Jonathan Foulds, PhD. is a Professor of Public Health Sciences and Psychiatry at Penn State University, College of Medicine. Besides his esteemed medical career, he was also a founding member and Vice President of the Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence. Dr. Foulds is also a renowned health expert on the popular WebMD online smoking cessation community.
At the moment there are more than 400 brands of electronic cigarettes available, most of which can be purchased in online stores. Also the number of flavors in the nicotine based e-liquid is skyrocketing, with numerous new aromas (each more complex and more refined than the last one) being developed each month.
Considering that you can find high concentration e-liquids and that the newer generations of e-cigarettes (tank systems and mech mods) deliver nicotine much more efficiently than the first generation cig-a-likes, would have given the e-cigarette all the odds of winning the addiction battle with tobacco combustibles, but according to the survey conducted on 3,600 vapers, the results showed clearly the opposite.
According to Dr. Foulds, there are a couple of reasons behind ecigs being far less addictive than their combustible counterparts. One of the most important is that, even though technology has advanced and now ecigs deliver an increased quantity of nicotine to the lungs, it’s still less than in the case of smoking on tobacco. As Professor Foulds showed, the concentration of nicotine in the blood of a vaper is much lower than the concentration found in a heavy smoker.
Another reason is closely related to the functionality of e-cigarettes and the way people use them. Because you don’t need a lighter or a match to puff on your e-cigarette, you are under less pressure to vape in concentrated sessions. However, in the case of smoking there is an entire routine. Combustible tobacco cigarettes are smoked on the go. People go outside or in designated areas, light them up and puff on them for a few minutes until they are done, then toss them aside. With electronic cigarettes you take 2-3 puffs, wait 10 to 15 minutes for the next puffs and so on. You get to enjoy it more relaxed and you’re under no pressure to get as much nicotine in a single session.
Of course, many people found the study interesting, including health advocates but, as always they prefer to remain reluctant and wait for a decision from the Food and Drug Agency, which is currently working on regulating the whole e-cigarette industry. There are some concerns that with newer and more powerful devices, the chances of addiction could increase and without any regulations, manufacturers are able sell dangerous gizmos without any quality control standards imposed by the government.
We should applaud Dr. Foulds and his team or researchers for this interesting study and wait for more scientific evidence before making a clear statement on the effects that e-cigarettes might have on our lives. However, many doctors and scientists still agree they are a less risker alternative than combustible tobacco.