Me: Do you have any medical problems?
Patient: No, I'm healthy.
Me: Have you had any surgeries?
Patient: Tonsil surgery when I was 10.
Me: Okay, what about any allergies?
Me: Any allergies to medicines?
Me: And you don't smoke and never have, right? (Notice how I phrase this one...)
Patient: Well.....okay. Maybe. A cigarette here and there. But I've cut down! I was smoking a pack a day. Now, maybe a cigarette a day. The e-cigarettes and vapor have helped a lot!
Honestly, it's hilarious. The looks I get the way I phrase that question. And I growl. That's right. Growl. And we laugh..and then I stop and say "yeah, not funny. Stop that crap. NOW".
BUT, what is hard is giving recommendations on the new vapor and e-cigarettes. Why? Well, because frankly there is just not a lot of information and research on them. I did recently get an e-mail with this title:
"FDA To Announce Long-Awaited Regulations On E-Cigarettes, Other Tobacco Products"
oooo! I was giddy. What does the FDA have to say?? Eh, but then I got bored because it was all about how they are going to regulate them, just like they do regular cigarettes, and not anything about the health aspect. So, I had to do some of my own research.
Basically, an e-cigarette (electronic cigarette) or vaporizer are devices which deliver synthetic nicotine via a mouthpiece. When a use inhales, it triggers a sensor that heats liquid (synthetic) nicotine, and the user gets a puff of hot gas that feels like tobacco smoke. The "smoke" is actually a substance called PEG, which allows the user to "blow out" just like they would with a cigarette. And, that's it. No carcinogens. Just the PEG stuff (which is in a lot of stuff like saline solutions, cosmetics and mouth washes), synthetic nicotine and artificial flavorings. So it is BAD for you?
My take on this? It HAS to be better than regular cigarette smoking. And, they have been shown to administer less nicotine than regular cigarettes...BUT, the nicotine is the issue. Although the yucky cancer-causing ingredients *may* be absent (I say this because when the FDA doesn't regulate something...do you REALLY know whats in it?), the nicotine is what causes other health issues like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and dementia. Remember also, that it is the nicotine that is addictive. So, generally, using e-cigarettes does not help someone to stop smoking, because they just pick up the e-cigarette and keep going with that. What concerns me too, is that the e-cigarettes are becoming a fad, and teenagers are picking up this habit. Right when we were starting to go in the right direction!
So...my personal (professional?) opinion? If you MUST pick one, then go for the e-cigarettes...but let's face reality...the best option is nothing at all! (But, com'on you already knew that!)
Until next time...