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Commentary: E-cigs help wean smokers off real thing

September 26, 2013|By Jeremy Trudeau

I am writing in regard to the recently published column regarding e-cigarettes ("E-cigs aren't solution," Coastline Pilot, Sept. 20).

I would like to share my experience to help clear up some things that the writer may not understand. Starting with the comment, "Who seriously believes that bubble-gum flavored vaping is aimed at smokers trying to quit?" This statement is so off its laughable.

First, all liquids used in e-cigs are flavored, whether it is tobacco flavor, strawberry or mango. The tobacco flavor is the primary choice for someone looking to quit smoking, but the problem is that since the liquid does not contain tobacco and does not burn, it tastes nothing like a cigarette, and actually many of the tobacco flavors are quite foul.

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After experiencing the awful tobacco taste, most e-cig users transition to other flavors. I'm in my mid-30s and have smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes a day for more than 15 years, and I have been smoke-free for five months thanks to e-cigarettes and the alternative flavors.

If tobacco flavor was the only option, I would probably have thrown out my e-cig and gone back to smoking. Also, in California it is illegal to sell e-cigs to minors, and every vape shop that I have visited strictly enforces the law.

The recent report that 2.2% of children have experimented with (not habitually used) e-cigs should not be viewed as a crisis or alarming, and I am not condoning underage vaping. Kids are going to experiment with all types of taboo items. Alcohol was used by minors at a much higher rate.

Now when it comes to the safety of bystanders breathing secondhand vapor, several university studies have concluded that there is no risk of cancer from such exposure. The barely detectable trace amounts of nitrosamines expelled from the lungs fall well below any federal indoor-air health standards.

The detectable amount for the primary user also was found to be extremely low. You are exposed to more cancer-causing agents fueling your car, eating charred barbecue or pushing your lawn mower.

If you are offended by the smell of strawberry or mango e-cig vapor, consider that it is really no different from any other environmental smell: perfumes and colognes, car air fresheners, cleaning products and body odor. But these things can't be banned. People have rights.

Since switching to e-cigs my life has changed. I can smell, breathe, taste again. I don't cough in the morning. My clothes, house and car do not smell like cigarettes anymore. I started using high-strength 18mg nicotine when I started and have worked down to 6mg, and in a few more weeks it will be 0mg.

I have no desire to go back to smoking. I have no desire to be forced into the smoking section. I am not the only success story. Dozens of friends and co-workers have successfully used e-cigs to quit smoking.

I really wish people would research the facts before forming an opinion about a subject that they have no clue about.

JEREMY TRUDEAU is a San Diego resident.

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