Within the last two years, more and more Americans are becoming more conscious of their own health and well-being. Among those growing concerns are that of cigarette and cigar smoking as well as the vast amount of alternative methods of tobacco consumption and nicotine delivery. As a result of this concern, electronic nicotine delivery devices (e-cigarettes) have exploded in their respective industry in the United States as well as a number of other countries. Even those users who didn’t previously smoke cigarettes or consume nicotine in any other methods have begun “vapeing” without nicotine simply to fit in with the crowd.
Research shows that electronic nicotine delivery devices (e-cigarettes) are a more effective alternative to smoking cessation and nicotine reduction then the current methods used; for example, nicotine patches, nicotine gum, and prescription medications are all outdated nicotine cessation methods. To get a better understanding as to why e-cigarettes are more effective, I will start by explaining exactly what an e-cig is, what it is used for, how it works, and how you would use it effectively to receive the desired nicotine levels as someone who is gradually working toward being nicotine free. After a better understanding of what an e-cig is is achieved, finally I will go into detail of how “vapeing” is used as a smoking cessation technique. All of the facts above, and arguments put forth will be based on medical research already completed by others as well as my own personal experiences.
Electronic Cigarettes, or e-cigs as we will refer to them are very simple in their overall construction.
There are four main elements to the e-cig.
1. You have the battery, which is available in many different forms. You have travel sized batteries, high-capacity batteries, pass through batteries and even batteries with Swarovski crystals elements that have been incorporated into them to appeal to a wider variety of audiences that have lately been attracted to “vapeing”.
2. You have the tank. The tank itself is where the “e-juice” or “e-liquid” is stored until being vaporized. Tanks are constructed of many different mediums, the most “popular” however is polycarbonate due to its durability and lower cost. Some of the more expensive and higher quality tanks feature Pyrex glass as an alternative to the cheaper polycarbonate. Many will argue that with the use of glass, the use will receive a better more pure flavor compared to traditional tanks.
3. The most important aspect of the e-cigarette is the atomizer. The atomizer is around ¾ of an inch depending on the type you use, and also vary in styles, wattage, and wick length depending on the tank it is to be used with.
4. The final piece to the electronic cigarette device is the mouth piece which connects to the atomizer and tank to provide the user with a strong hit of vapor as they inhale.
E-Cigs are as easy to assemble as Lego’s; you simply screw the atomizer to the tank, place the mouthpiece on the tank and screw that assembly onto the battery. Within 5 minutes you can be on your way to being smoke free. The method of nicotine delivery is as simple as putting one together. Once you have a high quality e-juice inside your tank and press the button on your battery, live voltage is supplied to a small pin on the bottom of the clearomizer which in turn sends an electric current through a wire tightly wove around cotton soaked in the aforementioned e-juice. As air that you inhale passes over the e-juice soaked cotton and live wire, the e-juice in turn is atomized and the state of matter is changed from liquid to vapor. The vapor coming from the atomized e-juice being inhaled contains concentrations of nicotine equivalent to your level of consumption at the given time of use.
Next, I will explain the chemical compound of “e-juice,” their derivatives, and how it is currently compiled according to market standards today to achieve the desired effect for those seeking to lower their nicotine and tobacco consumption.
E-Juice is very simple in nature and there are only four actual ingredients that make up the juice itself. The first of four is Food Grade Vegetable Glycerin which is commonly used in household cooking as well as a variety of baking components due to its sweetness, and preservation properties.
The second ingredient which is Propylene Glycol is very similar to Vegetable Glycerin and is again used as a type of preservative in tobacco and food products.
Third we have the most important of all, pure Nicotine. “Nicotine is a chemical derived from tobacco which is grown for its leaves for smoking, chewing, or some cases sniffing” (Vorvick, MD – 2013). Nicotine is very addicting in nature and combined with the effects of smoking tobacco, the habit can become uncontrollable and unhealthy.
The last chemical which makes up e-liquid is the flavoring, or what you taste when you inhale. The flavoring is generally comprised of food grade oils and extracts such as cinnamon, pineapple, spearmint, red apple, etc. There are thousands of possible flavors and combinations to suit even the most particular of users. You don’t need a sophisticated laboratory (just a clean one) to mix e-liquid, and a centrifuge is not required for the chemicals to bond with one another. The general ratio of e-juice is 60% Vegetable Glycerin, 30% Propylene Glycol, 7% Flavoring, and 3% concentrated nicotine (all ratios vary depending on nicotine level, manufacturer, and user preference). With the proper use of electronic delivery devices e-cigs and e-liquid, users can become and remain smoke free in a simpler, more adaptive fashion than previous methods.
