Quitting smoking quite literally adds years to your life. Around half of all lifelong smokers will die prematurely, losing on average about 10 years of life. This doesn’t mean that it’s too late to quit, however. It is a common misconception that after many years as a smoker there’s ‘no point’ in quitting, because, actually, every cigarette smoked reduces the smoker’s life by an estimated 11 minutes. So if an average smoker - smoking 11 cigarettes a day - stopped smoking then they would save 30 days of their life a year. It is never too late or too unachievable, particularly now that we have a more effective form of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT): e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes work by heating up a liquid to produce a vapour, which is then smoked by the user. The idea is that, over time, e-cigarettes should completely replace the smoking of tobacco cigarettes. If you continuously reduce your intake of nicotine then you can even wean yourself off of e-cigarettes and be nicotine free. It’s important not to take too big a step or too little a one when making the switch, for the former could result in a bad relapse and the latter will not lead to much progress. The liquid comes in various strengths of nicotine ranging from 0-24mg to help you regulate your intake and create viable goals. On top of this, there are a variety of e-liquid flavours which add a lot of fun to the process and eliminate the smell of smoke; these include custard, apple strudel and cornflakes.
E-cigarettes are a relatively new technology so, the long-term effects of smoking them (vaping) cannot be known. Public Health England said that they are not risk-free, but are estimated to be 95% less harmful than tobacco cigarettes. They have also said that if every smoker switched to e-cigarettes, the amount of people dying from smoking would be reduced to 4,000 a year. These figures are estimates, but estimates contrived by the best experts on the subject in the world. The vapour from e-cigarettes contains nicotine, propylene glycol and/or glycerin, and flavourings, whereas tobacco smoke contains over 4000 chemicals, at least 43 of which are carcinogenic. The most prominent toxins in cigarette smoke are tar and carbon monoxide, which, respectively, damage our lungs and reduce the oxygen travelling throughout the bloodstream. E-cigarettes don’t contain either of these. Which one would you rather be inhaling?
In the UK, smoking is the primary cause of preventable illness and premature death, being responsible for around 96,000 deaths a year. It costs our NHS approximately £2 billion a year and the average 20-a-day smoker £3000 a year. The reasons to quit just keep piling up. Remember, every cigarette damages your health. Switching even every other cigarette to an e-cigarette will have dramatically positive effects on your health and is a step in the right direction to quitting altogether.