back to article E-cigarettes help you quit – but may not keep you alive

A five-year study by University College London suggests that e-cigarettes may, in fact, help people quit. Between 2009 and 2014, the researchers at UCL, with funding from Cancer Research UK, surveyed more than 5,800 smokers who'd tried to quit without either prescription medications or professional support. The sample size …


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  1. Grifter

    Worked fine for me.

    Smoked for 14 1/2 years, found out about ecigs early december 2010, researched like crazy for a week, ordered my kit, got it in the mail 29th december, smoke free since then. Eventually I stopped using my ecig as well, I take it out on occasion for sentimental reasons.

    Unlike the cold-turkey quitters of smoking, I have no problems with smelling cigg smoke, infact I still enjoy catching the occasional whiff (just not the cloud inside small compact area without ventilation -- but then again I couldn't stand that even when I was smoking myself).

    When I switched to vaping it changed from a compulsion to hobby, in the beginning I was vaping constantly because I enjoyed the hell out of it thoroughly, I failed at blowing smoke rings with cigs, but with vaping I had so much fun with that, and they were huge rings too!

    Like I mentioned, eventually I reached for it less and less. Nowadays I liken it to a bag of chips or candy, something you can have every once in a while for some enjoyment.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Worked fine for me.

      Never had a problem with cigarette smoke when quitting cold turkey, I suspect you may have been using the e-cig incorrectly, especially if you got a huge ring though I appreciate it takes all colours of the rainbow...

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    There is a problem with these in the USA.

    The problem is becoming one of availability as more and more cities (soon to be followed by states) ban them. The given reasons are it's not healthy and/or there's the political correctness of it.

    The real reason seems to be what occurred when they first started getting popular. The states and feds couldn't tax them and still can't. The wording of the law is for "tobacco" not "nicotine". The Customs Department couldn't level duties on the products due to the law's wording and shipments were held up in the ports for weeks. They are now allowed in, but no duty is collected.

    Congress and the state legislatures haven't seen fit to change the wording yet and probably won't since the tobacco industry has such a large lobbying industry in DC and the various state capitols, that the stuff will never be taxed. If it can't be taxed, it can't be legal, so the logic seems and people will have to rely on real tobacco.

    Disclaimer: I'm a smoker and trying to quit using the vapes. I've cut down radically but still like my after-dinner cig. (the real one, not the vape). My doctor believes I've done the right thing as my lungs are clear. He also thinks it's the tar and smoke not the nicotine that's the problem with cigarettes.

    1. frank ly

      Re: There is a problem with these in the USA.

      I refill the cartridges of the 'real cig lookalikes' and a 30ml bottle of e-juice lasts me two weeks. If any government did try taxing them then there would be massive smuggling of this liquid.

      As you said, the problem with e-cigs, from the government's point of view, is that they lead to a reduction in tax revenue; from the wealthy and influential tobacco companies' point of view it's a reduction in profits. It's not just the people who smoke/vape who are addicted, it's entire governments of major nations.

      1. Dr. Mouse

        Re: There is a problem with these in the USA.

        from the government's point of view, is that they lead to a reduction in tax revenue; from the wealthy and influential tobacco companies' point of view it's a reduction in profits

        I agree that these are two of the three most affected industries, but you forget the third: Pharmaceutical companies. They are loosing out big-time on NRT products.

        1. Down not across Silver badge

          Re: There is a problem with these in the USA.

          I agree that these are two of the three most affected industries, but you forget the third: Pharmaceutical companies. They are loosing out big-time on NRT products.

          Quite. NRT is just as, if not more, expensive than smoking.

          E-cigs on the other hand appeal also to people who (initially) might just be after saving some money.

          After initial period most are likely to notice difference in not inhaling all the tar etc and quite likely to stay on e-cigs or even quit altogether.

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: There is a problem with these in the USA.

        As you said, the problem with e-cigs, from the government's point of view, is that they lead to a reduction in tax revenue

        But have a much larger reduction in healthcare expenditure. Why else would governments spend so much money on persuading people to quit?

        Don't let me spoil your conspiracy theories, though.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: There is a problem with these in the USA. @Phil O'Sophical

          You are assuming that government is joined up and the left hand knows what the right hand is doing...

          We can expect governments to complain because tax revenues are down this year, but that health expenditure remains high. Because the healthcare benefits will only occur some years down the road, we can expect there to be no actual savings to be had from healthcare expenditure as it will have been quietly reallocated and spent elsewhere. Remember this was the classic problem of BPR in the late 90's where the forecasted savings didn't materialise and everyone overlooked all the new stuff the company was doing which it wasn't a few years previously...

        2. James Micallef Silver badge

          Re: There is a problem with these in the USA.

          "But have a much larger reduction in healthcare expenditure"

          Governments DO have to spend more on healthcare expenditure on smokers, BUT they save a boatload in pensions since smokers die younger. As far as I know a UK study showed that this difference nets in the governments favour for smokers (ie governments are financially better off spending more on smokers' healthcare and less on pensions). Of course this balance will be different in different countries depending on healthcare and pension systems - I guess in US where healthcare is more privatised, smokers quitting would have a huge detrimental effect on the Treasury as healthcare savings will be private while increased pension payments are public.

        3. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: There is a problem with these in the USA.

          Seriously? You believe that? Smokers die with minimal treatment. Diabetics on the other hand eat up big money in drugs, surgeries, kidney dialysis, etc. before they go. I worked for a health insurance company and they preferred smokers (even though they rated them up for premiums) since they cost so little compared to other ailments.

          As for persuading people to quit... follow the money. There's some very powerful lobbies in the USA do play the political correctness and "think of the children" card. Government has a problem. They love the tax revenue but have to go along with the voters and the hate smoking crowd.

