The findings of a local medical survey into electronic cigarettes has shown that the technology can help smokers kick the habit. Doctors reported that 45 percent of South African smokers who used e-cigarettes were able to quit tobacco smoking within two months.
Over an eight week study period, doctors supplied 349 patients with Twisp (www.twisp.co.za). Of Dutch origin, the Twisp e-cigarette is an electronic device that delivers nicotine through vapour but without the tar, carcinogens or smoke found in standard cigarettes. All participating doctors agreed that e-cigarettes are a significantly more healthy alternative to conventional smoking.
The study's outcome revealed that:
- Six per cent of smokers quit within two weeks increasing to 45 percent within eight weeks.
- Fifty-two percent of all patients reported both increased levels of energy and visible improvement in their physical appearance
- When asked what factors about smoking tobacco cigarettes were the hardest to give up, 49 percent of patients said nicotine cravings and 24 percent the habit itself. Twenty seven percent of all participating smokers said that a combination of all factors ? the habit, nicotine, the taste and feeling of smoking ? made it hard to quit.
When asked if an e-cigarette could act as an agent to overcome all the physical and psychological challenges to quit tobacco smoking, all doctors said 'yes'.
Dr Clifford Hulley, one of the participating medical professionals in the survey, reported that "an e-cigarette is the most effective treatment method on the market for quitting tobacco smoking".
Prof Martin Veller, Head Vascular Surgeon at the University of the Witwatersrand, who participated in the project said that e-cigarettes have the appearance of normal tobacco cigarettes but are non-toxic. "Motivated by my wife's experience, who smoked traditional cigarettes heavily until the moment she replaced them with electronic cigarettes, I have advised my patients to consider e-cigarettes as an alternative nicotine source."
Dr Kishore Deva, a general practitioner from Pretoria, quit tobacco using Twisp over a six week period and reported that "around 10 to 15 Twisp puffs are equivalent to the same amount of nicotine delivered by a tobacco cigarette". He added that "nicotine is not responsible for the health risks that tobacco cigarettes hold. In my view Twisp is a safe product to use".
Earlier this year Health New Zealand carried out trials into the safety of e-cigarettes. According to the head of research Dr Murray Laugeson, the test found that e-cigarettes were very safe relative to cigarettes, and also safe in absolute terms on all measurements.
"Using micro-electronics, an e-cigrarette vaporises, separately for each puff, very small quantities of nicotine dissolved in propylene glycol, two small well-known molecules with excellent safety profiles, into a fine aerosol. Each puff contains one third to one half the nicotine in a tobacco cigarette's puff. The cartridge liquid is tobacco-free and no combustion occurs."