Now two weeks into the new year, resolutions are in full swing.
Among the top most common New Year’s resolutions is quitting smoking. However, as any smoker will tell you, it’s not an easy one to stick to.
As such smokers turn to a number of anti-smoking aids to help them kick the habit and one tactic more and more smokers are using to help them quit is electronic cigarettes, commonly known as e-cigarettes.
Mary Coghill, owner of Puffin Awesome Smoke shop in Lacombe, said she knows of a few people who have successfully used e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking.
“I know some where it is working,” said Coghill, adding that some users have combined e-cigarettes with nicotine patches to kick their habit. “The people that are using it only on occasion, they seem to be ok.”
Not only are people using e-cigarettes as an antismoking aid, they are using them to keep from reverting back to smoking after quitting as well.
Coghill said she has customers who will purchase e-cigarettes so they have something to smoke when they know they will be around other smokers, like camping in the summer.
Another advantage to e-cigarettes is they allow you to smoke in places traditional cigarettes are not allowed. She said that she tried one herself when staying with her mother in an apartment that doesn’t allow smoking and knows others people who have done the same.
“It’s a really good alternative.”
Coghill said she is of the opinion that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to smoking. She said that there is little to no heat involved with e-cigarettes and there is no smoke.
There is also no lingering cigarette smell or secondhand smoke when smoking the e-cigarettes, said Coghill.
“I do firmly believe it’s way better for you,” said Coghill.
Coghill added that smoking is dangerous not necessarily because of tobacco or nicotine, but because of the combination of them with all the other chemicals in cigarettes. She also reiterated that the heat of smoking traditional cigarettes is very harmful to the lungs.
While traditional cigarettes contain many chemicals and are not required to list their ingredients, the active ingredient in e-cigarettes is glycerol which Coghill said is already commonly found in many substances.
She added that there is little else in the e-cigarettes other than the “juice” that creates the vapour made from water and glycerol.
However, not everyone is convinced that e-cigarettes are a good idea.
According to Health Canada e-cigarettes may pose unknown health risks. Health Canada also recommends against the use of any kind of e-cigarette and has stated that further research is needed about the effects of smoking them.
Because glycerin is added to products she already uses, Coghill said she can’t imagine how e-cigarettes could be as or more harmful than traditional smokes. However, she does agree that more research is needed into the effects of the product.
Coghill, who quit smoking in 2003, said she thinks it is worthwhile to learn more about e-cigarettes as they could be used to help people stop smoking.
However Coghill said that health agencies advocate for quitting smoking, but sometimes don’t consider how difficult and expensive that can be for smokers.
“It’s not that easy,” said Coghill. “If it was that easy people would have quit.”
Therefore, organizations like Health Canada should be looking into alternative ways to help people stop smoking or at least smoke safer.
“It makes sense for Health Canada to look into it.”
E-cigarettes are battery operated devices that create a vapour that can be inhaled instead of smoke.
They can have rechargeable cartridges or be disposable and come in a number of fl avours.
Some e-cigarettes also contain nicotine. However, this variety of e-cigarette has not been authorized for sale in Canada.
As such, Puffin Awesome Smoke Shop does not stock the nicotine variety, but Coghill said she gets inquiries about them from customers every day. She said she is not sure if she likes the idea of nicotine being added to the devices or not and that more research needs to be done.
“I don’t know that that’s a lot better for you, I haven’t checked that out,” said Coghill.
“I still would have to do some research on that.”