  3. Matt Gerrish

    e-Cigs are not for quitting

    This is a common misconception with e-Cigs. They are not, and have never been a device to help quit smoking.

    In order to be a quit smoking device, they would need to be classed as a medicine, which they are not. Simply put, they are an alternative to smoking lit tobacco.

    I've been using ecigs exclusively for approx. 2 years now. I am however, still a smoker in every sense aside from the part that involves tobacco (and the lungs)

    The problem being faced currently by ecigs goes beyond that of government & tax. There's also the fact that big pharma is getting more than a little upset by people choosing to switch to e-cigs and forgo the traditional NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) approach.

    Then there's the lack of understanding in the wider sphere as to what vaping actually is...

    1. Anonymous Coward 101

      Re: e-Cigs are not for quitting

      "This is a common misconception with e-Cigs. They are not, and have never been a device to help quit smoking."

      Indeed. It is little known that old non-smoking tobacco (e.g. snuff) is untaxed in this country, and hasn't been for decades in an effort to help people switch to a less harmful method.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: e-Cigs are not for quitting

      To be pedantic, e-cigs can be used as a way of giving up smoking, but they don't help to give up ones nicotine habit.

      Still, if it's a choice between nicotine plus burning plant material, or just nicotine, The latter sounds preferable.

      >>>>>>>>> surprised you can't get an e-cig shaped like a pipe

      1. Shinku

        Re: e-Cigs are not for quitting

        "surprised you can't get an e-cig shaped like a pipe"

        You can actually, quite a number in fact, in many different styles of pipe. Something the smoker with a more traditional taste in nicotine delivery devices. Some of them look pretty good in my opinion, too.

        As for the "is it a quit aid?" question, it's tricky. Some would say that yes, ecigs do help people to stop smoking tobacco and therefore are a quit aid, and it's not unreasonable to state that ecigs do in fact help many people to stop using traditional tobacco. However, there's a game of semantics being played within the political discussion.

        If a product is advertised as a quitting aid then it is a medical product, it is accepted to be a product designed, marketed and sold for the express purpose of helping those who are medically considered to be addicted to nicotine and therefore tobacco. This would include nicotine gum, patches, sprays, inhalators, pills, etc.

        If a product is designed to perform this task, it becomes a medical product, a drug which attempts to remedy what is perceived to be an illness (which in my opinion is untrue, smoking is not an illness, it's a personal choice, albeit arguably ill-advised). If a product is deemed to be medical, it requires medical authorisation, it must be subjected to many expensive tests and clinical trials. Each product or variation of a product must undergo this testing, at huge expense each time.

        In ecig terms, this would stifle innovation and cripple the ecig market. 99.9% of ecig products aren't medicinal in nature, they don't intend to be and don't claim to be. If they were, each flavour, strength and device combination would require extremely expensive medical authorisation.

        This means that 18mg tobacco, 24mg tobacco, 30mg tobacco, 18mg menthol, 24mg menthol and 30mg menthol would require SIX different approvals. This is not viable for the ecig market at this time. The only companies which could afford to do this are big pharmaceutical companies and big tobacco companies. The smaller manufacturers and vendors which comprise a large section of the current market, would be wiped off the face of the planet with zero hope of competing.

        It's problematic because the choice of flavours, strengths and methods of atomising the liquid are what make ecigs so successful. If I only had the option of an ecig shaped like a cigarette marketed by Nicorette or an ecig shaped like a cigarette marketed by [some other nicotine replacement therapy company], I'd be a lot less enthralled with the concept. I would have little to no flavours or strengths to choose from, which is likely to mean that I don't enjoy the few very specific flavours they provide, and the nicotine contents they choose to sell may not be to my taste either.

        Each delivery device may also require authorisation too, this would result in only "first generation" (cigarette-shaped) devices being available. In practical terms, this means poor battery life, poor liquid capacity and poor vapour production. Each cartridge would be subject to further restrictions, requiring dosage control, and almost certainly would prevent consumer refilling, thereby further raising the cost to the user.

        So that long winded waffling ultimately means this - ecigs are not, and cannot be, medical products. If they were, they would essentially become near useless, overpriced, crippled, unpleasant and more difficult to purchase. This CANNOT happen if ecigs are to be successful in reducing the number of people who use traditional tobacco.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: e-Cigs are not for quitting

        "To be pedantic, e-cigs can be used as a way of giving up smoking, but they don't help to give up ones nicotine habit."

        They can. Once you stop buying the terrible off-the-shelf ones and start buying the liquid yourself, it becomes trivial to control the concentration of nicotine in the vapour. Start out on something strong like 18 or 24mg/ml, then dial it down over the course of months. The habit is exactly the same - you can still stand around belting out strawberry-flavoured smoke rings, but before long, if you really want to, it can be completely nicotine free juice.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon

          Re: e-Cigs are not for quitting

          I used them to quit back in 2000 and was using non-nicotine flavoured inserts.

          I just didn't like the taste if nicotine was present, but it allowed me to deal with the physical withdrawal separately from the psychological withdrawal (which was actually greater in my case).

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon

            Re: e-Cigs are not for quitting

            "I used them to quit back in 2000"

            This is not correct, since they didn't come out until 2007, so I must have quit without them.

            Is a side-effect of quitting smoking memory loss?

      3. Remus4271e

        Re: e-Cigs are not for quitting

        No need to be surprised. E-pipes are available in a large number of shops in a large number of varieties (single, dual and triple cartomizer as well as tank models).

      4. AstroNutter

        Re: e-Cigs are not for quitting

        "surprised you can't get an e-cig shaped like a pipe"

        Sure you can, I saw one a few months back.

        1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: Re: e-Cigs are not for quitting


          Ooooh, shots fired!


