As more smoke-free alternatives come onto the market, and adult smokers are presented with more options for switching from continued smoking, there are also some myths around these products.
Sometimes a myth may come from a lack of understanding, and sometimes it may be driven by misinformation. Today, we will try to debunk the most common myths, and provide adult smokers with the answers to commonly asked questions about smoke-free alternatives.
What are smoke-free alternatives?
As the name implies, smoke-free alternatives do not generate smoke. This means that, unlike cigarettes, these should not burn tobacco. Smoke-free products are not risk-free and provide nicotine, which is addictive.
What is heated tobacco?
Heated tobacco products are designed to heat tobacco to precise temperatures, preventing combustion or burning, and instead releasing the flavour of heated tobacco, without fire, ash or smoke.
What is vaping, and what is an e-cigarette?
E-cigarettes – also called e-cigs or vapes – are a type of smoke-free alternative that may be well-recognized among adult smokers and users. Vapes are handheld, battery-powered devices that come in various sizes, with many customization options.
Some e-cigarettes are disposable, while others can be reused. Some may look like cigarettes, others resemble cigars or pens, and others are much larger boxier designs.
In general, e-cigarettes work by heating and vaporizing e-liquids that contain nicotine. Heating to a specific temperature causes the e-liquid to evaporate and generate an aerosol, which is inhaled by the adult user.
What is chewing tobacco?
Chewing tobacco, also referred to as oral tobacco or spit tobacco, is a smoke-free alternative that usually comes in the form of loose leaves, plugs or twists of coarsely chopped, dried tobacco which may also be flavoured.
What is snuff?
Snuff, also referred to as dipping tobacco, is usually made of loose, dried, finely pulverized tobacco, and can come in different scents and flavours.
Typically packed in tins or cans, dried snuff is inhaled through the nose, and moist snuff can be placed in the lower lip and gum to absorb nicotine. Like chewing tobacco, excess saliva is spat out.
What is snus?
Snus originated from a variant of dried snuff. Like snuff, snus is usually finely ground but comes enclosed in a small pouch. Snus is typically inserted between the upper lip and gum. It does not generate as much saliva as chewing tobacco or snuff, allowing the snus user to simply swallow any saliva.
Debunked: 6 myths around smoke-free alternatives
Now that you have a better sense of the smoke-free alternatives that are available today, let’s go through some common questions about these products.
1. Are smoke-free alternatives a healthy and safe alternative to smoking?
No, none of the nicotine-containing products is safe, including smoke-free ones.
The best decision any smoker can make is to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether.
At the end of the day, vaping, heated tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff, and snus products contain nicotine, which is addictive and is not risk-free.
2. Are smoke-free alternatives the same as cigarettes?
No, smoke-free alternatives are not the same as cigarettes. Cigarettes require the burning of tobacco which produces smoke. The key difference with smoke-free alternatives is that in general, they do not require burning and thus, do not produce smoke.
For example, vaping involves the heating of e-liquid, and heated tobacco involves the usage of an electronic device that heats tobacco and is intended to prevent tobacco from burning. Both smoke-free alternatives release a nicotine-containing aerosol, but no smoke.
And while some heated tobacco devices may utilize tobacco sticks that may appear similar in design to a cigarette, these tobacco sticks are designed to be used with their respective devices and should not be burned or smoked.
3. Is vaping safe without nicotine, or is it safe to use smoke-free products without nicotine?
No, vaping is not necessarily less harmful without nicotine. Many smoke-free alternatives contain nicotine, and this is especially true for the alternatives that use real tobacco.
However, whether it is delivered through a cigarette or a smoke-free alternative, nicotine is addictive and not risk-free.
4. Are all smoke-free alternatives the same?
No, smoke-free alternatives are not all the same.
5. Are smoke-free alternatives such as vaping not addictive?
No, smoke-free alternatives provide nicotine, which is addictive.
6. Should I switch from cigarettes to smoke-free alternatives?
The best option to reduce the health risks associated with the use of tobacco and nicotine products is to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether.
This article is for general information and educational purposes. Some of the information in this article is based on external, third-party sources and we make no representations or warranties of any kind regarding the accuracy, validity or completeness of such information.