid from vegetable glycerin and vanilla extract that I bought in a grocery store and didn't miss the nicotine at all.

    Now, over 6 months out, I add nicotine sometimes when I wish for a little pick-me-up much like I would drink a strong cup of coffee. From my experience, I would say that nicotine may actually be one of the lesser addictive substances found in cigarettes.

    Whatever the level of addictiveness of nicotine, one thing I can say with a fair amount of surety is that vaping allows me to enjoy the parts of the 'smoking' habit I enjoy while avoiding those that I don't.

    NRTs on the other hand do nothing for the habit or provide any enjoyment whatsoever, they only reinforce that one is trying to NOT do something one wants to.
    CraigSchultz replied to CraigSchultz's response:
    One thing I would like to add, the study being reported on is no more nonsense than the FDA's testing of e-cig products in the first place, which likely prompted the study being reported on.

    The FDA's testing supposedly used on FDA approved NRT as a 'control' but for only half of the testing. Is that because in the other half, e-cigs fared better than the FDA approved NRT?

    The testing found 'trace' levels but without specifying what a 'trace' was, it could have been any where from parts per trillion to parts per billion, based on the tests performed while the control is known to have the found 'toxic' elements at parts per million.

    If the Boston University study is nonsense, maybe it is just a matter of 'fighting nonsense with nonsense'.
    StevieD666 responded:
    I smoked for about 35 years, up to more than 50 a day before switching to rollups, then was smoking about 5oz a week. I started using an E-Cig in 2009 and switched fully to vaping within three weeks.....not looking to quit smoking but I was looking for a way to help my wife who was having some pretty major health problems and vaping was very much the answer as it did not agravate her condition, unlike smoking. Since then I have continued vaping as it is sooo much more enjoyable than smoking ever was, and I can vape at work, with the blessings of management. I also find that I get less agitated if I can't/don't vape for a while, whereas when I was smoking, if a meeting went on for much more than 40 mins I would be getting antsy.
    GeminiIan responded:
    I have smoked since the age of 11, which was 31 years. I have tried patches, I continued to smoke even while using them. I have tried gum, I still have gum in my wallet, it was ineffective and I continued to smoke even while chewing it. I lasted 6 months going cold turkey, but missed the act of smoking. I never wanted to give up smoking, I enjoyed the "act of smoking" too much. I have completely replaced everything I enjoyed about smoking, with an electric cigarette. As a smoker I knew the risks and all the health warnings and shock pictures made zero difference to me, even the fact the price of cigarettes have risen from approx ?1 a pack to ?6.50 a pack made no difference (talk about profiting on addiction!)

    I use the simple logic that I am replacing something I know will kill me, with something that might, but at the moment I feel 100 times better.
    Plaxy responded:
    Hi, I'm a smoker of 10 years, last December I found Electronic E-cigs and gave them a chance. It has been now been well over a month and haven't even touched a cigarette for the entire time I have had the E-cig or E-nic as some might call them now.

    I am aware that nicotine is not exactly healthy and its effects on the body and its addictive qualities. But atleast with E-cigs I can get that Nicotine, the substance I want, without the Tar, 1000 Carcinogens that include arsenic anthrax Turpentine and Second hand smoke, the substances that do the major damage in Cigerettes. It is also known that Nicotine, in small doses is no more dangerous than Caffeine, a substance commonly found in many things we consume including soda, Tea, and Coffee.

    Anyways with E-cigs I have had no need or want to go back to smoking.
    ProfBeard responded:
    I smoked for over 40 years and started using an e-cigarette in Feb 2009 in an attempt to reduce the harm I was doing to myself. I managed to stop use using cigarettes straight away and have not smoked since. Like others, I realise that nicitine addiction is not an "ideal state", BUT after two years of not smoking the positive impact of switching my nicotine use from tobacco/cigarettes to e-cigarette use has been profound.
    CraigHB responded:
    I was a heavy smoker for 30 some years. Even though there was no doubt the heavy smoking was having a major impact on my health, it was not enough to make me quit. I had given up on trying and had resigned myself to the health risks. What made it harder was that I really enjoyed smoking.

