E-cigarettes May Increase Use of Normal Cigarettes
Simply replacing one abusive substance with another similar substance, without treating the underlying disease, might actually perpetuate addiction. That’s what a recent study, as reported on the website thefix.com, suggests about e-cigarettes.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California (San Francisco), found that when participants smoked e-cigarettes, they increased their consumption of normal cigarettes. This was despite the hope of participants that the use of the popular cigarette replacement would help them cut down on normal cigarette use. In fact, 4 out of 5 teens in the study who used e-cigarettes also smoked regular cigarettes, suggesting that the device may actually lead teens to start smoking. Since e-cigarettes contain nicotine, it is thought that users may gain a craving for real cigarettes, though they begin with the imitation cigarette.
While the study was conducted with Korean adolescents, it has important ramifications for those in other countries, where e-cigarette use has risen in recent years. In the US alone, one survey found that in 2012 at least 1.78 million students reported using e-cigarettes. As the popularity of the “replacement” for smoking grows, and the understanding of the connection between their use and normal cigarette use, some states in the US have restricted advertising and sale of the devices. Despite these restrictions, they will remain to be sold; as a result, it is important to understand how to avoid the pitfalls of replacement treatments that can actually maintain an addiction.}
Abstinence versus Replacement/Reduction
Finding a way out of addiction is a challenge when viewed as an isolated behavior. When we view addiction in this way, we miss the connection between the addiction and the rest of life. We might think that the choice to use or not to use a substance is under our control. Unfortunately for those suffering from the disease of addiction , addictive behaviors are interwoven with the threads of stress and how we deal with that stress. If we choose once to respond to stress with a particular behavior, we create a habit that will be repeated in the future.
When we replace an addiction with another harmful behavior, not only have we not broken the original habit, we have gained another addictive behavior. Similarly, when we focus on reduction of an addictive behavior, we are maintaining a reduced form of the pattern of addiction that, with adverse life circumstances, may re-develop into full-blown addiction. So, while reducing use of a substance may provide temporary relief, the risk of relapse is constantly present.
Abstinence is the only option for those who desire true quality of life. As it challenges us to find truly healthful coping strategies for stress, abstinence is the basis for the behavioral changes that can transform not only your addiction, but your whole life.