Even as a smoking cessation aid, doctors are increasingly discouraging patients from using e-cigarettes due to the accumulating evidence of vaping’s negative health effects.
Dr. Petros Levounis, President of the American Psychiatric Association and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, stated that for current smokers, there are other extremely effective, safe, and FDA-approved interventions.
In July, the American College of Cardiology issued new medical guidelines vehemently discouraging the use of electronic cigarettes, particularly among those with chronic heart disease. Even in young individuals, e-cigarettes have been shown to increase heart rate, blood pressure, and affect the blood vessels’ ability to relax, according to Dr. Naomi Hamburg, a Cardiologist and Boston University Professor of Medicine.
Utilizing an alternative that has been demonstrated to be secure is optimal. Compared to conventional cigarettes, e-cigarettes are frequently portrayed as the lesser of two atrocities. According to Levounis, the flavoring options, perceived reduction in harm compared to traditional cigarettes, more manageable odor, and targeted campaigns aimed at vulnerable populations, such as youth, may be the cause.
However, research indicates that e-cigarettes cause damage by affecting the entire body. EVALI, or E-cigarette or Vaping-use Associated Lung Injury, is a medical condition that not only causes injury to the lungs but can also affect other organ systems. According to specialists, their long-term effects are unknown because they have not been on the market long enough to collect this data.
Dr. Jason Rose, a Pulmonary and Critical Care Physician, Associate Professor of Medicine, and Associate Dean for Innovation & Physician Science at The University of Maryland, stated, “We simply cannot conclude that it is safer than cigarettes.” For the majority of people, quitting tobacco from traditional cigarettes can be extremely difficult.
Combined Use of E-Cigarettes and Traditional Cigarettes Increases Cardiovascular Risks
Doctors are now warning that individuals attempting to quit smoking may begin to use e-cigarettes in addition to traditional cigarettes, a phenomenon that Hamburg refers to as a dual use pattern. This combination is strongly discouraged because its combined effect can be exceptionally damaging to blood vessels, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular issues.
According to physicians, those attempting to quit smoking should adhere to FDA-approved products. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) with a patch, lozenge, or inhaler, as well as medications such as Bupropion or Varenicline, are available. Frequently, combinations of these NRTs, such as the nicotine patch and lozenge, are advised. Levounis states that in some instances, psychosocial options such as cognitive behavioral therapy are required.
Regardless of the instrument used, adherence and proper application are crucial. It is not exactly double spearmint gum, Levounis explains regarding the gum. You must chew and then rest the tooth between your gum and cheek until the sensation subsides. The FDA has not authorized electronic cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid, but companies continue to seek approval for this use. The FDA insists that additional research is required to determine whether they can be used securely by those wishing to quit traditional tobacco cigarettes.
As smoking cessation tools, e-cigarettes are not ideal, and there are other scientifically-proven, safe and effective options, said Hamburg.