Is Vaping A Good Way To Quit Smoking?

June 15, 2015
Girl Holding Traditional And Electronic Cigarette

Electronic cigarettes (a.k.a. e-cigarettes) are a relatively new product on the market, but they have already been widely hailed as the most viable alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes for smokers who are looking for a way to kick the habit. While e-cigarettes have continued to increase in popularity, important entities such as the World Health Organization have been reluctant to issue any decisive statements regarding whether or not they are safe to use due to a lack of comprehensive research regarding the health effects of vaping. Some medical professionals, however, have lauded e-cigarettes as potential “life savers”. One such expert is Dr. Derek Yach, the Executive Director of the New York-based health research organization Vitality Institute. Yach is an outspoken proponent of e-cigarettes as a first-choice alternative to tobacco products.


In Dr. Yach’s speech at a recent media event hosted by the Electronic Cigarette Association of South Africa (EASA), he encouraged doctors to begin recommending electronic cigarettes to their patients as a helpful smoking cessation tool. He further emphasized the view that in light of the barrage of factual information regarding the detrimental effects of smoking traditional cigarettes, any potential health risks associated with e-cig vapor are likely to be negligible by comparison. With more than 6 million deaths per year being attributed to smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes, Dr. Yach explained that his main concern is what type of consequences would come from “not using e-cigarettes”. Yach also made the point of cautioning against any overly strict regulations regarding the use or sale of e-cigarettes (e.g., only allowing e-cigarette or vaping products to be sold in pharmacies).


Although Yach has been an outspoken advocate of e-cigarettes, he also acknowledges that there are several legitimate concerns regarding vaping, one of the main ones being the perception that e-cigarette companies are intentionally targeting younger people in their marketing efforts. Many vaping products feature a variety of appealing flavors and colorful packaging that have the potential to grab young people’s attention. This has sparked notable concerns among parents who believe that e-cigarettes could be used as a “gateway device” to introduce young people into smoking traditional tobacco. Dr. Yach asserts that the likelihood of e-cigarettes leading to regular tobacco use is not very likely, noting that as e-cigarette use has grown in the United States and the UK, traditional tobacco use has continued to decrease. According to health authorities, the jury is out regarding the safety of some of the ingredients found in vaping liquid, but Dr. Yach believes that any safety issues can be properly dealt with by way of introducing typical consumer protection regulations regarding e-cigarettes and vaping products.


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