      5. Martijn Otto

        Re: e-Cigs are not for quitting

        They do actually help. When you smoke a cigarette, you finish it, because throwing away half a cigarette is wasteful. This makes it hard to reduce the amount you smoke, because it'll be an entire cigarette each time. With an e-cig, you can easily reduce the amount slowly.

        Also, you can choose how much nicotine is in the mixture, so you can slowly alter that to lean more and more towards the "just water" side. This way you tackle the physical addiction first (while still "smoking" water vapor) to then slowly reduce that as well (or not: water vapor won't hurt you).

    3. phil dude
      IT Angle

      Re: e-Cigs are not for quitting

      I am not sure I can see how this is always true?

      I know a number of friends who have explicitly started on Dose A of nicotine and worked their way down to zero. I had always assumed that was their purpose.... Being designated "medical" doesn't really enter into it, although it would seem perverse to prescribe it...

      then again, I had heard it also got around "no smoking" rules in restaurants and such...

      Ok carry on, as you were...


  4. Valeyard


    I smoked for 10 or so years, started vaping last march and haven't had a real tab since then, so that's over a year

    VASTLY cheaper, i can do it in the house and my wife doesn't complain about the cigarette smell anymore.

    It really is a no-brainer

    But if the government isn't taxing them and the tobacco lobbyists are fighting against them because they missed out on jumping on there early then of course every spurious reason under the sun will be uttered

    I believe they're going to have a revolutionary benefit to the health of the nation as a whole

    although with less smokers dying prematurely and able to collect their pensions and less tobacco tax, the government might have to actually find a way of sustaining itself

    1. Charles Manning

      "less tobacco tax and less premature deaths..."

      and less sick people choking up the NHS.

      It would be interesting to do a complete financial breakdown from a govt perspective. - just pure numbers without the sentimental aspects.

      Does premature death (therefore less pension etc) and less excise taxes add up to more than the added healthcare costs?

      1. Valeyard

        Re: "less tobacco tax and less premature deaths..."

        not to defend smoking, but smokers are net contributors yeah

        If the NHS being gummed up is our big issue then it's alcohol you wanna go after...

        1. M_W

          Re: "less tobacco tax and less premature deaths..."

          Totally agree. And having a significant other who works for the NHS, the amount of time A&E spend dealing with pissed up people on a Saturday night is unbelievable.

          Although the stats are interesting.

          Alcohol related issues cost the NHS £3.5Bn in 2011-2012.

          Smoking related issues reputedly cost the NHS £5.2bn in 2009

          I can't seem to find the stats for the same year, but they must be around.

          But even more than that is fixing obese people which apparently costs the NHS £6bn a year. Thus the current campaign on healthy eating.

          I do wonder if these may be circles in the same Venn diagram - how much crossover or double or tripe counting is there between these three figures? There's a likely potential that a fat, smoking alcoholic will be counted three times?

          Nonetheless, vaping must be much less carcinogenic than traditional smoking. I'm all for it.

          I'm also an Ex smoker - smoked around 10 Marlboro lights a day for 14 years, till I quit 14 years ago, almost to the day. I quit by buying 200 fags duty-free after a holiday, sitting at a party, drinking shedloads and binge smoking the entire carton, and made myself very sick. Never touched one again!

      2. Anonymous Coward 101

        Re: "less tobacco tax and less premature deaths..."

        "It would be interesting to do a complete financial breakdown from a govt perspective. - just pure numbers without the sentimental aspects."

        This has been done. Smokers die younger, but that means they don't claim pensions as much nor die of dementia later. Overall, I think the evidence is persuasive that smoking is a economic benefit to the economy.

  5. king of foo


    If you want to quit smoking then quit cold turkey. It's not "easy" but far from impossible. I smoked for 15 years >= 20 a day then decided to wake up one morning and never smoke again. That was a good 4 years ago now.

    If you can't do this then you don't want it enough. That's OK, I'm not going to judge. It's your life and your choice.

    These e-cigs look like the perfect answer for ALL smokers, whether they want to quit or not. If I still smoked I would have moved from tobacco to these purely for the health benefits.

    1. Valeyard

      Re: Nike

      I've done cold turkey, lasted 6 months.

      But one night you'll get drunk, and when EVERYONE seemingly has an inexhaustible supply of smokes and is adamant you take one, it's easy to wear down eventually and that's that

      On a night out i just carry a spare battery and a small bottle of e-liquid and i can still socialise with friends and not be constantly prodded with offers of tabs

      and sure we CAN go cold turkey, but if this is easier and more enjoyable then why not?

      i CAN have a bath with cold water every morning, but I have this lovely piece of technology in the form of a boiler that makes it something i can enjoy instead of endure

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nike

        If you friends are so adamant you start smoking again by plying you with cigs, when they clearly know you are attempting to stop, perhaps you shouldn't be going out with them. After all, they seem to be trying to kill you.

    2. Grifter

      Re: Nike

      >> If you can't do this then you don't want it enough.

      Dude that's really harsh, I once tried quitting cold turkey, I went without ciggs for 2 months and I was a nervous wreck the entire time and I had a constant yearning for a drag, and after 2 months I was back on it anyway.

      Switched to vaping, and it took the compulsion away completely over time. I completely bypassed the difficulty of cold-turkey quitting. If that's not 'manly' enough for you or whatever, then maybe you need to confront your own masochism.

    3. Slef

      Re: Nike


      I am pleased that you were able to stop smoking instantly. However; you are falling into an age old trap that just because you were able to do something then everybody else should be able to as well. Unfortunately the world is not that simple and you are judging others by stating "If you can't do this then you don't want it enough" .

      I have tried the cold turkey approach in the past on three occasions and it did not work. On the last day of June last year I had my last fag and have not had even so much as a drag since then. I smoked for approximately forty years and at much higher levels than you. I now use a vaping machine and have no set target as to when or if I am going to wean myself of it

      One difference is that I do not think that ecigs are the answer for all smokers, but that for many they work! and for that reason I am very keen to see that they are not medicalised by big business or regulated by the state.

