There’s a laundry list of benefits studies are finding for switching from smoking to electronic cigarette use. Among other things, it appears they reduce the harm of nicotine consumption by around 99%, is far more cost effective, and still offers the mannerisms and rituals of smoking without the smoke and tar. But it seems a less expected benefit is arising for a number of vapers.
Surveys of ex-smoker vapers have found that an overwhelming majority of them report dramatically improved senses of taste and smell in the time since they quit. One study as far back as November of 2009 found that 94% of vapers reported improved overall health since transitioning away from smoking. From the group, sense of smell improved for 82% and sense of taste improved for 77%. Many vapers actually claim that the returned sense of taste and smell makes further experiences with conventional cigarettes rather disgusting and keeps them from going back.
Personal accounts of successful ex-smoker vapers tend to include mentions of their miraculous ability to taste and smell food again — for many, this is the single best reason not to go back to conventional tobacco cigarettes. In all of this, we’ve noticed a recurring theme of vapers mentioning that they don’t over-season and over-salt their food anymore. It seemed worth digging into a bit and finding out how much this change in salt intake might help these ex-smokers.
Although the human body does need some salt to regulate fluid balance and contribute to muscle and nerve function, we really don’t need that much. The American Heart Association suggests a limit of 3.75 grams of salt a day — roughly half a teaspoon with maybe a pinch more. Smokers, due to their decreased ability to taste foods, can easily end up consuming far more than this.
You might not think so, but (to take two examples I have on hand) one serving of peanut butter is a fifth of your daily salt/sodium limit. A single 2-tablespoon serving of ranch dressing can be around a third of your daily limit. If you’re throwing salt on your food in addition, you’re probably getting a lot more than you think.
The problem is that there are actually a lot of consequences to a high salt diet. There’s hypertension, heart complications, kidney and digestive problems, and electrolyte and hormone imbalances to name a few. Studies have also found that excess salt generally correlates to excess consumption of sugary drinks to counteract the salt. So, many smokers are giving themselves high cholesterol and making themselves fat in addition to other health problems related to smoking and poor diet.
The point of all this is that e-cigs may have a much farther reaching impact on a transitioned smoker’s health than we realize even now. Just like how many vapers seem to be experiencing a second shot at a life of exercise and activity, many may be granted a second chance to live with a far cleaner and healthier diet. Transitioning successfully away from smoking may be a magic bullet that helps them fix a magnitude of medical, social, and even psychological issues.
If you’d like to learn more about salt consumption, Medical News Today does a good job of running down all the essentials.