Do E-cigarettes Reinforce The Smoking Habit?

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2014-04-17 19:39:28

A newspaper article in the UK recently said that e-cigs are doing harm to efforts of people to quit smoking using the approved methods like lozenges, patches and gum. This is because electronic cigarettes encourage the physical habits of holding a device to the mouth, inhaling, and so on. Does this argument hold any water?

Vaping Reinforces Vaping.

Anyone that has any experience with conditioning knows that any habit that is repeatedly done reinforces itself. Operant conditioning therefore clearly points to the fact that the repeated use of electronic cigarettes reinforces just that, the use of e-cigarettes.

One cannot therefore argue that e-ciggy use reinforces the smoking of ordinaries; it just does not make sense! You might as well say that snacking frequently reinforces the use of tobacco cigarettes since it involves hand to mouth motions!

Not All Smokers Want To Stop.

Who said that all smokers are helpless hostages that cannot free themselves from the “ordinary terrorists”? There are individuals that enjoy their cigarette so much that they would rather face the dire consequences of their habit than quit.

There are also those that have long given up on quitting since they tried several of the approved methods and failed to get results.

That is where electronic cigarettes come in. For those that do not want to quit, and those that have given up trying, e-cigs provide an alternative that is so much safer and will save them from an early grave or lengthy hospitalization. Shouldn’t e-cigs be supported for providing this option?

Not All Are Addicted The Same Way.

It is wrong to bunch all smoking addicts into one group. There are those that are hooked to the habits inherent in smoking and there are those that are hooked to the huge levels of nicotine that they get from their chain smoking.

Assuming that some people have used e-cigarettes to drastically reduce their use of ordinary ciagattes to a negligible level while others have quit using lozenges or patches, isn’t it possible that some people are better suited to the help that patches can give while others will find their salvation in e-cigs? Let people have options since not all are addicted in the same way.

After all, approved cessation methods have a dismal success rate but they have not yet been pulled off the market, and there are no signs of that happening anytime soon. If, and that is a big if, some people say that they can quit using e-cigs, there is nothing wrong in allowing that small fraction to get that benefit. Just remember that electronic cigarettes are regulated in Australia as tobacco products and they are not quit smoking aids.

Wrapping It Up...

It is wrong to say that the use of electronic cigarettes reinforces habits of smoking. The problem is the actual smoking so if e-cigs maintain some aspects of smoking but allow users to retain those habits in a safer way, there is nothing wrong with that. As they continue to vape then they will reinforce vaping, not smoking. Any option that cuts tobacco harm should be welcomed and put on the table.


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