In light of the World Health Organization’s stance on electronic cigarettes and their role as a stop smoking device, I though it appropriate to discuss some of the differences between an electronic cigarette and other various smoking alternatives, quit smoking products, and smoking cessation methods.
First, I agree with the WHO that until it can be proven as an effective stop smoking product, the electronic cigarette should not be marketed as such. I have talked to many people who have used the product for this purpose, however without proper data it is impossible to accurately make the claim that it is in fact an effective quit smoking product.
Another point to be made is that a user of an electronic cigarette is not forced to change their habit completely. The physical and/or mental addiction to the action of smoking is still in place. There are some obvious differences in the action, including the lack of a definitive start and stop point when using an electronic cigarette. Nonetheless, the action of “taking a smoke break” is basically still in place.
When compared to the various smoking cessation devices on the market today such as nicotine gum, patches and shots the electronic cigarette has some similarities and other differences. The main similarity, for the most part, is that it does deliver nicotine much like the gum or patch. The big difference is still that it doesn’t take the action of smoking out of the equation. For those looking to complete break the habit, this may be an issue. For those who have failed to quit with the other methods it may be a good alternative to smoking tobacco.
As a smoking alternative, the electronic cigarette is right on the mark. As a quit smoking product or smoking cessation method; more testing is needed.