In today's article we are looking at a surprising benefit to the e-cigarette, to help people with mental health problems. People with depression, schizophrenia and ADHD find the nicotine helps to calm and relax them. The problem however is that though this helps their mental health, the cigarettes will start to harm the body. People with these conditions then had to make the choice, a healthier mind or body.
But hopefully not for much longer.
Research has shown that people with mental health problems are more likely to smoke cigarettes, more likely to be dependent on nicotine and have a greater difficulty quitting smoking than those without mental health problems. Almost 90% of schizophrenics are smokers and the percentage of those with bipolar and panic disorders, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder who are smokers is also very high. A study carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US found that people with mental health problems accounted for 31% of cigarettes smoked the in the country.
Although cigarettes may relieve symptoms of mental disorders, they also increase mortality rates – a report from the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors showed that patients in psychiatric hospitals will on average die 25 years earlier than the general population. Many factors contribute to this difference, but diseases caused by smoking may account for part of it.
Nicotine-replacement therapies and e-cigarettes may be a solution to this problem. There are many "smoking cessation therapies" – gums, patches and sprays – that reduce cravings for cigarettes, while allowing the smoker to avoid the adverse effects of tobacco. Because of the absence of tobacco and combustion, e-cigarette vapour is devoid of the carcinogens tobacco contains.
Professor Peter Hajek, director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary, thinks that e-cigarettes are a promising development. He said: "Some wards give out nicotine replacements, such as patches, so considering e-cigarettes in the same light would make sense. Giving psychiatric patients access to e-cigarettes, particularly on closed wards, is definitely something to consider."
A 2013 study at the University of Catania, Italy, put this into practice. It showed that electronic cigarettes could cut down schizophrenic patients' standard cigarette consumption without having an adverse effect on their schizophrenic symptoms - which implies that e-cigarettes may be just as effective as tobacco cigarettes at reducing the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Stories like this show how much of a help the e-cig could be, if more people stopped reacting to them as if they were the simply a fancier cigarette. If they can truly help people without the constant risk of cancer then shouldn't they be embraced as the revolutionary device they are, rather then treated as dangerous goods.
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Read the whole article at http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/may/05/e-cigarettes-mental-health-vaping
Image credit: Allan Ajifo