is it a winning strategy? –

I am about to turn 43, I have been smoking more or less a pack of cigarettes a day since I was a boy. Although I have tried several times, I have never been able to quit smoking and say goodbye to this habit once and for all. For three years now, however, to reduce at least a little the daily cigarettes, I also use the electronic cigarette. I have a question for you: am I likely to get sick more or less than before?

He answers Roberto Boffi, head of the Pneumology Unit and the Anti-Smoking Center at the National Cancer Institute of Milan

This interesting question raises a topic that is still little dealt with: that of the dual smoker. By “dual” we mean the smoker who adds to his smoking routine the use of electronic cigarettes, also called, for the sake of brevity, e-cig. The reason that often pushes the smoker to make this choice is, as in his case, the idea that with the support of these devices he can reduce the number of cigarettes consumed and consequently limit the damage to his health. Andrew C. Stokes and colleagues, just published in the journal Circulation, one of the most authoritative international scientific journals in the field of medical research on cardiovascular disease, does not support this hypothesis at all.

The study: the dangers for dual smokers
Researchers from Boston University, through the analysis of blood and urine of 7,000 adults, divided according to their smoking habits (non-smokers, ecig users, traditional cigarette smokers and dual smokers), have in fact shown how classic smokers and the dual ones have very similar levels of biomarkers related to inflammatory and oxidative stress, while the exclusive users of e-cig show lower levels than in both categories. The authors of the US study conclude by stressing the importance of completely replacing the smoking of cigarette with electronic cigarettes, as dual use obviously does not lead to real benefits.The reason why there does not seem to be any health gain is not yet fully understood, but one hypothesis is that reducing the daily number of cigarettes is associated with an increase in “craving” and this risks translating into the need for more intense and deeper hits. I am actually trying to inhale the same amount of smoke inhaled before the reduction.

E-cig less harmful, but not harmless
We also wish to underline that although the aerosol produced by electronic cigarettes that use liquids contains, in both qualitative and quantitative terms, substances that are certainly less harmful than those contained in tobacco, they cannot in any case be considered harmless for various reasons, including presence, in addition to numerous heavy metals (in particular nickel, chromium, silver and titanium, as already published by studies carried out at the National Cancer Institute) very often of nicotine which, among the various damages it causes, also involves the increase blood pressure, heart rate and endothelial stiffness of the arteries.In addition to the suggestions given by colleagues, therefore, we would like to advise smokers who want to really damage themselves less (or try to quit permanently) using these devices, not only replace with these products all traditional cigarettes but, considering the lack of e of studies on the long-term use of e-cigs, to use electronic devices only for the period necessary to overcome the fearful withdrawal symptoms associated with smoking cessation.

March 21, 2021 (change March 21, 2021 | 19:19)

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