      My missus would say it is the best thing that I have done in years ;-)

      1. Fink-Nottle

        Re: Nike

        > My missus would say it is the best thing that I have done in years ;-)

        I was a lifelong twenty-a-day smoker. I tried on numerous occasions to quit, but always failed. Five years ago my partner, who had never smoked a cigarette in her life, was diagnosed with lung cancer.

        I went cold turkey on the same day she had a lobe of her lung removed, and haven't smoked since. As you can imagine, the realisation that my habit may well have seriously - nearly fatally - harmed a loved-one was sufficient motivation to stop smoking.

        After being exposed to the hard realities of lung cancer I would never consider inhaling anything for pleasure. However, for those who enjoy the smoking habit, at least ecigs reduce the second hand risk involved.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon

          Re: Nike

          In defence of the OP I tried to quit on numerous occasions for various different reasons, in the end (and in retrospect) the difference between failing to quit and actually quitting was a decision that was made that I considered irrevocable. In other words, making a choice and fully committing to it.

          However, the tricks your mind plays on you to undermine your choices cannot be underestimated, especially when it is addicted to a class-A drug.

          1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

            Re: Nike

            Not sure about tobacco being class-A drug but I totally agree with the OP and Sir Spoon - if you are trying to quit on your own then - a) you must make a firm decision (you won't be able to make it without wanting it very hard) and b) do it all or nothing (no chance of success if you will try to do it gradually).

            In my experience the hardest was the month #3, after that it became a done deal for me...

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon

              Re: Nike

              "Not sure about tobacco being class-A drug"

              I've often heard that nicotine is as addictive as a class A drug, but it is classified as C as far as I am aware

      2. king of foo

        Re: Nike

        Wow - strong opinions. 'Nike' was a reference to 'victory' and 'just do it' by the way... and intended to reinforce my opinion that everyone is strong enough to beat (nicotine) addiction, they just need self belief and a little tough love. I'd score myself somewhere between hopeless and useless (thanks dad) so if I can quit cold turkey then ANYONE can. No really, I'm pond scum. Ask anyone.

        Ignore the BS spewed by pharma and tobacco companies, which appears to have evolved into urban legend; it's not that difficult to sit on your arse and NOT do something. Your boss manages that trick every day. Ignore everyone else, including me. You are all that counts and you are strong enough to quit.

        I wasn't intending to come across as judgemental or to put people down that have tried and couldn't kick the habit right away. The reality of the situation is that it is you sucking that poison and it's only you that can stop yourself from doing it, so you really need to want to quit - and that want has to be stronger than the fake "need" that your body is telling you. If your body wins then, well, that's what I meant by not wanting it enough. There's nothing else to it; drink as much snake oil as you want, it won't change this.

        Or, become a "vaper"; hopefully you'll live a longer and healthier life (until someone finds a link between "vaping" and "arse cancer" that is - ha).

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Who is selling them?

          At least one International Tobacco company is selling them.

          I don't know if this is good or bad.

    4. noominy.noom

      Re: Nike

      @king of foo

      Re: Nike

      Can't entirely agree with the first sentence of the second paragraph "If you can't do this then you don't want it enough." It worked for me. I quit (before e-cigs were around) after much internal reflection. I decided that I would always have an excuse. Something big would happen at work, or at home, or whatever. I decided that I didn't care about the consequences. If I got irritable and spouted off at work and lost my job, so be it. Of course nothing that drastic happened. But the point was I decided I wanted to quit and the social aspects and whatever other mind tricks I could play on myself were not going to deter me. But I can't entirely agree with the statement because I know we are all individuals and have different values and different viewpoints.

      I will say that had e-cigs been around I would certainly have tried them. And even if I retained the nicotine habit, that would be preferable to the smoking habit.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I read an article detailing how the Welsh 'government' wanted to ban eCigs here because they normalised smoking.

    I'm so glad the Welsh 'government' is careful to look after my thoughts as well as my freedoms.

  7. Big_Boomer Silver badge


    Some people are "deeper" addicts than others. To just state that you found it easy (or easier) to go cold turkey is one persons view. Others find it extremely difficult. I have smoked for 36 years and have gone cold turkey 3 times in the past,...and every time I lapsed. For me cold turkey doesn't work. Have now been vaping for 2 weeks and while the taste and experience is not the same it's close enough. In a few weeks I will be moving to low nicotine liquid and will use that for a few weeks. After that I will switch to zero nicotine liquid and see how I get on. Hopefully I will soon be an ex-smoker but for most of us we are only ONE cigarette away from being an addict again so I will keep a zero nicotine vaper close at hand. I do have friends who have the occasional (1 per month) cigarette but I have never been able to do that. As for the contribution, my understanding is that smokers are still net contributors to the UK governments finances, but the margin is decreasing. Personally I am looking forward to having an extra £240 per month in my pocket. With the vapers am currently saving half that compared to tobacco cigarettes.

    1. Grifter

      Re: Addicts

      That's exactly what I did, I started out with a high nicotine liquid to try it out, and found that I didn't need such a high amount at all, gradually went down in nicotine (and subsequently I found that I could actually vape more with less nicotine in it, which, I discovered is what I really enjoyed, just dragging in and blowing out huge clouds of vapour -- but if you do that with high nic you'll get a headache =P), until I was vaping zero nic.

      Doing this is what made me realize something that I had never questioned before, intellectually I knew nic is just a stimulant like caffeine for example, it's supposed to make you a bit more hyper, but when I smoked ciggs it wasn't to get hyper, it was to relax, at the time I smoked I asked myself this but dismissed it and forgot about it. When I started vaping and encountered pure nic I remembered again, and that's when I learned what /other/ mind-altering crap they put in ciggs, like antidepressants. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Wtf.

