Sioux Falls, SD
For people who are trying to quit smoking, replacing the habit with a new habit may be the answer to kicking the habit for good.
That's why many smokers turn to e-cigs as an alternative to cigarettes.
An e-cigarette, commonly known as "vaping" is one way to feed your nicotine fix without the lighter.
Because the act is so similar to smoking a cigarette, many people turn to e-cigs to help them quit.
"In very appropriate patients, patients who are committed to quitting smoking, they help. They help transition from the smoke with all the carcinogens," Sanford Health Dr. Tomasz Stys said.
Vaping e-cigs can also act like a traditional cigarette including holding something to your mouth, inhaling and blowing vapor out. Only some e-cigs contain nicotine which can cause the body to crave more of it.
"We still have to remember it's nicotine. Nicotine is not good for us. It raises your blood pressure. It elevates your heart rate; some patients may feel palpitations. It can cause significant side effects," Stys said.
So, while e-cigs can be used as a transition tool to help smokers quit, doctors say you shouldn't necessarily assume that an e-cigarette is a healthy alternative.
"You're still inhaling, introducing substances into your lungs that are not necessarily healthy for you," Stys said.
In fact, some research has shown that the vapors in e-cigs can potentially cause gum disease and may lower your immune response. So if you're motivated to quit smoking, e-cigs may be able to help. But doctors say you should also keep in mind that it is only a lesser evil that can still take a toll on your health.
If you or someone you know is trying to quit smoking, it's important to talk with your doctor to decide on a plan made specifically for you. For more information about what resources are available to you when deciding to quit, click here.
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