The electronic cigarette is a well designed and compact unit that combines a dose of nicotine, that “throat hit” that smokers crave, and satisfies the physical habit of manipulating a cigarette, E-cigarettes are far more effective at helping smokers, on many levels, than any nicotine gum or patch could ever be.
Electronic Cigarette Components
The modern E-cigarette is composed of two major parts: the battery, and the combination atomizer and liquid cartridge. Most E-cig batteries will have an LED light at the end, which performs three functions; indicating that the device is working, warning of low battery, and also further simulating the smoking experience. Cartridges can be refilled with the liquid of choice, or replaced as a disposable unit, whichever type the smoker prefers. This close proximity to real cigarettes is one of the reasons why E-cigs work where other methods fail.
How Electronic Cigarettes Work
As the smoker “puffs” on the E-cig, air passing through activates a switch. This switch closes the circuit from the battery to the atomizer. The atomizer consists of what is basically a heating element, which vaporizes the liquid solution contained within the cartridge. The solution is water-based glycerin with various levels of nicotine, or no nicotine, and flavoring. As the liquid is vaporized and drawn into the lungs, the feel and taste of a cigarette are experienced by the smoker, but without the myriad harmful chemicals resulting from combustion. When the E-cig smoker exhales, the “smoke” is only water vapor, and not harmful to others, unlike second-hand smoke from real cigarettes.
Nicotine acts on the parts of the brain that give you feelings of pleasure and euphoria. This is a result of the effect of nicotine on the mesolimbic pathway, which is the wiring in the brain that acts as a reward system. Nicotine has been found in studies to be even more addictive than heroin and cocaine. This is why, for a veteran smoker, it is so difficult to quit smoking. The E-cigarette satisfies the smoker’s physical need for this nicotine by providing a dose in the inhaled glycerine or water vapor from the device. Smokers have the option to gradually reduce the level of nicotine consumed by using cartridges with lower and lower amounts of nicotine, down to none at all. There are also several different flavors available to further satisfy the E-cig smoker.
The Physical Habit
One aspect of the smoking habit is the physical act of holding and puffing on the cigarette. While it may not seem significant, to a smoker this tactile manipulation of the cigarette is an important part of the addiction to cigarettes. This is one reason why nicotine patches and gums so often fail. The E-cig simulates the physical act of smoking exactly. Without satisfying this mechanical addiction, other methods of smoking cessation require far more willpower from the addict; often too much willpower for the smoker to overcome.
Another advantage of the E-cig over other nicotine delivery methods is the actual feel of the smoke hitting the throat of the smoker. Like the physical addiction, this is a major part of the smoking experience. The smoker craves that feeling of “throat-hit’ and no patch or gum can deliver anything even close. This is one of the many levels where the E-cig is an ingenious and superior device. No other stop smoking aid can satisfy this integral part of smoking addiction.
A Life Saver?
While some people are able to quit “cold turkey” the vast majority of smokers have tried repeatedly to quit, unsuccessfully. The many different aspects of the smoking addiction, mentioned above, are not addressed in their entirety by any other smoking cessation method or device out there. The E-cig has the potential to save many lives, those of the people who smoke, and those of the people who are sickened by second-hand smoke. If you must smoke, I strongly urge you to give the E-cig a try. The life it saves could be your own.