New Study Warns: E-cigarettes Contain The Most Addictive Nicotine


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E-cigarettes are generally seen as a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes because they don’t burn any tobacco.

They deliver nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerin and flavorings through inhaled vapor. The popularity of e-cigarettes and vaporizers has increased rapidly over the last 5 years. Many use them to quit smoking or just in public places where they can’t smoke conventional cigarettes.

Nicotine used in e-cigarettes is highly addictive

However, a new study has warned you can get addicted to e-cigarettes as you can with conventional cigarettes because they contain the most addictive form of nicotine and this is not represented on the labels.

In a study published in Chemical Research in Toxicology, the team from the American University of Beirut and the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products worked to find the levels of nicotine in the liquids and what type of nicotine they contained.

Of the three types of nicotine, researchers found that all the brands of e-liquid they tested were the strongest form – free-base nicotine that is easily absorbed by the body. 

An article on Time.com stated: a new study, published in the American Chemical Society’s Chemical Research in Toxicologyindicates that nine out of 17 common, commercially available e-cigarettes contained the most addictive kind of nicotine.

Reducing nicotine to help people quit smoking

In a separate two-year study, published in the journal Addiction, reducing the level of nicotine in cigarettes was not shown to help people quit the habit.

‘We don’t know that very low nicotine cigarettes will not work to reduce nicotine dependence and enhance quitting, but progressively reducing nicotine content of cigarettes in the way we did, without other means of supporting smokers, did not produce the desired results,’ said Dr. Neal Benowitz, a professor at the University of California San Francisco, in a press release.

Researchers recruited 135 smokers who were not interested in quitting, asking some to smoke cigarettes they were given and the rest to continue smoking their regular brand.

Those in the experimental group were given cigarettes with progressively less nicotine in them over the course of 6 months, and then were asked to smoke the free, lower-nicotine cigarettes for 6 months.

Participants were followed for another year after the 6 months of low-nicotine cigarettes. Researchers found that almost none of the 153 people — who had not been interested in quitting in the first place — had reduced or quit their smoking.

A recent Time.com article stated: a poll of 5,679 Americans conducted by Reuters found 75% of people who use electronic cigarettes or other vaporizing devices continue to also smoke traditional tobacco products.

Teens smoking e-cigarettes A separate recent study warned E-cigarettes could be luring teens into trying smoking – and lead them onto smoking ‘real’ cigarettes. James Sargent, of Dartmouth Hitchcock’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center in a paper published in the journal Pediatrics said “These are kids who might go on to smoke cigarettes, which are much better at delivering nicotine than e-cigarettes.”

E-cigs contain far fewer cancer-causing and other toxic substances than cigarettes, however their long-term effects on health and nicotine dependence are unknown.

Summing Up

It is still unclear how effective e-cigarettes are for quitting smoking. With little regulation on e-cigarettes, there will still be questions raised as to what is in the liquid used in these devices and their long term effects on your health.

I think the reason e-cigarettes can be addictive is not just because of the highly-addictive nicotine but also because they don’t break but rather enforce the habit of smoking something and for non-smokers there is a risk this can lead to smoking conventional cigarettes especially teens.

It is important to make people aware that until further tests have been done, and regulations enforced, e-cigarettes may not be as harmless as they seem.

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