Are E-Cigarettes A Good Option For Me?

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If you are one of the over 42 million Americans who currently smoke cigarettes, you may be feeling the pressure to quit. As you probably already know, quitting smoking is not an easy task. That's why many are turning to electronic cigarettes (referred to as e-cigarettes) to quit or reduce their use of cigarettes. You are probably wondering just how effective (and expensive) electronic cigarettes are. While there is still some controversy over their effectiveness as a smoking cessation aid, recent studies have produced promising results. Consider the research available  to help you decide whether e-cigarettes are a cost-effective and reliable method to help you give up or cut down on cigarettes.

Do e-cigarettes really help people stop smoking?

According to a 2014 study by British researchers, people who chose e-cigarettes to help them stop smoking were 60 percent more likely to quit smoking than their counterparts who used other nicotine replacement aids, such as patches or gum. While quitting smoking does require effort and commitment on your part regardless of the method you choose, e-cigarettes appear to give smokers an advantage when it comes to ceasing the use of tobacco products.

An earlier study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine in March 2014 found that people who smoked electronic cigarettes were not more likely to quit smoking than those who did not use e-cigarettes. Many cite this study as evidence that electronic cigarettes are not effective in reducing or quitting smoking. However, this study was conducted on all smokers who used e-cigarettes and not those who indicated they used e-cigarettes with a goal of quitting smoking, explains WebMD. Smokers use electronic cigarettes for a variety of reasons, such as to eliminate secondhand smoke in their homes, to eliminate smelly smoke odor or to reduce the health risks associated with smoking. This may explain the discrepancy in the results of the two studies. 

According to the American Cancer Society, only 4 to 7 percent of smokers successfully quit smoking with one attempt, if they attempt to do so without the aid of nicotine replacement, prescription medications or behavioral management. The comparative success rate with e-cigarettes represents a significant increase in your chances of quitting smoking successfully.

How expensive are e-cigarettes?

If you currently smoke brand name cigarettes, you may be surprised to learn that smoking electronic cigarettes is less expensive than smoking regular cigarettes. That means you will save money while you quit smoking. The exact savings is difficult to determine because it depends on the type of e-cigarette you choose, the amount of cigarettes you typically smoke in a day and how many puffs you take on the electronic cigarette. Calculations provided by eversmoke, indicate that a pack-a-day smoker who currently pays $6 per pack of cigarettes will likely save 60 percent of the cost of regular cigarettes or $846 a year. It further estimates the cost for the equivalent of one pack of cigarettes with an e-cigarette is $2.20. 

To determine the savings you can expect from switching to an e-cigarette, divide the cost of a nicotine cartridge by the number of equivalent packs of cigarettes. Compare this price to the cost of the brand of cigarettes you currently smoke. Don't forget to consider the cost of batteries and the cost of the electronic cigarette itself to determine the initial costs and the long-term savings. The amount of time it will take to quit smoking completely is highly individual. While you may be successful after a few weeks of using electronic cigarettes, others may continue to smoke them for a longer time. The overall cost of electronic cigarettes as an aid to quit or reduce your smoking also depends on how long you continue to use the e-cigarette before quitting smoking.

Like other smoking cessation methods, you may need to try more than once to find success, which is another advantage of the electronic cigarette. Even if you succumb to the urge to smoke a regular cigarette, you can resume using the electronic cigarette right away. Other methods, such a nicotine patches, require you to quit smoking completely when you begin using the patch. Some find success by using the electronic cigarette for the majority of the day, and allowing themselves to smoke an occasional cigarette until they adjust to a new smoke-free lifestyle.