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Study Shows How Much Vapes Can Help Smokers With Schizophrenia

A groundbreaking study from Italy with adults who have schizophrenia spectrum disorders found that using JUUL vapes helped some 40 percent of participants to stop smoking traditional cigarettes by the end of 12 weeks. This finding is of enormous importance because smoking prevalence among people with this diagnosis is a staggering 60 to 90 percent, and there are no signs of the numbers decreasing.

“Smoking is the primary cause of the 15-25 years mortality gap between users of mental health services and the general population,” said Riccardo Polosa, one of the lead researchers. “This study demonstrates that switching to high-strength nicotine e-cigarettes is a feasible, highly effective smoking cessation method for smokers who have schizophrenia. And it improves their quality of life too!”

The study—conducted in collaboration with the University of Stirling, City University of New York and Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research—enrolled 40 adult smokers with schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

Aged between 22 and 65, the participants all said at the outset that they did not intend to quit or reduce their smoking. They were each given a free starter kit—containing one JUUL device with a 5 percent nicotine pod flavored with Virginia tobacco and a charger—and taught how to use it. In addition, participants were asked to maintain a daily study diary to record product use, number of tobacco cigarettes smoked and any adverse side effects.

Among the study’s key findings:

*Researchers observed [either] an overall, sustained 50 percent reduction in smoking or complete smoking abstinence in 92.5 percent of participants at the end of 12 weeks.

*Researchers observed an overall 75 percent reduction in median daily cigarette consumption, from 25 to six, by the end of the 12 weeks.

*After six months, 35 percent of participants had completely stopped smoking conventional tobacco cigarettes, while continuing to use e-cigarettes.

*After six months, 57.5 percent of participants reduced their cigarette usage by over 50 percent.

*Participants’ mean blood pressure, heart rate and weight measurably decreased between the start of the study and the 12-week follow up.

*Positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia were not significantly different after using e-cigarettes throughout the duration of the study.

*At the end of the study 61.9 percent of participants reported feeling more awake, less irritable, and experiencing greater concentration and reduced hunger.

These findings are remarkable and should give hope to the international mental health community that has essentially given up on helping smokers with schizophrenia.

For people with this diagnosis, the reality is it’s particularly difficult to go without the positive effects that nicotine provides: Increased energy and concentration, relaxation, reduced anxiety, minimization of the side effects of medication and the normalizing of sensory gating. Nicotine also provides pleasure because it releases lots of dopamine—the “feel good” neurotransmitter. Other challenges to quitting include lack of motivation and not fully understanding the long-term, negative consequences of smoking on health.

For decades, the only options beyond “quit or die” were nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in the form of patches, gums and inhalers, and the prescription medications bupropion and varenicline. These smoking cessation treatments have only short-term success and for a combination of reasons they are unappealing.

Many smokers with schizophrenia are dependent on very high doses of nicotine and often chain-smoke throughout the day or night. NRT simply doesn’t deliver sufficient nicotine, or fast enough. With a patch or gum, it can take up to 20 minutes for nicotine to reach the brain; with inhalation, it takes about 8 seconds.

Traditional NRT also eliminates rituals of smoking which are critically important to many people—in particular, hand-to-mouth movement and the process of inhalation and exhalation. And for some people with schizophrenia, a cigarette gives them something to do with their hands that helps to relieve loneliness and boredom. The power of vaping is that the enjoyable and comforting rituals remain, while the dangers of combustion are eliminated.

The researchers acknowledged the small number enrolled in the study, the lack of a control group, and the need for randomized control studies. However, they rightly concluded, “This study showed that use of a new-generation e-cigarette, with a high nicotine content, in participants not motivated to quit, substantially decreased cigarette consumption without causing significant side effects.”

The study is a call to action for those who work with smokers with schizophrenia. Now is the time to offer a range of vaping products to this vulnerable group and support the switch.

This research is also a call-out to the tobacco control organizations, frequently funded by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, that deny vaping’s efficacy in helping people to quit smoking; spread the misconception that vapes are not safer than cigarettes; and support bans.

If their worldwide war on vaping isn’t stopped, people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders, among many other vulnerable populations, will continue to pay with their lives for a lack of access to safer nicotine products. (4)

Daily use of e-cigarette can help you quit smoking

In order to quit smoking, using e-cigarettes daily may help an individual, suggest the findings of a new study published by King’s College London.

The study also supports their effectiveness when compared to other methods of quitting, including nicotine replacement therapy or medication.

Although the number of people in England who smoke has continued to fall in recent years, tobacco smoking is still the leading preventable cause of premature death and disease – killing nearly 75,000 people in England in 2019.

