Are you one of the millions who resolved to quit smoking this year are you turning to these to help? They are called electronic cigarettes and they are all the rage right now. Nancy Naeve Brown asked a respiratory therapist at the Avera Heart Hospital about the ABC's of e-cigs.
If you are turning to these electronic cigarettes because you think they are healthy, Avera Heart Hospital Respiratory Therapist Deb Murray says your thinking may be skewed. Here's how they work.
Deb says, "It's got 2 components. The mouth piece is liquid nicotine with a little heating element and then an LED light at the end. When you take a breath in what it does is start the heating element that vaporizes the nicotine, lights up the end so it looks like a cigarette and you inhale vapors and exhale them back out."
Sales of these e-cigarettes have skyrocketed nationwide including here in South Dakota when expansion of the smoking ban went in to effect in mid-November. It meant you could no longer smoke regular cigarettes in bars, restaurants and casinos across the state. While you will be safe to smoke the electronic cigarette in the bars because you won't get arrested, they may not be safe on your lungs.
Deb says, "As a respiratory therapist I'm not going to recommend this. If you are going to use this to try and quit tobacco then try to start tapering off using it. If you are using it as replacement you are still getting nicotine and nicotine is harmful to our body."
Since 29 states are now "smoke-free", so to speak, Murray suspects we will be seeing a lot more research done on these cig substitutes which she strongly suggests is no healthy alternative.
If you are trying to quit smoking and need help the Avera Heart Hospital is starting the first of its kind for the region: a tobacco cessation group. They are offering 8 weeks of classes Tuesday evenings at 7:00 starting February 8th. People will go through the quitting process with support of their group and Deb Murray. The cost is $100 and covers all materials. Call 977-7000 for more information or to register for the group classes.