      But I digress, good luck on continuing your two weeks, vape on!

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon

        Re: Addicts

        "but when I smoked ciggs it wasn't to get hyper, it was to relax"

        Just an fyi, but a stimulant causing relaxation can be indicative of ADHD and can be considered to be a 'self-medicating' habit. Obviously a host of other factors are involved too.

        When I was finally diagnosed with ADHD and the Dr. was asking me about early drug use etc. I mentioned that I once did some speed with a friend, and whilst he went off to town off his tits, I went to sleep. His response was that that was 'diagnostic' - in other words a clear indication (apart from all the other stuff) that I did indeed have ADHD.

        I am never more relaxed than when I have copious amounts of stimulants running through my veins, especially adrenaline. I remember racing a motorbike around Snetterton and going round the outside of some of the faster bikes in the corners, my head was probably about 6 inches from their chain and I remember how peaceful and calm I felt - I noticed lots of little details whilst still managing to exit the corner safely (and in front ;) ) of the other riders.

        Unfortunately I was only riding a Fazer600 and they were on R6's so they soon left me on the straight.

        1. Old Handle

          Re: Addicts

          What you say about ADHD and stimulants is true, but it's fairly well known that nicotine has both stimulant and relaxant effects. Which seems strange, but presumably that's part of what makes it such a popular drug.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon

            Re: Addicts

            I went on to do a little more digging about nicotine and it seems that in small doses (someone who takes a few drags on a ciggie in the morning for example) will experience the stimulant effect, whereas someone smoking more will start to feel the relaxant effects.

  8. Mr Templedene

    We know the government never pays attention to scientific evidence. I got my e-cig 1st November 2013

    I've not bought tobacco since, and not scrounged a single cig off anyone else either. In the first few weeks I smoked "real" tobacco a few times, the first week was a changeover thing, then a couple more times when I ran out of juice.

    This year I have been completely tobacco free.

    It does seem there are other motives behind wanting to ban or heavily regulate e-cigs.

  9. Cliff

    Wrong audience

    We probably approach this pragmatically as engineers - cheaper, doesn't smell, less harmful, no passive problems, result! Alas there are some people who approach them on some sort of crusade against things that bear a visual similarity to smoking for no better reason than 'think of the children'

    Vaping looks kinda silly, it's not shown in film or TV as 'cool', has no image of rebellion, it's actually a great tool to tide over a generation as those below are unlikely to emulate. I really really hope those idiots don't get their way and block the most successful and least harmful alternative to something nobody wants anyway.

    1. fridaynightsmoke
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Wrong audience

      The meme of "well it looks like smoking" despite the lack of fumes, butts and (probably) adverse health effects is utterly stupid. People might as well rail against electric cars because "hurr it looks like an ordinary car".

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon

        Re: Wrong audience

        "has no image of rebellion"

        Until they ban it of course, and then it will be all kinds of desirable.

  10. stu 4

    Study makes no sense

    Maybe the full study does, but the summaries on their page make no sense whatsoever.

    It sounds like a massive subgroup analysis which is completely invalid by any basic stats methods.

  11. ukgnome

    I quit with e-Cigs (sorta)

    It's been over a year since I bought a packet of tabs or some baccy.....yay go me.

    However, I do vape, it's like my pal, he's always with me and I like to suck on him.... OK maybe I should try that again...

    I replaced my 20 - 40 a day habit with a PVD and not an e-Cig, I found the ones that look like a cigarette a bit pointless. So I invested in a normal looking refillable vape pipe. The thing is I din't stop there, mainly because of the modding community. So now I vape what can only be described as a hybrid mix of sonic screwdriver and wizard wand. It looks more star trek than cigarette. And I didn't stop there, I also mix my own juices using confectionery flavours and have saved about £50 by buying my PG and VG from a chemical factory that produces food grade additives. So what I hear you say, and I totally agree with you, so what indeed. The thing is I understand the the need for regulation, as the flavours are all food grade, you have to be careful what you out into your body. And I have actually quit smoking? No and Yes....I inhale my nicotine in a whisp of vapor rather than breathe in a toxic soup. The only smoke I inhale is a particular plant matter, and I do that through - yep you guessed it, a dry herb vaporiser that fits a few of my wizard wands.

  12. stu 4

    'vaping' == drug paraphernalia

    I think watching these 'vapers' is hilarious.

    they play with all the little bits just like they used to play with their fags or rollups - waiting for the train. etc to stop and they can get of for a 'fix'.

    some of the kits cater for this need to 'fiddle' with complicated designs, etc.

    I want to see one come out, where you pore your vape crap onto a tea-spoon, heat it up with a lighter and inhale the crap with a straw.

    Drug addicts plain and simple.

    1. Valeyard

      Re: 'vaping' == drug paraphernalia

      I bet you're really fun and popular at parties

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'vaping' == drug paraphernalia

      All you need is a straw a lighter and teaspoon, On you go, Personally I prefer to add hashish to my smoking mix and vola an E-Doobie :)

      1. Tom 11

        Re: 'vaping' == drug paraphernalia

        @AC re: added extra.

        Sorry dude, that does not work. You have to boil the active herb component in alcohol, filter the gunge, reduce it down, filter it again on a 2nd boil off run and then mix it with the PG / VG and you need a huge quantity for it to work, so therefore, it's never done.

    3. Malc

      Re: 'vaping' == drug paraphernalia

      Because drugs are bad, m'kay.

    4. Bodhi

      Re: 'vaping' == drug paraphernalia

      I sense much condescension and anger, let me guess - haven't had your morning coffee yet?

