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LETTER: Don’t discount e-cigs’ potential to help smokers quit

SHARON, N.D. — I found the recent opinion pieces on e-cigarettes very interesting (Page F1, March 23).

I smoked for more than 40 years and finally have been able to quit, thanks to these devices.

In the past, I had tried all of the officially approved methods to quit smoking. But I never quit wanting to smoke, and I always started up again as soon as I was under stress.

This time, I haven’t wanted to smoke again, despite several very stressful events in my life.

I would particularly like to respond to some of Dr. Eric Johnson’s points (“E-cigs’ risks are real while benefits are scant,” column).

There is research being done about the safety and efficacy of using personal vaporizers. I’d strongly suggest that Johnson should read some of it before downplaying “vaping” as a method for quitting smoking.

I wish that there was more research being done, but as I am sure Johnson knows, research takes money and time.

For a quick listing of some of the recent studies from around the world, I would suggest that he start with The Ultimate List of E-Cig Studies: Are E-Cigs Actually Safe? at

Yes, the site could be considered a biased source, but the science cited is not.

E-cigarettes may have been invented 35 years ago, but they have not been widely used until recently. I regret the fact that the big tobacco companies are taking over what has been an independent industry, and I am afraid that many of the regulations being proposed will drive many of the Mom and Pop businesses out of business.

But I suspect that Big Tobacco entering the field will result in more research, not less, since the companies can afford to sponsor it.

The many flavors, colors and styles are being marketed to adults. If adults didn’t appreciate flavored products, there would be no use for any alcohol other than plain grain spirits, would there?

I participate on the Electronic Cigarette Forum, and most of the adults there prefer sweet flavors. I also have seen pictures there of Hello Kitty themed devices posted by the adults who choose and use them.

Yes, I’m still a nicotine user, but nicotine is not the cause of the health problems caused by cigarettes. This has been shown in the studies of the pharmaceutical nicotine replacement products.

E-cigarettes have the potential to help a lot of people who haven’t been able to quit smoking with the methods previously available. This is not a minimal benefit; it is a major one.

Amoret McCullough Hinkley