    I came across electronic cigarettes a little over 6 months ago and decided to give them a try. I found it quite easy to replace my smoking habit with vaping. I actually find vaping more satisfying than smoking and feel worlds better physically. I truly feel I've made a big step in improving my health. I've also found it easy to reduce the nicotine level of my e-cigarette liquid. I don't particularly want to give up the nicotine, but I believe I could without too much trouble if I had to.

    The quality of the equipment and e-liquid is essential. There are too many vendors out there looking to take advantage of the uninformed. They're selling substandard or overpriced stuff. For anyone looking to make the switch to what I believe is a much healthier, fully satisfying alternative, definitely do the research and get the right stuff. It makes all the difference.
    girlsaint responded:
    I am a Canadian, and had a look through the forums before I decided to take a chance and order an e cigarette. Health Canada in all it's wisdom has banned imports of nicotine e-liquid, stating that it might be dangerous. The alternatives are much worse
    1. Smoking Cigarettes- The health risks of this are well documented.

    2.Chantix/Champix- side effects can include anxiety, nervousness, tension, depressed mood, unusual behaviors and thinking about or attempting suicide

    3.Zyban- side effects can include seizures among other things

    I have tried all of these with little success and have always gone back to smoking.

    Quitting smoking is very important to my health, having suffered 2 heart attacks, and had 2 angiograms done, with a resulting 2 stents put in place. It seemed that even with the threat of death looming over me, the amount of weight I gained and the crappy anxiety that came with quitting always brought me back to them. I really believe that the ritual involved in smoking had as much to do with not being able to quit as the addiction to nicotine.

    I finally bought an ecig, and from the day it came in the mail, have not smoked ONE cigarette. I haven't even wanted one. I don't put them in my pocket when heading out to work "just in case I need one" I just know that the ecig is in my pocket should the craving strike. I really cannot think that results like that can be ignored.

    It just seems like the governments are not looking at actual risk factors OR results- they must be looking at the amount of tax dollars they will lose when a new activity stops people from smoking.
    daniel2828 replied to girlsaint's response:
    I purchased my first personal vaporizer nearly 2 years ago as a means of getting around an upcoming smoking ban in public places in my state. They worked so well I quit smoking immediately, though it was not my original intention to do so.
    Vocalek responded:
    I smoked for 45 years and used all of the FDA-approved smoking cesation products except Chantix, because it worsens depression. Like Mark Twain, I quit smoking hundreds of times. Each time I did so, I became seriously confused, depressed, and forgetful. These problems did not abate once nicotine had cleared my system. I once went for 6 months without nicotine, until I was about to lose my job due to not being able to perform my duties adequately while seriously confused, depressed, and forgetful. Finding e-cigarettes was literally the answer to a prayer. I have been smoke-free since March 27, 2009 and have maintained normal mood and cognitive abilities. I've become an activist working to keep smoke-free alternatives available, effective (i.e. sufficient nicotine levels & flavors) and affordable through
    Mikerg responded:
    I had smoked a pack a day for 25 years, off and on. I say off an on because I've quit many times, the longest was for just over a year. However, when I'm not smoking I want a cigarette and when I'm smoking I want to quit. It really has been a horrible addiction for me. This is the first time in 25 years where I am not smoking and don't want a cigarette! I really feel e-cigarettes have been a miracle for me and have the potential to be a miracle for others. It upsets me to no end to read mis-information being repeated over and over by the anti-nicotine folks. I don't believe these people are anit-smoking, they are anti-nicotine and there is a HUGE difference. They pretend all these smoking bans are for non-smokers health, but then e-cigarettes come along and they want to treat them the same way? How dare they!?!

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