      Purely anecdotally I know many people who have switched from tobacco to vaping, and all are finding health and financial benefits, and are all tobacco free. Unfortunately I still like to taste of a Marlboro Red too much, so am using a job that has a lot of international travel to buy them in countries where they are slightly more reasonable priced. I do have an e-cigs for times when smoking isn't possible/advisable (long haul flights, before customer rmeetings, when ill etc), and it certainly beats any of the NRT's available, I'd still rather have a cig however.

      However banning them would be silly considering how helpful they are for people wanting to quit. The lack of tax and the possibility they are allowing the cake to be both possessed and consumed are factors here imo, not any spurious health dangers.

    5. Peter Storm

      Re: 'vaping' == drug paraphernalia

      Equating vaping with the use of class A drugs is ridiculous.

      Completely different things, a bit like "pore" and "pour".

    6. Anonymous Coward 101

      Re: 'vaping' == drug paraphernalia

      I bet it would be possible to mainline the stuff. Nicotine is meant to give you powerful hallucinations in higher doses than smoking, and of course it is a lethal poison with higher doses still.

      In fact, it's a certainty someone will kill themselves through vaping stupidity.

    7. Shinku

      Re: 'vaping' == drug paraphernalia

      I take it you don't drink coffee, then? It's beginning to be said that nicotine is more or less equivalent to caffeine, it's a mild stimulant which in itself does no real harm. Where''s the problem in a non-problematic "addiction"?

      Besides, what's wrong with just ENJOYING it? It tastes nice, it's a pleasant sensation, I'm not climbing the walls if I can't have a vape right here, right now, but as long as I'm able why would I do myself out of something I find I like doing? What of people who use nicotine-free liquid?

      Nobody has to drink coffee. (Why doesn't everybody switch to decaf? Are they addicts too?)

      Nobody has to drink alcohol. (Why doesn't everybody switch to Kaliber or Panda Shandy? Addicts?)

      Nobody has to drink [Coke|Pepsi]. (Why doesn't everybody switch to water? Must be addicted.)

      If you choose to do none of those things then that's entirely up to you, I'm not going to tell you what you should/shouldn't/can/can't put in your body, and I would wager that smokers, vapers, coffee drinkers, beer drinkers and those who enjoy carbonated bottles of liquid sugar would prefer that you take the same approach.

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: 'vaping' == drug paraphernalia

        It's beginning to be said that nicotine is more or less equivalent to caffeine, it's a mild stimulant which in itself does no real harm.

        Which can't be held as proved until a lot more research is done. For starters, what's the ratio between the effective pleasurable dose and the LD50 for Caffeine and Nicotine? Then, what are the long-term effects?

        Smokers have elevated rates of cancer and heart disease. The tar explains the cancer. Does it also explain the heart disease? If not, what does?

        Despite my skepticism, I'm all in favour of vaping, since it appears to allow a majority of smokers to break their addiction, and many of the rest to substitute a seriously harmul product by a far less harmful one. Just saying "safe" is overstating the case.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 'vaping' == drug paraphernalia

          Smokers have elevated rates of cancer and heart disease. The tar explains the cancer. Does it also explain the heart disease? If not, what does?

          Carbon monoxyde is what causes heart diseases. Vapour contains neither tar nor carbon monoxyde, so vapers get rid of the two most dangerous (and by far) components of tobacco smoke.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ....and less sick people choking up the NHS.

    the problem is, in a landscape where people have given up smoking, you tend towards far more old people who cost the NHS *far* more.

    The net effect of reducing smoking is

    1) Less tax, which then has to be raised elsewhere (so all those smug non-smokers are actually paying for the smoking ban)

    2) A longer lived, (and therefore more costly to the NHS, and pension system) population.

    Mysteriously these facts never get discussed.

    1. Brenda McViking

      Re: ....and less sick people choking up the NHS.

      But that isn't the whole story, is it.

      The medical community came up with many studies showing that smoke-related healthcare was actually costing more than the tax it bought in. Without that the smoking ban would never have happened - it wasn't for the good of the countries health, it was about money. It always is.

      Now, you will probably get people lasting longer, from a statistical point of view across an entire population, but due to the fact that fewer people will need the more expensive treatments that smoking increases the likelyhood of them needing, then overall, caring for people for longer without requiring so much expensive specialist equipment (say ventilators, oxygen-equipped wheelchairs, lung transplants, chemotherapy or whatever) is cheaper.

      Yes, this is a gross simplification.

      Yes, they'll die of something else.

      But a human dying of a heart attack is cheaper than being kept alive with lung problems for 20 years, and that, effectively is the crux of the matter, only simplified (a lot). If smoking killed you stone dead, really quickly, then it wouldn't cost more than the tax it bought in, and it wouldn't be such a public enemy, and we wouldn't have seen the smoking ban, which is pretty much being rolled out worldwide, at least in the west.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ....and less sick people choking up the NHS.

      Fewer sick people (does smoking reduce linguistic competence?): smoking does not reduce the numbers of ill people. It does change the illnesses that smokers are likely to suffer. You appear to think that smokers just live happy, productive, healthy lives and then drop dead, nicely and cleanly. Sadly, humans being as variable as they are, while a few may do that, the majority tend to succumb to long, debilitating problems that may leave them alive for some years, while costing a fortune in lost working time and treatment for illnesses such as various respiratory problems, circulation problems, the usual ones of the chronically unfit (because most smokers, eventually, become less and less able to manage enough exercise to keep the body working) and, in many cases, long, grinding deaths through lung, oesophageal and other cancers. This does not include the side effects such as those on non-smokers around the smokers, nor the costs of cleaning etc. (remember the grim, yellow staining onthe average pub ceiling, the stinking clothes after being in a smoke-addled pub, the stale smoke smell in a hotel room previously used by a smoker?), not to mentions the extraordinary numbers of dog-ends in public places, countryside etc.. Why can't smokers clear up their mess? A few do; but most seem to imagine there is a skivvy running behind them to clear up for them or are too self-absorbed to see it.

