Everyone knows that tobacco addiction is serious and it’s really hard to kick the cigarette habit. But a new study from Penn State College of Medicine recently revealed that ecigs are less addictive than tobacco smokes. Jonathan Foulds, professor of public health sciences and psychiatry, said that surveys shows people experience less dependence when using electronic cigarettes compared to those smoking traditional cigarettes.
The study started with a survey of 3500 former smokers that were now exclusively using electronic cigarettes. The research team wanted to find out if they were just as dependent on their ecigs as they had been on their cigarettes in the past. It turned out that ecigs were far less addictive, but the level of dependence varied depending on the nicotine strength individuals were using and what kind of ecig they preferred. The newer ecig devices seemed to deliver nicotine more effectively and therefore reduced dependence. But even the older cigalikes models led to reduced dependence compared to what people experienced while smoking tobacco cigs.
“People with all the characteristics of a more dependent e-cig user still had a lower e-cig dependence score than their cigarette dependence score,” Foulds explained. “We think this is because they’re getting less nicotine from the e-cigs than they were getting from cigarettes.”
Foulds said that ecigs are not perfect, but they offer a lot of benefits. The key is to avoid dual use and make a total switch to vaping. “It has the potential to do good and help a lot of people quit, but it also has the potential to do harm. Continuing to smoke and use e-cigarettes may not reduce health risks,” he said. “We don’t have long-term health data of e-cig use yet, but any common sense analysis says that e-cigs are much less toxic. And our paper shows that they appear to be much less addictive, as well. So in both measures they seem to have advantages when you’re concerned about health.”
Overall, researchers believe ecigs are offering some amazing benefits to today’s smokers that are brave enough to kick the tobacco habit by vaping. Now the next step is to further develop electronic cigarettes to more effectively reduce the level of dependence. “We might actually need e-cigarettes that are better at delivering nicotine because that’s what’s more likely to help people quit,” Foulds said.
Do you feel like you are highly dependent on your e-cig or are you less tied to vaping than you were to smoking? How has switching to ecigs impacted your personal addiction level?