As the debate about e-cigarettes grows, one of the side notes is the more commonly drawn distinction between smoking cessation and nicotine cessation. This separation of smoking and nicotine is an important one for the public policy and health advocates. It provides a reasonable rationale for regulating e-cigarettes more favorably than cigarettes and other combustible tobacco products. If it is clear that e-cigarettes are not as harmful as cigarettes, their use is an improvement over continued cigarette smoking. On that point everyone can agree – e-cigs are substantially less harmful than cigarettes.
Advocating for e-cigarettes is positive even if they do not help a smoker quit, but only decrease the consumption of cigarettes. This is a common behavior among those using the patch as well, even though the preferred outcome from both is full cessation. Research on the health effects of reduced smoking shows there are improvements in cardiovascular risk factors and respiratory symptoms, as well as some reductions in biomarkers tied to lung cancer. The effectiveness of e-cigarettes to reduce smoking even if they don’t result in abstinence was shown in a recent study in Lancet. That study showed that for those using e-cigarettes reduced their cigarette consumption by 50%. It also showed that e-cigs had as good or better success in helping smokers quit altogether.
The focus of most everyone but Sentiens is in providing better or more controlled use of nicotine. We believe there is another way, one that can still provide satisfaction but does not include nicotine. That is what is behind our patented Botanic Boost formula, an all-natural blend of herbs and spices in a botanical tincture that delivers a satisfying throat hit.
The distinction is valid in order to reduce the more deadly use of combustible tobacco products. Dr. Michael Siegel of Boston University has stated it well when he says,
“Many anti-smoking groups oppose e-cigarettes because they find it difficult to endorse a behavior that looks like smoking, even though it is saving people’s lives.”
Mitch Zeller, Director of the Tobacco Products Center at the FDA has also begun to describe smoking addiction and nicotine addiction in separate terms while noting that if e-cigarettes are an effective tool for reduced smoking, they should be seriously considered as a positive net benefit to society. In 2009, he commented in a Tobacco Control article [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19240228] ,
“There is a very pronounced continuum of risk depending upon how toxicants and nicotine, the major addictive substance in tobacco, are delivered. Cigarette smoking is undoubtedly a more hazardous nicotine delivery system than various forms of noncombustible tobacco products for those who continue to use tobacco, which in turn are more hazardous than pharmaceutical nicotine products. There is potential for an ever-wider range of consumer-acceptable alternatives to the cigarette for smokers who will not otherwise cease their dependence on nicotine.”
More recently, speaking on the Diane Rehm Show, he said,
“Well, the thing that’s the most interesting about the e-cigarette is we look at individual-level risk. What is the risk to, let’s say, a current smoker, who would otherwise be unable or unwilling to quit if that person completely substituted all of their conventional cigarettes for an e-cigarette? That’s individual-level risk. But policy is going to be made here at the population level because then there’s population-level harm.”
“What’s really interesting about the nicotine question is there’s this old adage: People smoke for the nicotine, but they die from the tar. It’s not the nicotine that is causing all of the premature death and disease. It’s combustible cigarettes and the 7,000 other chemicals that are in smoke. So FDA has an opportunity to look at a comprehensive nicotine regulatory policy if, ultimately, it’s all the other compounds in tobacco smoke that are killing people and causing disease and not the nicotine.”
Sentiens believes that our Novus products create the bridge to effectively deal with both issues. Our Novus products are not e-cigarettes. But if Novus Twigs and eTwigs can provide the satisfaction that e-cigarettes deliver, but without nicotine, that is even more powerful for the market.