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Research in the Annual Review of Public Health says e-cigs are more satisfying compared to nicotine patches and gum, while also being less harmful. Meanwhile, another recent study in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology found that after two years of continual e-cigarette use, smokers reduced their nicotine withdrawal symptoms and exposure to toxic cigarette smoke.
E-cigarettes are at least 90 percent less harmful than cigarettes, says Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D., a professor of public health sciences and psychiatry who studies smokers and tobacco addiction at Penn State University. “Cigarette smoke contains 7,000 chemicals including dozens of carcinogens and tar which accumulates in your lungs and blocks your airways." While e-cigarette vapor isn’t harmless, "it has maybe 10 to 20 chemicals in it and doesn’t produce tar,” he explains.
While they can help wean you off of traditional smokes, they’re not necessarily the best way to quit entirely. “Since e-cigarettes are considered therapeutic and not medicinal, they aren’t regulated by the FDA, so we don’t have a head-to-head comparison on how well they work to help people quit smoking. But we do have FDA-approved medicines shown to be safe and effective for helping smokers quit entirely,” Foulds explains.
Talk to your doc about FDA-approved aids, suggests Foulds. However, if you opt for e-cigarettes, make sure you use a real vape pen with a button heater. The disposable kind doesn't deliver enough nicotine to give you a fix and will leave you craving regular cigarettes, he points out.