E-cigarettes

Kicking the Habit

Because nicotine is so addictive, the best way to avoid the trouble of trying to quit smoking or stop using e cigs is never to start.

If you smoke and want to quit, e cigarettes probably aren’t your best option. Using an e cigarette mimics the experience of smoking tobacco cigarettes more closely than other quitting options, like nicotine gum or patches. You don’t want to successfully give up smoking only to find you’re now hooked on e cigarettes.

If you’ve already tried using e cigs and think you might be getting dependent on nicotine, you’ll need to follow the same steps for quitting as you would with tobacco

  • Make a specific plan. Set a date to begin the quitting process. If you smoke cigarettes, try going cold turkey before relying on e cigarettes to help. If that doesn’t work, it’s time for a plan to wean yourself off nicotine. Make a specific goal, like using one less e cigarette each day for a week. Keep cutting back until you no longer smoke or vape.
  • Stay busy. Take your mind off cigarettes by exercising or doing something that involves your hands, like art, music, knitting, or woodworking. Stay aware of specific times and situations that make you want cigarettes (like at a party or after a meal), and come up with a plan to handle those times.
  • Delay giving in to a craving. When you crave a cigarette or e cig, put off giving in to the urge. It can be easier to tell yourself to «wait» than to tell yourself ‘»no.» Do something else to take your mind off the craving. Chances are, the urge will pass, and congratulations that means one less cigarette!
  • Keep focused on why you want to quit. Write down all the reasons you want to stop using cigarettes or e cigarettes, like the money you’ll save or the extra energy you’ll have. Keep the list where you can see it. Read it every day, even though you already know the reasons. Doing this helps your brain automatically remind you of a reason when you feel a strong craving.
  • Get support. Turn to your family or a trusted adult for moral support when you really want a cigarette. It also helps strengthen your resolve to tell other people that you are quitting. If you don’t want friends and family to know you smoke or use e cigs, join an online or in person support group. See if friends will join you in quitting. If not, ask them not to smoke or use e cigarettes in front of you.
  • Be good to yourself. Some people use e cigs to avoid harming friends and family with secondhand smoke. But you’re still hurting them by harming someone they love you. Be your own best friend and give yourself praise each time you avoid reaching for the e cigs.

Nicotine is an addictive drug. It’s almost never easy to quit using it once you’ve started. The best strategy is to never start in the first place. If it’s too late for that, remind yourself that it is possible to quit. Other people succeed, and so can you!

Reviewed by Elana Pearl Ben Joseph, MD
Date reviewed October 2013

Harmful chemicals in cigarettes

Cigarettes are one of few products which can be sold legally which can harm and even kill you over time if used as intended.

There are ongoing lawsuits in the USA which aim to hold tobacco companies responsible for the effects of smoking on the health of long term smokers.

This is not an exhaustive list of the chemicals in cigarettes but it gives examples that many people will be able to recognise and relate to the harmful health effects of smoking them.

Harmful Chemicals In Cigarettes Chemical Description Benzene
(petrol additive)

  • A colourless cyclic hydrocarbon obtained from coal and petroleum, used as a solvent in fuel and in chemical manufacture and contained in cigarette smoke.
  • A It known carcinogen associated with leukaemia.

Formaldehyde
(embalming fluid)

  • A colourless liquid, highly poisonous, used to preserve dead bodies also found in cigarette smoke.
  • Known to cause cancer, respiratory, skin and gastrointestinal problems.

Ammonia
(toilet cleaner)

  • Used as a flavouring, frees nicotine from tobacco turning it into a gas
  • Often found in dry cleaning fluids.

Acetone
(nail polish remover)

  • Fragrant volatile liquid ketone, used as a solvent, for example, nail polish remover
  • Found in cigarette smoke.

Tar

  • Particulate matter drawn into lungs when you inhale on a lighted cigarette. Once inhaled, smoke condenses and about 70 per cent of the tar in the smoke is deposited in the smoker’s lungs.

Nicotine
(insecticide/addictive drug)

  • One of the most addictive substances known to man, a powerful and fast acting medical and non medical poison.
  • This is the chemical which causes addiction.

Carbon Monoxide (CO)
(car exhaust fumes)

  • An odourless, tasteless and poisonous gas, rapidly fatal in large amounts
  • The same gas that comes out of car exhausts
  • The main gas in cigarette smoke, formed when the cigarette is lit

Others

  • Arsenic (rat poison)
  • Hydrogen Cyanide (gas chamber poison)

Table 1 Harmful Chemicals in Cigarettes.
Source Health Education Authority (UK) Lifesaver


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