As a tobacco cessation specialist, I recommend products for quitting tobacco solely based on their effectiveness and safety. I am opposed not only to e-cigarettes but to anything that is being sold as a tobacco cessation aid that doesn’t work.
Failed quit attempts compound tobacco use and addiction. People decide to quit because they have what we call “quit energy.” They think, “Now is a good time,” or “I have to do it now,” or “It’s now or never.”
This “now time” is when they have the optimal support in quitting, including products that can ease the withdrawal from tobacco. I have heard from many people over the years who have tried e-cigarettes, but the product didn’t help them quit tobacco permanently.
Each quit attempt failure preys on the tobacco user’s self-esteem, confidence and ability to try again. Each relapse makes it harder to even think about attempting another quit. This sends the severely addicted out to use more tobacco because that’s the only coping mechanism they have for dealing with their feelings. It is a downward spiral that feeds the addiction, makes people sicker and robs them financially.
E-cigarettes keep people participating in smoking behavior (which is a big part of the addiction), look like cigarettes (therefore encourages others to smoke where it is prohibited), confuse nonsmokers who think someone is smoking in a non-smoking area, and complicate enforcement of the state’s smoking ban.
(Henson is a member of the Tobacco-Free Alliance of Pierce County.)