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Clinician’s Corner: Vaping VS Nicotine Replacement for Smoking Cessation

Everyone is talking about a British study enrolled 900 people who wanted to quit smoking. The United Kingdom National Health Service stop-smoking services did a study where half of the enrollees randomly got e-cigarettes. The other half got traditional treatment: nicotine patches plus gum, lozenges, nicotine inhalers or whatever kind of oral nicotine they preferred.

“The e-cigarettes were significantly more effective than nicotine replacement treatment,” the researchers reported.

As reported in the New England Journal of Medicine online, about 10 percent of people with standard treatment quit smoking for at least a year, while 18 percent of the people given e-cigarettes had quit.

Almost two times as many quit smoking with vaping.  HOWEVER of the 18% who vaped 90% of them continued to vape after one year and of the 10% who quit who used standard treatment, 80% were completely done with nicotine replacement at one year. The vapers were addicted to the nicotine. Incidentally, the e-cigarettes used in this study contained much lower levels of nicotine

Vaping Cigarettes
NO tar Tar
NO carbon monoxide Carbon Monoxide
4 ingredients Thousands of chemicals (7,000)
No second-hand smoke Second hand smoke
No stink Stinks

Bronchiolitis obliterans: also known as “popcorn lung” is a type of lung disease, which is not cancer. Inflammation causes scarring which leads to lung damage. A link between breathing in a chemical called diacetyl, a flavor enhancer, was made when a cluster of popcorn factory workers were all found to have the rare lung condition. It was not related to use of e-cigarettes, because e-cigarettes were not developed yet. Cherry, custard, and pastry flavors are most likely to contain diacetyl as a flavor enhancer.

The chemicals found in e-cigarette liquid, known as “e-juice,” may be a potential cause of popcorn lung. According to the American Lung Association, using electronic cigarettes or vaping, particularly the flavored varieties, can cause popcorn lung.  However, e-cigarette vapor has been proven to contain diacetyl.

The best studied smoking cessation strategies include:

  • behavioral therapy, such as individual counseling or smoking cessation classes.
  • Altoona Lung Specialists offer FREE smoking cessation classes and give FREE products to help you quit smoking. (814)-946-2845 extension-200. This service is being offered through a Pennsylvania Department of Health grant.
  • nicotine replacement therapy, such as a long-acting nicotine patch and short-acting nicotine gum
  • medications to reduce the urge to smoke, such as varenicline (Chantix) or bupropion (Zyban).

Prevention through Education

For now, your Thompson Pharmacist will focus on prevention of smoking, by educating teenagers and their parents.  E-cigarettes are highly addictive and could cause lifelong problems.  Every effort should be made to keep our youth away from electronic cigarettes.  Your Thompson Pharmacist is here to help, because at Thompson Pharmacy…it’s all for YOU!