Electronic cigarettes may offer an alternative for smokers

Narrator: Kicking the the tobacco habit E-cigarettes?
That’s right now In Motion.As of 2007 the percentage of U.S. smokers has been cut
by more than half since 1955. That still leaves close
to one fifth of the popuplation quite literally puffing their lives away. The connection to
a long list of illnesses and diseases and cigarettes
has played a role in getting smokers and cigarettes to part ways. Smoking cessation
programs take many forms, from nicotine patches to
nicotine gum all the way to medications, but one product that is relatively new has some
researchers concerned. Foulds:Cigarette smoke contains nicotine,
the addictive drug, carbon monoxide, which is a clear
odorless gas that replaces oxygen in your blood, and what we call tar which is the black
sticky mass of gunk and thousands of chemicals that
attach to your lungs and your airways and cause lung
cancer and exposes you to diseases like COPD. So it is primarily the nicotine that people
smoke for, but it is the other 4,000 chemicals that
cause most of the harm to health. So part of the
idea of nicotine replacement therapy like the patch or the nicotine gum is to give people
nicotine in a cleaner form and gradually wean them
off. We noticed that there has been a new invention,
a new phenomenon, called electronic cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes are shaped like a cigarette.
They look like a cigarette, but you don’t light them. They have a little electronic
current that produces a vapor of propylene glycol and it
has nicotine in it. It almost completely replaces the
habit, the behavioral smoking. Narrator: The E-cig removes the tar and other
toxic chemicals from the situation and leaves the
user with only the addictive nicotine which the body craves. The user then has more latitude
to step down from the addiction to the nicotine
without suffering the effects of other hazardous material. Foulds: Very little was known about electronic
cigarettes. We wanted to find out a little bit more.
We decided what better way to learn more about electronic cigarettes than to interview users.
So we did a survey of over a hundred regular electronic cigarette users. Most of them had
used them for over a year. We asked them a series
of questions to find out why they used them, and how
they were using them. and what kind of products they were using… …to try to get a better
understanding of this phenomenon. Narrator: A study found that while close to
eighty percent percent of long term users of ecigs
have compleely ditched the tobacco habit, only eight percent were using the most widely
marketed version of cigarette shaped ecigs. Foulds: So the people in our study were not
actually using electronic cigarettes like the ones
that are mass marketed. Now this is the most commonly used kind of electronic cigarette.
But what we believe is that these kinds of electronic
cigarettes don’t have enough battery power to put as
much nicotine into the vapor. There have been studies done in other places where they found
that the nicotine delivery was low. But in our
study of regular users, people would use electronic for
about a year. We found that 80% of them were not using these. They were using slightly
larger models that seemed to have the ability to
deliver a stronger battery power so that the nicotine
could into the vapor and deliver an adequate dose. We think that’s these are probably more
effective in helping people to quit smoking. But these are not the kind of cigarettes that
people are using. Narrator: Until more extensive research can
be done Dr. Foulds’ research suggests that smokers
trying to quit should rely on proven methods. Foulds: So there is a 1-800 free telephone
counseling service, nationally, that you can call that
will give you good counseling. And we have medicines that have been proven to be safe
and effective. So nicotine replacements like the
patch, the gum, the lozenge, the nasal spray inhaler
and prescription-only medicines, like Chantix and Bupropion –these have all been shown
to be safe and effective. They’ll all roughly double
your chances of success. Narrator: For In Motion, I’m Curt Parker.