First manufactured in China, electronic cigarettes have been embraced globally by former tobacco smokers as a healthier alternative. But just how effective are electronic cigarettes at helping cigarette users kick their habit?
Electronic cigarettes are typically composed of three main components: the cartridge, atomizer and battery. The battery provides the smoking simulation device with power while the cartridge contains the e-liquid to be vaporized. E-liquids commonly contain a propylene glycol solution along with various flavors as well as variable nicotine concentrations. The atomizer component of the electronic cigarette is responsible for vaporizing the e-liquid contained in the cartridge to be inhaled by the user. Modern electronic cigarette companies often consolidate the cartridge and atomizer into an appropriately named cartomizer, which offers the advantage of being a bit more user friendly and less technical.
A recent study headed in part by Dr. Riccardo Polosa followed hundreds of tobacco smokers as they attempted to transition entirely to electronic cigarettes. 300 smokers were involved in the study and arranged into 3 different groups. All participants in the study were unaware of which group they were in and what their electronic cigarettes contained. The first and second group initially received 7.2mg nicotine content cartridges while the third group was given cartridges lacking nicotine completely. The second group was then unknowingly switched to a lower nicotine content cartridge. Alle-liquids used in the study were tobacco flavored but did not actually contain any tobacco.
The study showed that a whopping 13% of the first group (highest nicotine) and 9% of the second group were no longer smoking tobacco cigarettes. 4% in the zero nicotine content subgroup were able to do the same. Furthermore, the study indicated that of the remaining smokers, a good majority of them cut back on smoking. Researchers state that although the study is the first of its kind that it shows a great deal of promise for using electronic cigarettes as a means to stop smoking.
For now, we do know that electronic cigarettes are void of the detrimental effects of tobacco-containing products and that smokers should look forward to additional studies.