Electronic cigarettes as nicotine substitutes to overcome addiction

Electronic cigarettes as nicotine substitutes to overcome addiction

Published on: 03/10/2023



The electronic cigarette to overcome the strong  psychophysical dependence on nicotine: reality or mystification?

There is no doubt that the e-cig, more than anything replaced by the traditional cigarette, can help out smokers to give up the traditional cigarette and to eliminate the cause of the defect, nicotine, a powerful substance psychoactive capable of generating addiction hard to overcome.

What causes nicotine dependence and what are the symptoms of withdrawal


Except for the other 70 cancerous substances caused by the combustion of tobacco, the traditional cigarette has the huge problem of containing nicotine, a psychoactive substance that causes physical and mental dependence.

Nicotine generates a feeling of well-being, linked to the increase of some neurotransmitters involved in mood modulation such as dopamine: it thus creates a circle – precisely – vicious, in which to relive that feeling you need an additional dose of nicotine, and therefore a cigarette.

What causes nicotine dependence and what are the symptoms of withdrawal

Once you get into the habit of smoking, the absence of nicotine can cause withdrawal symptoms even quite heavy: irritability, anxiety, agitation, difficulty concentrating and even insomnia and diarrhea

In short, we are talking about one of the most difficult addictions to abandon: as a result, stopping smoking traditional cigarettes becomes an obstacle course, with frequent relapses, requiring a very strong willpower.

Electronic cigarettes can facilitate the hard fight against nicotine addiction and lead even the most inveterate smoker to reduce, if not quit altogether, the number of cigarettes smoked.


Read also: The travel electronic cigarette : tips and tricks for a refill always at hand

Why electronic cigarettes can help fight nicotine addiction

Can the electronic cigarette act as a nicotine substitute to abandon traditional cigarettes and defeat nicotine addiction?

Yes, for a few good reasons, confirmed by science.

Meanwhile, the electronic cigarette causes less health problems than the traditional cigarette: not producing all the substances caused by the burning of tobacco, the presence of harmful compounds is significantly lower than the cigarette and tobacco heating devices.

Vaping, then, is less painful than smoking. But that’s not all: some studies show that the electronic cigarette can effectively counteract smoking and, consequently, nicotine addiction.

A study that appeared a few years ago in the New England Journal of Medicine, conducted by a researcher at Queen Mary University in London, compared two groups of people who had approached the National Health Service to stop smoking. Research found that 18% of the group that received e-cig to support the pathway had stopped smoking; conversely, only 10% of the group that received nicotine treatments had lost the vice.

A simple fact follows: the electronic cigarette seems to be twice as effective in helping smokers lose the habit.

A review of the studies conducted in this field, less recent (2016) but no less solid, conducted by a group of researchers of the Cochrane Collaboration, also gave similar results: those who used the electronic cigarette with nicotine refrained from smoking more easily than those who used a placebo electronic cigarette).

This does not mean “inviting” young people to start vaping, but creating awareness in smokers that the e-cigarette, especially low in nicotine, can make a fundamental contribution to overcoming the vice.

The case of England: The e-cigarette as a fondumental tool

The case of England: The e-cigarette as a fondumental tool in the fight against cigarette smoking addiction

Proof of how useful the e-cig can be is the choice of England to consider it as one of the key tools to reduce the number of smokers in the country.

The UK is so convinced of the potential of electronic cigarettes that it has considered prescribing it as a smoke-free device in national smoking cessation programmes.

Although the idea remained only on paper, the basic concept remains: e-cig can be considered a fundamental means of quitting smoking. And some data confirm this: in 2021 the lowest ever percentage of smokers in the British population (13.3%), the lowest figure in the last 12 years, was recorded. And part of the merit can be attributed to the electronic cigarette.


Read also: Everything you need to know about electronic cigarettes with LED screen

In conclusion

Not starting to smoke is the best way to prevent nicotine addiction, which is very hard to quit. If, however, smoking is already an established habit, the electronic cigarette can be one of the most effective tools for quitting smoking. This is demonstrated by the experiences of many former smokers, passed from traditional cigarettes to e-cig, and also several studies.

Of course, even those who do not vape should not start: but those who smoke, can consider the electronic cigarette an effective means to erase from their own life nicotine dependence.