Traditional aids suffer, smokers spark up e-cigs to quit
NEW YROK: When Marty Weinstein decided to quit smoking, he took a friend’s advice and tried electronic cigarettes rather than government-approved nicotine replacement products.
Weinstein, 58, has gone from a pack a day nine months ago to the equivalent in nicotine of four or five cigarettes. The e-cigs have a familiar look and feel, and quench his desire to hold on to a cigarette and puff.
“I fully understand I’m still addicted to nicotine,” said Weinstein, a Connecticut taxi driver who had smoked for more than 20 years. “But I’m now so much healthier.”
E-cigarettes, metal tubes that heat liquids typically laced with nicotine and deliver vapor when sucked, are transforming the market for smoking cessation products and slowing the $2.4 billion in global sales of long-standing aids such as nicotine patches and gums. But their impact on health remains unclear, experts say, raising difficult questions for regulators who are starting to impose limits on e-cigarette use.
E-cigarette makers in the United States are barred from explicitly marketing the products as smoking cessation devices, but have found ways to appeal legally to smokers who are thinking of quitting.
“You never say ‘quit’ because it’s not approved by the FDA as a smoking cessation device,” said Jose Castro, the chief executive of A1 Vapors in Miami, referring to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
A1 Vapors runs an ad on its website urging customers to “kiss tobacco goodbye” and give themselves the “gift of your life. literally”, adding a disclaimer that e-cigs are not a smoking cessation product.
E-cigarettes, or e-cigs, have only come into widespread use in the past few years, but have already made inroads into traditional quitting therapies.
About a third of British smokers trying to quit were using e-cigarettes, according to a University College London survey in January of 1,800 people, including 450 smokers.