As all smokers know, quitting is challenging and terrifying. It took 25 years of my doctor insisting I quit, before I was able to successfully stop smoking. I tried everything, including cold turkey and prescription medication; nothing worked. I knew I wanted to change my life around for the better.
I walked through a cloud of tutti-frutti smelling smoke the other day, and it got me wondering about e-cigarettes. Are they safe? Are the bad for you? Why do they smell like fruit? So, I spoke with Leslie Gibson, occupational therapist and member of Sunnybrook's Smoking Cessation Committee, to answer some common questions about e-cigarettes.
It is important to know that unlike other types of cancers, lung cancer doesn't show symptoms until in much later stages. This means that by the time an individual begins to notice changes to his or her health, the cancer has significantly advanced, often making treatment more complex. However, there is still hope.
If you are reading this, chances are you are thinking about quitting smoking, or you'd like to find ways to help a loved one quit. And if so, congratulations on taking this first step! Quitting smoking is a journey, not an event. It can take time and require lots of support from family, friends or your healthcare provider.
A study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine addresses an interesting, incremental way to motivate people to butt out: you pay them. In a previous post I've written about both the public and private sector rewarding people for healthy living, including in terms of being more physically active and eating/drinking more nutritiously. Paying people to quit may, at first, seem far fetched. But it is part of a larger movement to implement what are regarded as sound policies without invoking the heavy hand of the state: regulating lite.
So when no evidence exists to show that e-cigarettes are safe for long-term use by humans, when laboratory studies demonstrate worrisome potential physiological risks, and when strong evidence is mounting that e-cigarettes are leading our youth to consider smoking tobacco cigarettes, I would contend that caution here is the only reasonable approach.