Just to Clarify the E-Cigarette Position

It has been a couple of years since I last commented about e-cigarettes. I'm not sure my position has changed drastically. To recap, I have stated they needed to be investigated thoroughly for safety and if they're to be sold as smoking cessation aids, then there should be studies to show their effectiveness, that is, double-blinded, controlled studies; not anecdotal reports with numerous study-related flaws. There are a few studies in the pipeline, so we should have some unbiased information soon.

Are they the lesser of two evils? Is smoking a tobacco cigarette safer than vaporizing and inhaling a bunch of chemicals? Probably...maybe, but who knows for sure since there are no studies detailing their safety profile. I have stated that e-cigarettes do have promise, especially as social acceptance of these devices gain momentum. I just wish there was more transparency from the manufacturers. Not that I feel that coming under the FDA would fix all the problems. I know the FDA is far from a faultless or error free organization. But as a general rule, they do good work and protect the consumer from more then we're willing to admit, in spite of any political allegiances their leadership may declare.

I'm not ready to close the book on e-cigarettes but I'm also not ready to throw them out with the bath water. I'm maintaining my wait and see approach until the scientific community can catch up.

Sunday School and Smoking

I was surprised to hear my 8 year old report how she learned how bad smoking was in her Sunday school at church. She had one of those rubber bracelets with the word "toxic" emblazoned upon it. She then went on to tell me how nicotine was bad and how there were these things called "carcinogens" in tobacco. She couldn't remember how to pronounce carcinogen, but I knew what she was talking about.

I thought it a little off topic for a Christian Sunday School, but then I figured why not talk about it there. Every bit of reinforcement I can have from trusted sources, I'll welcome. You see, I don't want my kids smoking, in this world or the one to come - pun intended;)

So anyway, just thought I'd share that revelation with you.

NicVax - A Nicotine Vaccine

There has been growing excitement over the development of a nicotine vaccine. It has been viewed by some in the smoking cessation community as the "magic bullet" for smokers wanting to quit easily. Just get a shot and poof, stop smoking. This enthusiasm hit a road block in 2011, as clinical stage III trials reported that NicVax did not have any benefit over placebo. Bummer.

Now there is a new promise as another study points to the abstinence rates for those with a high blood serum level of NicVax. This study reports a higher 8 week continuous abstinence rate from weeks 19 to 26. To get the high serum level, participants received 5 injections of 400 micrograms of NicVax over a 6 month period. The abstinence rates were statistically significant.

The researchers say, and I'll paraphrase, "This study demonstrates, as proof of concept, that NicVax is associated with higher continuous abstinence rates (CAR). Its further development as a treatment for nicotine dependence is therefore justified."

So there is hope yet for the makers of NicVax and their shareholders. Perhaps it is just a dosing issue or perhaps it only helps you after you've stopped smoking for 5 months, who knows. But one thing is for sure, more studying is required.