Smokers with COPD have not responded well to smoking cessation programs. This inability to stop has confounded researchers because the disease is profoundly life-changing and leads to premature death.
This is a tragic mind-set. But a number of powerful factors combine to make quitting difficult. Smokers with COPD are heavily dependent on the positive effects of nicotine. Moreover, pervasive stigma leads to shame and a downward spiral of hopelessness and helplessness.
Nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) like the patch, gum and inhaler have little appeal because they don’t provide enough nicotine and its absorption is too slow. Most importantly, these products don’t replicate the rituals of smoking as vaping does.
The smoking cessation medication bupropion have serious side effects, including suicidal thoughts, and can interact in dangerous ways with other drugs, most notably alcohol. Older adults are more susceptible to adverse side effects. Conventional NRTs and going “cold turkey” have failed this vulnerable group of smokers—not the other way around.
Reducing or stopping smoking at any age is beneficial to health. We cannot give up on older adults with smoking-related diseases. This new study clearly demonstrates that vaping makes it possible for the most inveterate smokers with serious health conditions to improve their health and quality of life. Healthcare providers, as best practice, should recommend that senior smokers with COPD transition to vaping.
Research shows that smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who switched to vaping reduced their yearly flare-ups by about 50%
Of course, the best thing you can do for your COPD is the quit smoking completely.
A research study over 5 years found that when COPD patients were using e-cigarettes for the purpose of quitting smoking, they noticed less harmful health effects than those resulting from tobacco smoking.
Smoking cessation is the most effective means of slowing the decline of lung function associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). While effective smoking cessation treatments are available, they are underutilized and nearly half of people with COPD continue to smoke. By addressing both nicotine and behavioural dependence, e-cigarettes could help people with COPD reduce the harm of combustible cigarettes through reductions in number of Cigarettes per day or quitting completely.
It’s important to note research is still ongoing but since I switched from smoking to vaping 8 months ago, I haven’t had a single COPD flare-up.
Further evidence and research can be found here;
The difference between smoking and vaping is that smoking delivers nicotine by burning tobacco, which can cause smoking-related illnesses, and vaping can deliver nicotine by heating a liquid in a much less harmful way.
While nicotine is addictive, it doesn’t cause cancer.
The healthiest option is not to vape or smoke. Don’t vape if you don’t smoke.
One of the best things you can do is talk to others who have quit with vaping. Ask them what they wish they knew before they started and if anything in particular helped them through it.
Personally I wish I had done it 10 year ago when I was diagnosed with COPD.
If you are still smoking and have COPD, no matter what stage you are at, apart from quitting completely vaping offers an alternative which will slow down its progression and also help you quit.
Maybe you have a relative or someone you care for who has COPD, you can help by encouraging them to quit. Why not purchase a disposable vape/e-cigarette for them to try? Many older people like me had no idea they existed.
Even if they don’t have COPD and smoke tobacco quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health.
But do take my word for it, the NHS also advocate it.
What about risks from nicotine?
While nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes, it’s relatively harmless.
Almost all of the harm from smoking comes from the thousands of other chemicals in tobacco smoke, many of which are toxic.
Nicotine replacement therapy has been widely used for many years to help people stop smoking and is a safe treatment.