Habits are difficult to break, because they are automated, like a programmed software running in our unconscious brain. Because they are self-programmed, it makes it difficult. You are essentially fighting against yourself. Addictions, such as to cigarettes / nicotine, are even more difficult because there is a physical withdrawal, in addition to severe craving and habits that have become part of the routine. Cigarette smoking has been proven to be one of the most difficult habits to break, and one of the hardest addiction to overcome.
E-Cigarettes have not been proven as a “smoking cessation” devices, medically, but most smokers who are taking up e-cigarettes are doing so on the assumption that they’re worth a try. They are more of a transference of addiction to a less harmful alternative.
Lauren Odum, a pharmacist at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, recently published a review of the scientific literature on using e-cigarettes to quit smoking. “We came up with a lot of anecdotal evidence from patients saying that these are very helpful, but it’s mostly surveys and the data is skewed, because people who have a positive experience are more likely to report back,” she says. Odum works at a smoking cessation clinic and says that patients have told her that e-cigarettes helped them quit or cut back on regular cigarettes. “One of the reasons that people like them is that they don’t have to stop the smoking habit,” she says. “They still get the hand-to-mouth motion and they still get the nicotine, which is the addictive component.”
- Source: Trends in electronic cigarette use in England, University College London (Updated 4th April 2014)
There is a lot of a lot of dialogue regarding the use of e-cigarettes as a tobacco harm reduction tool. Particularly, this book provides a good overview of tobacco harm reduction.
A recently published New Zealand trial of 657 smokers concluded that a “modest” 7.3% of nicotine e-cigarette users had quit tobacco after six months, compared with 5.8% using a nicotine patch and 4.1% employing an e-cigarette with no nicotine.
- "Harm Reduction in Nicotine Addiction: Helping People Who Can’t Quit. Royal College of Physicians of London. October 2007.
This RCP report makes the case for harm reduction strategies to protect smokers. The report demonstrates that smokers smoke predominantly for nicotine, that nicotine itself is not especially hazardous, and that if nicotine could be provided in a form that is acceptable and effective as a cigarette substitute, millions of lives could be saved. The report also argues that the regulatory systems that currently govern nicotine products in most countries, actively discourage the development, marketing and promotion of significantly safer nicotine products to smokers.
- Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians."