CLEVELAND CLINIC NEWS NETWORK - Just over 36 million Americans smoke cigarettes, despite evidence that tobacco use is the largest preventable cause of disease and early death.
Many times, people continue to smoke because it's difficult to quit.
According to Humberto Choi, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic, many who want to quit turn to e-cigarettes, but one recent study says e-cigarettes do not come without risks.
"In the group that used the e-cigarettes with nicotine, there was an increase in heart rate, an increase in blood pressure, and it did find a transient increase in the stiffness of the blood vessels," said Dr. Choi.
Dr. Choi did not take part in the study, but said researches looked at a group of young adults with an average age of 26 and found that those who used e-cigarettes with nicotine not only had cardiovascular symptoms, but also asthma symptoms.
He said there are still some unanswered questions about the long-term effects of e-cigarettes, but that one thing is for sure - e-cigarettes, like regular cigarettes, deliver nicotine, just in a different way.
And research shows the number of people using e-cigarettes has increased dramatically since they first became available ten years ago.
Dr. Choi said often the perception of e-cigarettes is that they are a "healthier" alternative to regular cigarettes.
He said when someone is ready to quit, it's best to stick to tried and true methods, rather than turning to e-cigarettes.
"The best way is a combination of one-to-one counseling," said Dr. Choi. We can also offer nicotine replacement therapies that can be used with gums, lozenges, patches or even a nasal spray, as well as medication."
Dr. Choi said when it comes to kicking a smoking habit for good, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, which is why experts offer several different options. He also said most smokers are not successful in their first attempt to quit, which is why it's important not to give up after the first try.
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