      My wife is a smoker and I can hear and see where the cigarettes are taking her; I am very cynical about the sheer foolishness of this argument about the saving graces of smokers for the health service.

      And please, spare us the tired arguments that alcohol is worse so that makes tobacco all right or that cannabis is harmless, because your thinking is too befuddled to think otherwise. Is your life really so sad that you need these crutches that make so much money for others and lose so much for the rest of us?

    3. d3vy

      Re: ....and less sick people choking up the NHS.

      Im sure someone somewhere has more time to actually look this up but I'd imagine that the cost of treating one smoker (Lets forget about the non smokers with problems due to passive smoking) for lung cancer costs signficantly more than all of the pension payments that you get between 65 and death.

      NOTE : The above is an assumption, if someone wants to provide actual statistics to prove/disprove this I would be very interested.

  14. David Webb

    Quitting Order

    From what I read, the order of success in quitting goes :

    NHS Help Service



    Cold Turkey

    The NHS service uses patches and supports you through the process, it's the most successful, but if the NHS service were to switch from patches to E-Cigs, wouldn't the rate of people quitting smoking become even higher? Obviously the government would lose billions in tax but they can pick that up from the anti-smoking fascist twats who want people who smoke to be treated worse than convicted pedo's.

  15. TopOnePercent Silver badge

    Stop banning things!!!

    I don’t smoke. I’ve never smoked (well, the odd thing at Uni and fist full of cigars a year).

    eCigs are a fantastic invention that the smoke Nazis really should be welcoming. Passive vaping will kill even fewer people than passive smoking (still no real evidence this is harmful though I personally suspect it is). In terms of saving lives, it will save more people than almost any other invention this millennium.

    Unfortunately, the fun police have already had vaping banned on public transport - I can just about see why, but really the smell is no worse than cheap perfume and Essex girls are still allowed on trains. Vaping no more normalises smoking than the anti-smoking lobby normalise state control, oppression, and Puritanism. And even were it true that vaping normalises vaping, well as far as we know its harmless so there's nothing to worry about - its just technological chewing gum.

    I’ve lost enough family members in the generations before me to smoking related cancers. I don’t want to lose more from the generations to come just because some trumped up snivelling asshat from Islington has a raging hard-on for smokers, and due to being bullied at school now wants to use the government to exact revenge on anyone he can.

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: Stop banning things!!!

      Broadly speaking, I agree with you.

      Not about trains, though. People are packed at very high density in trains and ought to show consideration for fellow travellers. Wilfully creating ANY strong odours is a sign of a selfish person. I'd rate Essex girl perfumes, Essex Man aftershaves, and eating hot food, and e-cigs, all as unpleasantly anti-social in that environment.

      To all the women who take offense when I start sneezing next to them, a gentle hint - IT'S YOUR BLOODY PERFUME THAT'S TRIGGERING MY ALLERGY!

  16. POSitality

    Drugs are good, m'kay!

    Actually I think you'll find that civilisation has been built on drugs:

    You don't actually think that growing grain for food had much impact on early, post-nomadic societies do you?! No, someone was storing grain in large ceramic jars and had a roof leak. Later, when they went to clear up the store room, they discovered something had happened... something wonderful!


    And from then on there was a real *enthusiasm* for agriculture :) E-cigs are just the same: nicotine isn't synthetic it's extracted from the same sort of tobacco leaves grown for analogue cigarettes.

    This is about the transition of a device from direct burning vs use of electricity. Take a look at the history of gas light vs the electric light bulb for instance.

  17. John Robson Silver badge

    2nd hand vapours?

    Less bad than smoke, I'll agree, but it certainly isn't "just water"

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: 2nd hand vapours?

      Well, to be honest, 2nd hand breath isn't just water either...

    2. Grifter

      Re: 2nd hand vapours?

      It is a base liquid of either propylene-glycol or vegetable glycerin (also called glycerol), or a mix of these two, optional flavourings, and optional nicotine.

      The liquid is hygroscopic and when you heat up the liquid and drag air through it, it sucks up the moisture in the air, the moisture is bound to the molecules and becomes visible (like fog is moisture that binds to dust particles).

      One of the guys responsible for the smoking bans in USA (so very anti-smoking) Dr Michael Siegel I think it was, already debunked the myth of secondhand vapour.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 2nd hand vapours?

      It isn't water at all - it's a mix of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine. Put water in the mix and the poor coils will sit there working themselves to death trying to produce any vapour - PG's heat of evaporation is less than half water's.

    4. TopOnePercent Silver badge

      Re: 2nd hand vapours?

      2nd hand vapours?

      Less bad than smoke, I'll agree, but it certainly isn't "just water"

      Nothing you can smell is just water; from rose petals through kebabs, and onto farts. It may not be your roses, your kebab, or your farts you’re smelling, but I’m pretty sure you don’t worry about passive rose-ing?

      If any scientific studies reveal health risks from passive vaping that exceed background noise, then there may be a reason to look again at when and where vaping is appropriate. Until then, passive vaping is no more dangerous than passive farting, and it’s probably more socially acceptable.

  18. Tom Jasper

    If any of you want to fight the European Union's carving up of this industry between Big Tobacco and Big Pharma through extreme regulation (no one else will be able to afford to compete) and subsequent stifling of development, please sign the formal European Citizens Initiative, to be found here:

    Details here:

    1. Alan Johnson

      Extreme regulation?

      E-cigarettes deliver a drug into the body. There are significant issues if impurities are in the fluid or concentrations are wildly incorrect.

