Bad habits are sad addictions. Some expend mental capacity, like rumination, while others expend physical health, like smoking. Smoking (particularly, of the cigarette variety) is well known for its potential lethal effects, but the practice persists among different populations. These populations are not all are staunch smoking enthusiasts, and include some who feel they should quit for their and others’ health. Yet, some just can’t stop.

Industries are built around this addiction, along with many others, permitting a rich man to be made from another’s miseries. There are industries that conjure up alternatives to this smoking with a thin promise of destabilizing cigarette addictions. E-cigarettes are one such example.   They take advantage of the cigarette’s addictive properties and transpose them onto a “milder” behaviour, one that supports an e-cigarette’s bottom line.

There are varieties of e-cigarettes that do not use nicotine, but many, if not most, still use the substance. Nicotine’s addictive and stimulant properties render it a toxic substance. Paradoxically, it is also used in patches to reduce the need for smoking as the craving is alleviated through the skin.  It remains a viable way to help quit smoking, despite its ironic use of one addiction to treat another.

Whether with nicotine or not, e-cigarettes were originally touted as a means for weaning people off of cigarettes. There are some studies to support this notion: adult smokers may stop smoking after using e-cigarettes to help them quit, but only if the e-cigarettes completely replace other smoking habits. As more research is done, it’s becoming clearer that e-cigarettes promote their own health problems and mustn’t be seen as a quick fix to a long ordeal.

E-cigarette addictions are common.  E-cigarettes still contain nicotine and other toxins readily inhaled by the user. Non-smokers shouldn’t look to them as a “healthier” option for a hit. Teenagers and kids should not look to them as safe mock-ups of the real thing. Their glossy exterior distracts many from its reality.  E-cigarettes may smoke out old demons, but introduces new ones along the way.

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