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E-cigarette is like love

E-cigarettes can help get rid of the harmful smoking habit and save quite a bit of money - but this requires some will power too.

The renowned psychologist Voldemar Kolga says that e-cigarette should be seen as something that has a replacement function, i.e. it could replace regular cigarettes and smoking. "The human civilisations keeps developing replacements from electrically powered fireplaces to sex toys. Even love could be considered as the replacement of sex just like the e-cigarette. I cannot have anything against people vaping and staring at the flames of an electric fireplace," states Kolga.

According to him, the development of an addiction is part of human life and people should be trained to take pleasure in addictions and not let addictions take control over them. "Addictions connect people with the world around us. If something depended on nothing, it would simply fly away. And fly very high!" says Kolga.

A Member of the Management Board of eCig Group OÜ and the author of the Nicorex brand - Sven Kotke - assures that using nicotine-free e-cigarettes does not cause an addiction. "It is my belief that nicotine-containing e-cigarettes are considerably less harmful than regular cigarettes," says Kotke who has one of the senior players in the field of e-cigarettes in Estonia.

Quality of life will improve

It is true that the long-term effects of smoking e-cigarettes, i.e. vaping, are not known yet because the e-cigarette has not been on the markets long enough to conduct fundamental scientific research. Nevertheless, tobacco smoke contains about 4,000 chemicals whereas e-liquid contains only about twenty substances known to be present in tobacco smoke and their concentrations are up to 450 times smaller. Vaping does not emit tar or carbon monoxide and others are not exposed to health risks from passive smoking. Nicotine is addictive and harmful to health, but it does not have a direct carcinogenic effect just as the Estonian doctors have stated in the media.

The participatory five-week experiment by Eesti Ekspress indicated that replacing smoking with vaping improved the journalist's health. According to the pulmonologist, Dr. Elga Mesimaa, the small bronchioles expanded, the mild respiratory insufficiency disappeared and the body's oxygen supply improved - all these factors improve the quality of life. "If the oxygen level is constantly low, it damages primarily the brain and heart," noted Mesimaa.

On the other hand, the quality of life is improved because the vaper neither outs others at risk due to tobacco smoke nor litters the living environment with cigarette butts or ash.

According to Dr. Toomas Põllu, the Chief of Medicine of Qvalitas Clinic, e-cigarette could be an intermediate phase of quitting smoking completely. "Some people argue that regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes are equivalent but in medical terms this is not accurate. E-cigarettes are less harmful to human body. We wouldn't go as far as saying they better, but certainly less harmful," states Dr. Põld.

Health damage would be reduced

E-cigarettes are probably not completely harmless to health but one cannot expect their effects to be even anything close to those of tobacco smoke. Tobacco smoke is considered very dangerous or even deadly whereas the risk level of e-cigarettes is usually rated as minimal.

According to the recently published opinion of a panel of international experts (Karger, European Addiction Research Vol. 20, No. 5, 2014) regular cigarettes are far more dangerous than e-cigarettes. The panel awarded a combined risk rating of 100 points to regular cigarettes followed by cigarillos with 64 points. The risk rating of e-cigarettes is merely 4 points.

Umberto Veronesi, the Director of the European Institute of Oncology who is recognised globally for his contribution to combating breast cancer said that if all smokers would make the transition to vaping, it could save 500 million lives across the globe. The former Italian Health Minister criticised the government for not seeing the potential of e-cigarettes to improve public health through reducing health damage caused by smoking.

All you need is some will power

You need will power to quit smoking, even if you have e-cigarettes to assist you – nevertheless, e-cigarettes make it notably easier. According to statistics, many people start out by vaping e-liquids with a higher nicotine content, then gradually move down to milder liquids and finally puff nicotine-free liquids.

"We often see visitors in our shops who have smoked for decades and are switching abruptly to e-cigarettes. They tell how the forgotten sense of smell is restored, coughing stops and stamina is regained - stairs no longer pose a difficulty," says Sven Kotke, the e-cigarette specialist and representative of the Nicorex brand. According to him, there is no doubt that e-cigarette is an effective tool to quit smoking.

This is supported by the Internet fora for vapers where they proudly tell others how many cigarettes they have not smoked since switching to e-cigarettes and how many hundreds or thousands of euros they have already saved.

"As of today, I have managed avoided 100,000 puffs," a vaper posts. "E-cigarettes helped me to win the lifelong battle against tobacco," writes another. "I sleep better and the cough is gone," notes yet another. In contrast, there are no posts from people claiming that they put a nicotine chewing gum in their mouth or a nicotine patch on their body and now they no longer even think about smoking. The success rate of people quitting smoking by means of e-cigarettes is higher than the rate of those who use patches because the replacement activity which resembles smoking is a facilitating factor that, according to psychologist Voldemar Kolga, is nothing to be afraid of.

Asurvey conducted last year by the Monzino Cardiology Centre showed that 60% of people who tried to quit smoking by means of e-cigarettes succeeded whereas only 32% of those who tried quitting without e-cigarettes succeeded. Further, people who did not manage to complete smoking completely cut back their smoking notably by means of the e-cigarette.

Voldemar Kolga says that, according to Freud, replacement activities are the drivers of human development and these should not necessarily be seen as something negative. "For instance, loss of work forces people to look for replacements. In a sense, unemployment is a bliss. I can find activities which I have never engaged in before. When I had to work, I had no time to think. E-cigarettes are an approved replacement for smoking. If e-cigarettes are banned, the development of human civilisation will require devising new things, new activities to replace the "good old" e-cigarette. Whether a joke or not, it is actually true!"