WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) has good news for the smokers who have tried repeatedly to quit over the past 36 years during the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout, but keep relapsing: For those smokers who don't even try to quit during the annual event, there are other life-saving options.
To smokers who are happy quitting tobacco and nicotine entirely, we wish you the best of luck doing so on the day of the Smokeout or any day. But we know that this option does not work for everyone. Fortunately, there are other choices.
Many people mistakenly believe that nicotine is the cause of smoking-related lung diseases, heart attacks, strokes, and cancers. However, the fact is that these diseases are caused by the tar, carbon monoxide, and thousands of chemicals of burning the tobacco. Non-combustion sources of nicotine such as smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes pose an estimated 1% of the risk of smoking.
CASAA's Legislative Director, Julie Woessner points out, "Even with all of these efforts to get smokers to quit, nearly one in five Americans still smoke and 30% of them won't even attempt to quit this year. That's millions of smokers who are left with the message that they have no choice but to die from smoking-related diseases. The ACS Great American Smokeout does smokers a grave disservice by failing to inform them that switching to a low-risk source of nicotine can reduce their health risks by an estimated 99% as compared to smoking. In other words, switching to electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or smokeless tobacco can achieve basically the same health benefits as quitting entirely - and switching is far more likely to last a lot longer than a one-day quit attempt."
"Smoking cessation that is achieved by weaning people off nicotine often turns out to be a temporary solution to a permanent problem," says CASAA President, Elaine Keller. "Nicotine provides beneficial effects such improvements in attention, memory, and concentration, as well as relieving some of the symptoms of a wide variety of conditions such as depression, anxiety, Parkinson's Disease, and even ulcerative colitis."
CASAA's Scientific Director Dr. Carl V. Phillips has been researching alternatives to smoking for more than a decade, and points out that many smokers suffer greatly if forced to give up nicotine's beneficial effects. Relapse often occurs when a former smoker is faced with some situation that is mentally or emotionally challenging, and the absence of nicotine is more keenly experienced. "For many," Dr. Phillips suggests, "a superior option is to switch to a low-risk source of nicotine on a permanent basis. It is far healthier than repeatedly relapsing since smoking for just a couple of months is more harmful than a lifetime of using a smoke-free alternative."
CASAA recommends smokers who continue to have trouble quitting, or do not intend to quit but are concerned about their health risks, to consider switching to a smoke-free alternative. The organization provides smokers with information about alternative products and tobacco harm reduction on its website at casaa.org.
SOURCE Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association