45.8 million Americans wrestle every day with their addiction to tobacco cigarettes. Since 1 in 5 adults smoke tobacco, and since smoking-cessation products have a whopping 95% failure rate, and since nothing much has happened in the solution department for the last 100 years, it’s time for some new ideas like vaping and some innovative products like the electronic cigarette. This is not to say that these devices are healthy, but I don’t think there is any doubt that they are ‘healthi-er’ than tobacco cigarettes.
The Old Way of Doing Things
The old way of dealing with the smoking problem has been through education, legislation, and marketing restrictions, such as forbidding the sale of tobacco cigarettes to minors.
While the number of adults who smoke has dropped over the past half century from about 50% to about 20% in response to these efforts, that still leaves 45.8 million – that’s ‘million’ – people at risk of dying from what are actually ‘preventable’ smoking-related diseases.
What Will Happen If We Keep Doing Things The Old Way?
If we keep on doing things the old way, the number of Americans who die every year will keep on climbing. Almost half a million of them die every year from smoking-related diseases as it is. That’s more than die from AIDS, drugs, fires and auto accidents put together!
A New Way
If we start taking a new tack, though – if we come at this problem from a harm-reduction angle rather than an abolitionist angle, then we stand a much better chance of saving many more lives.
Millions of Americans believe they have a right to smoke. One harm-reduction approach that seeks to reduce the smoker’s risk of dying of cancer and emphysema from smoking tobacco now offers them a new method of inhaling just the nicotine component of tobacco ‘without’ the 4,000 or so toxic chemicals and tar that are ‘also’ present in tobacco.
This method of inhaling nicotine is called “vaping,” and you do it through a device which looks like a tobacco cigarette on the outside, but which is actually a very clever nicotine-delivery system on the inside. Although it’s battery-powered, there is no on/off switch; rather, it turns on automatically when you start inhaling, and it turns off when you stop. Simple!
These new nicotine inhalers are called electronic cigarettes (“e-cigs”), but they could also be characterized as tobacco-replacement devices, because you only inhale a vapor that contains nicotine and a few taste-enhancing substances. Also, e-cigs come with refillable cartridges of various flavors and nicotine strengths, so that you may choose to use these e-cigs either as a smoking alternative or a smoking-cessation device.
If you choose to use e-cigs as a smoking-cessation device, then all you do is gradually reduce the amount of nicotine you inhale until you feel you no longer need it and can get along without it.
If you choose to use e-cigs as a tobacco-replacement device, then here are 5 major benefits you may enjoy:
1) The same physical sensations that you experience with tobacco cigarettes, because your lungs get filled with tobacco-flavored nicotine-enriched vapor when you inhale;
2) When you exhale, a vapor comes out of your mouth that looks like smoke but is actually just a water-based vapor that quickly disperses and does no harm to either people or the environment;
3) You can “vape” in clubs and pubs and restaurants and airplanes and other places where smoking tobacco is not allowed, which means that you can be part of the social scene again, instead of hiding in order to have a cigarette, or stepping outside in the rain and the cold and feeling like the whole world is against you because you need to smoke;
4) Your clothes, cars, and your home or apartment will not smell like stale cigarettes because with electronic smokes, there is nothing to ignite, nothing to burn, and no butts to throw away, so that what has always been described by detractors as a “filthy habit” has now become squeaky clean; and,
5) Top-of-the-line smokeless e-cigs now come in packages that look just like regular tobacco-cigarette packages and that also charge your e-cigs batteries for you so that, if you’re budget-conscious, you’ll appreciate the fact that you can now get e-cigs for 80% less per pack than you would have to pay for tobacco cigarettes.
Between a product that ‘costs’ almost half a million lives a year and one that ‘saves’ as many as that and more, what is there to choose? It’s time to stop smoking and start vaping!