UR HEALTH: It’s Time to Stop Vaping

I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Pfizer, Inc. and the Coverys Foundation to write about smoking cessation. All opinions are my own. 

Since I started TheUrbanRealist in 2013, one of my main objectives was to encourage you to live your life to the fullest and be your best selves. That’s why I think today’s blog post is so important and needs to be discussed: It’s time to STOP VAPING. 

Since the introduction of e-cigarettes, the industry has done its best to promote vaping as a way to stop smoking. They claim that it offers the same feeling of inhalation and it provides a nicotine fix, but that they’re a lot safer than cigarettes. The truth is that the e-cigarette industry is like the wild west with no FDA approval whatsoever. These e-cigarettes use formulations with no oversight and with no proof that they actually help people stop smoking. So really, what we have now is a need to stop smoking and to stop vaping in order to have a healthier life.

I’m excited to partner with Med-IQ to help generate awareness about smoking cessation and about the fact that vaping is not a way to stop smoking. Med-IQ is an accredited medical education company providing an exceptional educational experience for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals, so we can trust the facts we get from them, and the facts make it very clear – stop vaping as a method for smoking cessation.

The Facts That Encourage People to Stop Vaping

Dr. Prochaska from Stanford University and Dr. Tindle from Vanderbilt University, both distinguished professionals in their fields, maintain that vaping is not a recommended path to quitting smoking. As I said earlier, e-cigarette companies have touted vaping as a way to stop smoking, but they have no FDA oversight or approval as a reduced-harm tobacco product. In addition, the doctors are concerned with the growing trend of dual using, in which those who try to stop smoking using e-cigarettes instead end up using both regular cigarettes and vape pens on a regular basis.

While most people try to quit on their own, few are successful. The combination of counseling and use of smoking cessation aids like nicotine replacement therapy (patch, gum, lozenges, inhalers, or nasal spray) or prescribed smoking cessation medicines (Chantix/varenicline and Zyban/Wellbutrin/bupropion) greatly increase the chance of success, but there has been no evidence that vaping does. In fact, it’s been the opposite. Counseling and medications, when used together, can double or even triple success rates compared to using no quit aids.

Consider The Biology

Smoking is so addictive because nicotine reaches the brain within 8 to 10 seconds, releasing dopamine. The chemical release combined with the speed at which it occurs is why it is so easy to become addicted. These days, e-cigarettes provide that same stimulus almost as quickly, while nicotine replacement methods are much slower acting. For example, it takes about 20 minutes for nicotine levels to peak after using nicotine gum or lozenges. This disparity is why it’s been so easy for e-cigarettes to corner the market as a “smoking cessation aid”, even though evidence shows it’s anything but.

In addition, it’s a scientific fact that using FDA-approved nicotine replacement products is not trading one addiction for another. People don’t get addicted to nicotine gum, lozenges, or patches. They are not designed to give a person a nicotine fix. Rather, they’re designed to help reduce cravings and increase success rates. It’s recommended to use two nicotine replacement therapies at once to help increase initial nicotine delivery and then maintain a lower, more regulated stream of nicotine throughout the day to help ease withdrawal symptoms. For example, using a patch in conjunction with nicotine gum has been shown to have great success.

Photo by Sven Kucinic

How to Encourage Family and Friends to Stop Vaping and Smoking

  • Ask Open-Ended Questions: Rather than slamming family and friends with hardcore facts, ask questions that help them come around to those facts on their own. What are the good things they feel they get from smoking? Can they get them somewhere else? What is the financial cost of smoking? How could they use that money if they weren’t spending it on tobacco.
  • Take a Big Picture Approach: What are the goals that your friends and family who smoke or vape have? Do they have children or grandchildren? Are they excited about watching them grow up? Do they have an elderly parent who needs help or will need help? Is smoking or vaping getting them closer or further away from those goals.
  • Recognize “Change Talk”: Statements such as “I really like smoking, but I don’t like paying $10 a pack” or “I quit before. I can do it again if I put my mind to it” are statements called “change talk”. These are statements that let you know a person might be ready to stop vaping or smoking. Always support that kind of talk.
  • Offer Support: Encourage your family and friends who smoke or vape to call 1-800-QUIT NOW or visit CDC.GOV/QUIT so they can find help in quitting.

Take a Quiz to Help Stop Vaping and Smoking and You Could Win Big!

Med-IQ needs your help!  Right now they are conducting an anonymous survey to help them better understand your views on and experiences with smoking cigarettes and vaping e-cigarettes. Your responses will be used to identify additional opportunities to help people stop smoking and vaping and educate their healthcare providers. It takes less than 10 minutes to fill out AND it automatically enters you to win 1 of 10 $100 VISA gift cards! It’s a win-win situation! You can find the survey here

 

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