Know the difference between 'e-cigarettes' and 'cigarettes'

DN Bureau

According to a new study, the word 'cigarette' might appear in the term 'e-cigarette' but that is as far as their similarities extend. Assuming e-cigarettes are equal to cigarettes could lead to misguided research and policy initiatives.

Representational image
Representational image

Washington D.C: According to a new study, the word 'cigarette' might appear in the term 'e-cigarette' but that is as far as their similarities extend. Assuming e-cigarettes are equal to cigarettes could lead to misguided research and policy initiatives.

Researchers at Northwestern University explained that 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.

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Lead author of the study, Matthew Olonoff said, "Before we start making policy changes, such as controlling nicotine or flavour options in e-cigarettes, we need to better understand what role these unique characteristics have."

The commentary distils articles and published studies that compare e-cigarettes to cigarettes and supports the importance of investigating e-cigarettes as a unique nicotine delivery system.

There are enough key differences between cigarettes and these products, especially newer-generation devices, to show that they are not interchangeable nicotine delivery systems.

Key differences between the products include:

1. The amount of nicotine in e-cigarettes can vary widely, which doesn't provide enough consistency of the device and smokers' behaviour.

2. E-cigarette nicotine is ingested by vaping a liquid.

3. The ability to stop and restarting e-cigarettes allows far more variability in intermittent use and nicotine dosing compared to a traditional cigarette.

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4. E-cigarettes are allowed in areas where cigarettes are prohibited.

5. Teens are at greatest risk because e-cigarette use and marketing are on the rise.

"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."

E-cigarettes have been commercially available since the mid-2000s. The technology has been advancing rapidly, which makes it nearly impossible to set up-to-date policy initiatives.
The findings appeared in the Journal of Nicotine & Tobacco Research. (ANI)

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