Separate, and definitely, not equal.
Traditional cigarettes are not like electric cigarettes and e-cigs are definitely not like combustible cigarettes.
Northwestern Medicine wants that distinction made clear, definitely.
If they are combined and treated as equals – or at least close cousins, mistakes inevitably will be made in future policies and clinical research, according to a Northwestern University press release. The Northwestern vaping study was published in the Nicotine & Tobacco Research journal last month.
“Comparing cigarettes to e-cigarettes can give us a false sense of what dangers exist because it misses the gap in understanding how people use them and how they can make people dependent,” said Matthew Olonoff, a lead author of the report.
“Before we start making policy changes, such as controlling nicotine or flavor options in e-cigarettes, we need to better understand what role these unique characteristics have.”
Definitely, a rational approach, Olonoff declared, because he believes, “there are enough key differences between cigarettes and these products, especially newer generation devices, to show that they are not interchangeable nicotine delivery systems.”
Northwestern Medical’s report pointed to key differences between e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes, including:
- The levels of nicotine delivered by vaping devices are not consistent enough for researchers to differentiate between the two vices.
- With e-cigarettes, individuals can halt, then fire it back up when wanted. The intermittent smoking makes it difficult to compare with the continuous smoking of combustible cigarettes.
- Nicotine in e-cigarettes is delivered via vaping liquid. Traditional cigarettes, obviously, are not.
One of the biggest differences, the report said, was how e-cigarettes are marketed to teenagers, even if no one claims they are. Combustible cigarettes, obviously, are not.
“Teens could potentially be getting addicted to something dangerous and harmful to their health,” Olonoff said. “The only way we’ll know if this is true is to study e-cigarettes as if they’re their own unique device.
“From a research perspective, when we call it a ‘cigarette,’ we know how many puffs are typically in a cigarette, how people use it, the amount of nicotine in it,” Olonoff said. “Even though it has the word ‘cigarette’ in it, e-cigarettes are not the same thing.”
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