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Harm Reduction

answered 01:02 PM EST, Thu March 01, 2012
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Are e cigarettes really a safe alternative to regular cigarettes? I have tried so many times to quit smoking and I have never been able to.

Scott Graham Says...

What you are referring to could be called "harm reduction."

We see this from public health advocates who talk in terms of methadone maintenance programs (as just one example) and sight a success of reducing the consequences of heroin use (both personal and societal).  Heroin addicts take methadone as part of their treatment to abstain from heroin.

Another reflection (albeit a somewhat more personal reflection) of this topic relates to diet-related foods.  For example, many people concerned about their weight drink diet sodas (although this is correlated actually with weight gain, see:  http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20050613/drink-more-diet-soda-gain-more-weight).

My thoughts are these: 

  1. Should you stop smoking all together?  Yes, the personal and societal consequences are immense. 
  2. If you can't stop smoking right now, is an e-cigarette a better option? Absolutely. 
  3. Is it easy to go back to smoking if you are smoking an e-cigarette?  Probably. 
  4. Could you, in working with a professional, work to shift to an e-cigarette and then shift your habit behaviors so that you start to disassociate smoking with your triggers?  Definitely.



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Page last updated Mar 01, 2012

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