An article in British morning newspaper The Independent this week argues that electronic cigarettes simply reinforce a terrible habit. Ellen Jones, the newspaper’s TV critic, wrote the piece following the European Parliament’s vote not to classify electronic cigarettes as medicine. Like so many other writers critical of the devices — and fairly poorly reported — Jones says there’s almost no research into the devices.
This isn’t an uncommon note to be seen in a newspaper following news related to electronic cigarettes. Jones lacks even a basic understanding of just how much research there has been done on the products — to date easily some 50 studies. Studies are being done and released at such a rapid pace that it’s almost impossible to keep up with all of them.
But Jones brings up a much more interesting argument than the belabored there’s not enough research one. Jones argues that electronic cigarettes essentially ruin the cessation equation set up by existing therapies.
According to Jones, the goal of nicotine replacement therapies like patches, lozenges, and inhalers is to treat the physical addition so that smokers can focus their energies on fighting the psychological one. That is, they give the user the nicotine their body craves. Meanwhile, the user can focus on breaking their need for hand-to-mouth motion, smoke breaks, social aspects of smoking, and more.
By offering an experience that replicates that of smoking, Jones says, electronic cigarettes prevent smokers from breaking the habit. She insinuates that this will prevent individuals from fully quitting. She also argues that people shouldn’t be encouraged to continue shelling money out to the same companies that continued pushing cigarettes even after it was determined that they were cancerous.
You can read her piece right here. We’ll dig into exactly what’s wrong with her arguments soon.