Nicotine delivery methods and smoking cessation products come in a wide variety of forms. You have your standard nicotine transdermal patches which work by transferring nicotine through the skin and into the blood stream seeking to satisfy your cravings. There is also nicotine gum which is a spearmint flavored chewing gum infused with concentrated nicotine and a few other chemicals which is then absorbed through the mouth and tongue to otherwise deliver nicotine as well as cure the oral fixation that many users can’t seem to move past. A couple of other less popular methods of smoking cessation are nicotine inhalers (not to be confused with e-cigs) which work exactly the way they sound. There is a cartridge that is filled with concentrated nicotine which is then punctured by a plastic needle and then becomes effective when inhaled. Although similar to an electronic cigarette, many users have claimed that they are unappealing when it comes to satisfying the habit. The lack of “throat hit” as the sensation has been referred to as well as the lack of good flavoring have been a major turn off when users have looked to these products for an alternative to smoking.
The problem with many of the aforementioned smoking cessation products is that they provide the user with nicotine, but it isn’t just the nicotine that they are accustomed and addicted too. Smoking itself is a habit, not just the chemicals which you intake. The motion of holding the cigarette in your hand, placing it between your lips and even the feeling of smoke entering and exiting your lugs is all a part of the “habit”. You don’t notice it when you first begin smoking but day by day you incorporate cigarettes into your lifestyle. You smoke before and after you eat, while you are getting ready for work, while you are driving to work, on your break and lunch at work and then on your way home from work.
Likewise when you get home. You smoke while you are cooking, after you eat, after you wash dishes, and before you go to bed. Smokers can’t usually skip any part of their routine because at that point the brain has become used to that particular amount of nicotine at those particular points in time throughout your day and when denied, you become anxious and you begin fidgeting, tapping your toes, and even becoming irritable.
You are trapped by your own habit. That is why many find it so difficult to stop smoking, and when they do, 50% start smoking again within the first thirty days if something is a little more stressful than they had planned for. They provide themselves with the excuse, and reassure themselves that they “deserve” it or even “worked hard” for it. Not only are users trapped by their addictions, it is becoming more and more difficult to smoke in public settings away from your own home due to so many others becoming health conscious.
Hence, the electronic cigarette. The e-cig is working to replace the cigarette and all of the harmful chemicals that are contained in a traditional cigarette all the while providing the relief you need and the nicotine that your body and brain crave with a more convenient tool and more convenient outlets. Although there are some public settings in which it is against their internal policy to vape on premises, there is no federal law governing the use of electronic cigarettes on public or government owned properties and many businesses are embracing the idea and allowing users to vape on premise due to its growing popularity.
Electronic Cigarettes have been notably effective in reducing the craving to smoke compared to traditional methods. According to experts at SmokeFree.Gov, “When your body begins to withdraw from nicotine you will become tired, irritable, depressed, have trouble sleeping, become restless and jumpy, and some users experience increased appetite and weight gain” (SmokeFree.Gov, 2013). Electronic cigarettes are regarded as more effective in smoking cessation and craving reduction compared to traditional methods because unlike those methods, you aren’t just receiving nicotine into your blood stream, you are also satisfying an oral fixation derived from your addiction to nicotine. Your brain has learned to associate the sensation of smoke inhalation and having something between your fingers and lips with relief provided from nicotine. Therefore, the use of an electronic cigarette satisfies the user both on a chemical and physical level providing relief to the anxiety caused by becoming smoke free.
Now that there is a better understand of what an electronic nicotine delivery device, or “e-cig” and how exactly it works in helping to suppress the need to smoke cigarettes in order to ingest the nicotine that your brain has come to depend on, you can see why the use of electronic cigarettes in smoking cessation is growing more rapidly.
E-Cigarettes and E-Liquid is comprised of simple engineering and only four basic food grade chemicals to produce a combination that aids in smoking cessation and nicotine reduction compared to traditional, outdated methods such as nicotine patches, gum, inhalers, etc. I have been a nonsmoker for over one year now and my overall health has improved one hundred percent. I am able to breather better, smell, and taste things that I couldn’t have previously while smoking traditional cigarettes. With the use of an e-cig and quality e-liquid, I was able to quit smoking completely in the first month and have gradually reduced my nicotine level to zero in the past eight months.
Consumers will continue to explore their options regarding smoking cessation and I have no doubt that the FDA will soon become more involved in the regulation of electronic cigarettes, and creation of e-liquid. Until then, we will have to rely on quality information from other consumers and independent agencies alike to evaluate the safety of these and other devices. SSA
Article by Matthew Ball, Smoke Shop Advisor