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Safe Smoke -- How I Quit Smoking With E-cigs

Updated on January 28, 2010

Is there a such thing as a safe smoke? What about a cigarette you can smoke while you are trying to quit smoking? What if I told you there is a method out there where you can smoke without much of the myriad bad health effects? You would probably start calling me foul names and saying I was crazy. Just hold on while I show you something you probably weren't even aware existed. Have you ever heard of electronic cigarettes? They are often just called e-cigs or esmokes for short, but there are several brand names out there also. These relatively new creations have exploded onto the market, and can even be used as a method to quit smoking. While most of them are not actively marketing to the smoking cessation crowd as a stop smoking aid, many affiliates are.

I can personally say that the electronic cigarettes were a big factor in my ability to follow through with my decision to quit smoking. Obviously most people, even smokers, know that there are risks and numerous bad effects of smoking. Naturally, a huge number want to stop smoking, but cannot figure out how to do it. They may try hypnosis, gums, patches, and various other stop smoking aides. I'll add the e-cig to the list, because that's what finally worked for me.

The labeling on the package actually says this e-cigarette is "good for health." No Surgeon General's Warning here.
The labeling on the package actually says this e-cigarette is "good for health." No Surgeon General's Warning here.

What is an E-cig and can it help me quit smoking?

The e-cig is a device that looks an awful lot like a cigarette. The ones I am familiar with have a cylindrical battery that looks like the part of the cigarette that holds the tobacco. The other end that usually holds the filter in a traditional cigarette, is a cartridge that holds a liquid that is turned to vapor by an atomizer housed within this end of the cigarette. There are no moving parts and nothing to plug in as the whole thing is self-contained.

When you take a drag from an electronic cigarette, an observer would see what looks like smoke as you exhale. It is not smoke, though, it is vapor. The cartridges contain a liquid carrier which is usually polypropylene glycol (a harmless compound) and nicotine as well as some sort of flavoring. It might be flavored to taste like a cigarette or something else...cherries, anyone?

There are also varying levels of nicotine available depending on what you are used to. Some manufacturers even provide cartridges with zero nicotine. This actually seems to be a good way to step down your smoking as a nicotine replacement type of therapy. The good thing about this method is that you are still carrying out the same basic activity of smoking, but without all of the bad effects like inhaling actual carcinogenic agents and having smelly breath and clothing. Not to mention you automatically avoid the fire hazard inherent to cigarettes.

Safe smokes?
Safe smokes?

Nicotine by itself is no worse for your health than caffeine, and it's effects on the body are similar. Both compounds are stimulants, and both compounds have addictive properties for most people. It is by eliminating the burning tobacco, glue, and paper as well as countless additives present in tobacco cigarettes that the manufacturers of electronic cigarettes have given people a much healthier way to consume nicotine. I also believe, since this is how I had used them, that e-cigs can be a good alternative method to quit smoking. I was immediately able to stop smoking the burning tobacco cigarettes and move to the electronic ones without much if any desire or craving for actual smoke. The e-cigs tasted and felt very similar without the harmful and sometimes debilitating effects of constant smoking. Within three months or so, I had managed to step down to nothing at all, and I am much happier with the fact that I am now no longer smoking and stinking up things. Of course, technically, I stopped smoking the day I switched to e-cigs.

One thing about electronic cigarettes is their price. Many of them are pretty expensive to get started. If you plan to continue using them as a replacement for traditional cigarettes, you will only need to purchase the replacement cartridges periodically. These seem to be a little cheaper than actual cigarettes when you factor in that cartridges last beyond a single "use". As a smoking cessation aid, the expense should be a non-issue since you will no longer spend money on cigarettes upon quitting, and you save a lot of money in the long run. Electronic cigarettes are a good thing as far as I'm concerned. You might want to give it a shot, especially if everything else you've tried has failed. At least you would not actually be smoking, so you could call the activity Safe Smoke!


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