      At the moment there is no regulation of aspects related to the effect on physiology or health of teh drug delivery. This is waiting for some short cut manufacturing or adulteration process to cause serious injury. There was a proposal to piggy back onto medical device regulations that I thought made sense rather than create new regulations but others may disagree. Effectively no regulation is waiting for a serious problem. The fact that real cigarettes are much worse should be a sobering thought. The tar that causes the problem is basically just a badly formulated pharmecutical delivering uintended chemicals as well as the nicotine and how many die every year from this?

      Even with regulation there may be some incidents without it the probability/frequency is likely to be higher paticularily given price competition.

      At the moment the risk of a real cigareete outweights the risk of a dodgy E-cigarette but the risk of constantly inhaling an uncontrolled mixture is significant. We have regulation of the food industry and the pharmecutical industry for good reason and the body is likely through evolution to be able to withstand unpleasant substances ingested better than inhaled substances.

      Some regulation is sensible and the real debate should be the nature of that regulation.

  19. Dick Emery

    Lovely flavours

    All those delicious flavors to choose from. The cool looking tech designs. Those big clouds of vapor. The group 'chic' of it when hanging out with friends. Obviously these are desirable by youths. Obviously they are gateway to other nasty stuff.


    Oh they already have and of course this will be one way they will use to crack down on it, ban it and/or tax it to death.

    It's not about the money oh no...

    1. Shinku

      Re: Lovely flavours

      There is of course also the concern that ecigs are a gateway product to smoking, and that these flavours are actually an insidious plot by the tobacco companies to lure children into eventually smoking tobacco.

      Because we all know that the consumption of a burning roll of paper and leaves, the taste and smell of which is akin to licking the contents of an ashtray out of a dog's arse, is far more attractive than sweet fruit flavours which taste and smell like something a person might voluntarily consume for enjoyment.

      How silly of me to not consider that fact. I suppose that's why I'm not a politician.

      1. Steven Raith

        Re: Lovely flavours

        Vaping? A gateway to smoking?

        Yes, lets pay four times as much per dose for something that tastes like shit, makes you reek and clarts your lungs up - with no other positives than the e-cig gives in terms of the addiction.

        It's like claiming that buying a good set of kitchen knives is a gateway to preparing food with a rusty, shitstained machete - it just makes absolutely no fucking sense. Yes, addiction is dangerous, but bloody hell, we're talking fags and fag equivalents here, not methamphetamine or smack or other truly mind altering, psychosis inducing drugs. People (genuinely) aren't that stupid.

        No really, they aren't.

        I've become pretty well versed in the art of shooting down stupid arguments against e-cigs - they really are a proper game-changer for those of us with nicotine addictions who don't particularly want to die a painful death in 30 years time. Sort of an incentive to defend them, y'know....

  20. Nick Miles

    Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I've done it thousands of times

    - Twain

  21. Rick Brasche

    too little too late

    if these had come along a decade or so sooner, I have family members who couldn't give up the butts who'd still be alive. For them it was the nicotine. Dad switched to e cigs about a month before the spreading lung cancer essentially squeezed his heard to death. Mostly because he had started on oxygen and real cigs would have been explosively risky.

    I just wish the 'second hand" smell wasn't the same as radiator antifreeze leaking onto a hot exhaust manifold. I hope that's the next evolution-complete stealthy and stink-free. Somebody's face shouldn't have ppm emissions worse than their arse.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: too little too late


      1. Sir Runcible Spoon

        Re: too little too late


        They came out in 2007 I think

  22. NobodyJustMe

    headline is misleading?

    It sure takes a lot of effort just to post a comment here ... I don't see anywhere in the article that addresses the second half of this headline, which seems to imply that even if the e cigs help you quit they don't keep you alive. Is the headline just misleading? Or is some part of the article missing?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I switched

    For me it started off as a way to get rid of the smell and be able to do it at my desk. When you smoke you just don't notice it. However, when you walk into a room after having had one everyone notices.

    At first I simply cut down my 20+ cigs a day to something around 10 or so. Two weeks ago I finally cut out regular cigs altogether and just vape. My sense of smell is starting to come back. Earlier today I almost went to the store to buy a pack as I just wanted one. On the way to my car I walked past the smokers area outside the building and promptly turned around and walked back in. I was absolutely disgusted by that smell.

    I would love to see some real health studies done on vaping. So far it seems the only thing they've done is short term comparisons to regular cigarettes but I haven't seen one that compares it to not vaping at all.

    I smoked for over 20 years, and my parents smoked in the house while I was growing up. All told, I've been directly exposed to cigs for over 40 years. Although, I did manage to quit for 3 years of that and am still unhappy about picking it back up. I tried cold turkey, patches and other treatments. Heck I am by no means someone that wants the government getting involved in my private decisions however I wrote several letters to my government begging them to outlaw tobacco because I just couldn't get away from it. Maybe I just don't have the willpower to walk away, maybe there's just something "wrong" with me. I don't know. Either way, I'm glad that an alternative exists that *hopefully* is far less harmful to my body than regular cigs.

  24. Slacker@work

    From a similar BBC article last year - Nicotine vs Caffine

    The following article finally convinced me to give e-cigs/PVD's a try, I have not had a real ciggie in 12 months - I was on 20-40 a day, the benefits to my health started within days (a return of my sense of smell and taste) and have continued. I have also saved a small fortune.

    400 days as a smoker at £9 a day (average) = £3600

    400 days as a vape user = £130 (based on 2 batteries, 8 chamber units, vaping fluids).

    Had previously tried

    gum - didn't have an effect

    patches - nicotine overdose, hallucinations, vomiting, etc...

    support groups - limited success, but went back to 20-40 a day.

    "Nicotine itself is not a particularly hazardous drug," says Professor John Britton, who leads the tobacco advisory group for the Royal College of Physicians.

    "It's something on a par with the effects you get from caffeine.

    "If all the smokers in Britain stopped smoking cigarettes and started smoking e-cigarettes we would save 5 million deaths in people who are alive today. It's a massive potential public health prize."

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