E-cigarettes: a doctor's view of the good, the bad and the ugly

Do e cigarettes work? Are they safe?

First, my own experience as a doctor I have found e cigarettes to be one of the most effective methods of cutting down or quitting smoking for recalcitrant smokers.



This is because e cigarettes are not only a nicotine replacement therapy, they are a total smoking cessation therapy, as vaping simulates the act of smoking, and you physically draw vapor into your mouth.

I have found e cigarettes to be one of the most effective methods of cutting down or quitting smoking for recalcitrant smokers.

Several years ago I learned a technique for hypnotizing smokers to quit, and the biggest obstacle to overcome other than the nicotine was the image that people had of themselves with a cigarette in their mouths. E cigarettes allow a cigarette addict to perpetuate the image and the nicotine, but to lose the tar and other cigarette toxins that cause cancer and emphysema.

Though there are no long term studies to show I m right about e cigarettes for smoking cessation, there is one recent study in the British journal Lancet that did demonstrate that e cigarettes were at least as successful as a nicotine patch.

But if I see e cigarettes as a potential tool to quit for adults, at the same time, I am very concerned about the growing role e cigarettes are playing for teens, many of whom are non smokers the first time they try an e cigarette.

According to the Centers for Disease Control e cigarette use among high schoolers is now up to 10 percent, double from a year ago, with 80 percent also smoking tobacco.

Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the CDC and a top expert in preventive health, told me that e cigarettes can be a gateway drug, with nicotine addiction leading to more tobacco use.

I believe that, and though 12 states including New York ban e cigarette use for minors, few are listening, and kids can still buy their e cigarettes on line.

On top of this problem, liquid nicotine is now being sold in different flavors on line, at much higher concentrations than is found in an e cigarette, which generally includes nicotine levels in the 1.8% to 2.4% range.

The low concentration is less risky, but Vaporworld, for example, sells a gallon of liquid nicotine at 10 percent concentration for only $195, and Liquid Nicotine Wholesalers charges $110 for a liter at the same concentration. With this high concentration, experts say that just a tablespoon could be enough to cause serious harm.

Nicotine is a potent neurotoxin which can be ingested or absorbed through the skin, leading to seizures, vomiting, and rapid heart rate. The number of poisoning cases linked to e liquids was 1,351 in 2013, up 300 percent from the year before.

So clearly, there is a rising concern over the safety of nicotine liquids as well as nicotine addiction.

I believe that in the right hands, e cigarettes can be an effective tool for quitting smoking, perhaps the best we currently have available.

Unfortunately, they are frequently not getting into the right hands, and I also know many smokers who carry both cigarettes and e cigarettes around, and don t actually cut down on tobacco.

The FDA is planning on increasing regulations on e cigarettes, and I think this is a good idea, though not likely to solve the problem.

I wish there was a way of regulating e cigarettes so that a doctor has a definite role, and can guide her patients to e cigarettes to be used as a treatment rather than as another party chemical.

Unfortunately, the chances of e cigarettes becoming prescription only is about as likely as the chance of cherry flavor being replaced by the taste of cigarette ash in bubblegum.

Dr. Marc Siegel, a practicing internist, joined FOX News Channel (FNC) as a contributor in 2008.

Walgreen to ‘ to evaluate’ selling cigarettes – chicago tribune

Retail pharmacies like CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreen are seeking to play a larger role in the U.S. health system by becoming more comprehensive health care providers with in store clinics, vaccination administration and other services.

They re collectively trying to capture a surge of newly insured Americans who are gaining coverage through the health care overhaul law, which is expected to expand insurance to 11 million to 13 million by the end of 2014.

The CVS initiative, the first major pharmacy to undertake such a ban, puts the bullseye on the back of Walgreen, the nation s largest pharmacy chain that has faced withering attacks from health and advocacy groups for years surrounding its policy of selling tobacco products.

Despite its more recent transformation into a more health care focused company, Walgreen has remained steadfast in its tobacco policy, arguing last year that it must continue to sell those products to stay competitive with other drug store chains, convenience stores and grocery stores.

Michael Polzin, a Walgreen spokesman, said Wednesday the company has been evaluating its tobacco line for “some time,” and said it “will continue to evaluate the choice of products our customers want, while also helping to educate them and providing smoking cessation products and alternatives that help reduce the demand for tobacco products.”

Walgreen on Wednesday also announced a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare to launch a free, Internet based smoking cessation program called Sponsorship to Quit.

The program will provide smokers with customized tools to track their progress in quitting smoking.

While Walgreen does not break out tobacco sales, the company last year cited the introduction of cigarette sales in dollar stores as a key contributor to a decline in its store traffic for its third quarter.

The $2 billion in annual sales CVS said it is giving up accounted for about 1.6 percent of the company s total revenue in 2012, the last year for which full year statistics are available.

The move drew praise from President Barack Obama, a former smoker, who said CVS “sets a powerful example that will have a profoundly positive impact on the health of our country.”

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