MEDFORD, Ore. — Nancy Lowe was a long-time smoker. And when you smoke for 30 years, she says it’s tough to stop. She says she tried a patch, a prescription and even tried going cold turkey. She says none of that worked.
“There are so many different things that you are addicted to. It’s not just nicotine,” Lowe said.
She says it’s now been more than 17 weeks without a real smoke. “I would just tell myself, this is my cigarette, and that’s what I would smoke.”
She and her husband both started slowly smoking fewer cigarettes and spending more time vaping. They cut down on the amount of nicotine in the device. Now, Lowe only inhales the flavoring.
That flavoring is still not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. So most doctors do not encourage vaping. In fact, a Medford hospital already banned the use of e-cigarettes on its property.
Dr. Michael Siegel is a tobacco researcher and a public health professor at Boston University. Unlike local experts, he sees the success in e-cigarettes. “The first step is to get these people off tobacco, to get them off cigarettes because that’s what’s going to kill them. Electronic cigarettes are not going to kill them, but the tobacco ones might,” Siegel says.
Siegel says the two products are very different. “There’s no tobacco in the product. There’s no smoke. There’s no combustion. This is not smoking. This is vaping. It has completely different characteristics.”
The characteristics may be completely different, but there are enough social and behavioral similarities to keep Lowe from going back to her old habit.