While e-cigarettes have been around for more than a decade, evidence on their effectiveness in helping people to quit smoking is still limited. Recent studies have produced inconsistent findings or failed to measure important factors such as frequency of use or the effect of different types of e-cigarette on attempts to quit.

In their Cancer Research UK-funded study, the researchers analyzed data from an online survey of more than 1,155 people, which included smokers, ex-smokers who had quit within one year prior to completing the survey, and e-cigarette users.

Five waves of data were collected between 2012 and 2017. The researchers analyzed the effectiveness of e-cigarettes in aiding abstinence from smoking for at least one month at follow-up, and at least one month of abstinence between the first survey and subsequent follow-up waves.

Published in the journal Addiction, the study found that people who used a refillable e-cigarette daily to quit smoking were over five times more likely to achieve abstinence from tobacco smoking for one month, compared to those using no quitting aids at all.

Similarly, people, who used a disposable or cartridge e-cigarette daily, were three times more likely to quit for one month, compared to those using no help.

Daily use of e-cigarettes was also more effective for quitting than other evidence-based methods of quitting – including nicotine replacement therapy, medication such as bupropion or varenicline, or any combination of these aids. None of these methods were associated with abstinence from smoking at follow-up, compared to using no help at all. However, in secondary analysis, prescription medicine was associated with achieving at least one month of abstinence from smoking.

Dr Mairtin McDermott, Research Fellow at King’s College London’s National Addiction Centre and lead author of the study, said: “Our results show that when used daily, e-cigarettes help people to quit smoking, compared to no help at all. These findings are in line with previous research, showing that e-cigarettes are a more effective aid for quitting than nicotine replacement therapy and prescribed medication.

“It’s important that we routinely measure how often people use e-cigarettes, as we’ve seen that more sporadic use at follow-up — specifically of refillable types — was not associated with abstinence.”

Dr Leonie Brose, Reader at King’s College London’s national Addiction Centre, added: “Despite the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) cautious stance on e-cigarettes, studies like ours show they are still one of the most effective quitting aids available.

“The WHO is especially concerned about refillable e-cigarettes, as these could allow the user to add harmful substances or higher levels of nicotine. However, we’ve shown that refillable types, in particular, are a very effective quitting aid when used daily, and this evidence should be factored into any future guidance around their use.”

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11 Battery Safety Tips to Keep You More Protected

Vape Batteries are not like your remote-control AAs. They are much more powerful cells that need to be handled carefully. And while battery safety tips may seem like common sense to those who are in the know, new vapers are often handed a vape mod and a couple of 18650s without any advice on how to properly handle them.

Read on to find out the basics of battery safety, but bear in mind that this is not a mechanical mod safety guide; for that, you will need a solid understanding of Ohm’s law and much more info than what can be covered in this beginner’s guide. But if you own a regulated vape mod that is powered by batteries such as 18650s or 21700s, this guide is for you.

Keep wraps intact

Always make sure that the wraps of your batteries are in pristine condition. If you notice a nick on the battery wrap, the safe thing to do is to re-wrap it. Battery wraps are cheap and very easy to put on. If you don’t have wraps, visit your local vape shop. Most shops will wrap your batteries for free and it won’t take more than a couple of minutes. Check out Mike Vapes’ video on how to quickly and easily rewrap your batteries.

Use the right batteries

Some batteries are better for low wattage vaping, others are better for sub-ohm vaping, and others are not supposed to be used for vaping at all. When picking batteries for your mod, make sure that they come in the appropriate specs. Don’t just read the ratings on the wraps, as those are often misleading. Check for independent battery reviews, and always stay below your battery’s CDR (continuous discharge rating).

Use battery cases

Never throw batteries in pockets or bags when not in use.  Get yourself some cheap plastic battery cases instead, as unprotected batteries might short circuit when they come in contact with metal objects. This may cause your battery to vent and potentially explode. Battery cases are a great solution for carrying your cells and they come in a variety of materials and designs.

Watch out for counterfeits

Counterfeit batteries are unfortunately a thing, with the big three (Sony, Samsung, Panasonic) being the most commonly counterfeited brands due to their higher price tag. Always buy batteries from reputable vendors, as those will go out of their way to make sure their batteries are authentic.

Use a dedicated charger

Charging your batteries directly in your mod is possible with most devices nowadays, but it’s always safer to use a dedicated battery charger. A simple charger can cost less than a 60 mL bottle of e-juice! Stepping up a bit in price will add features such as battery data and health monitoring.

Don’t leave your batteries charging unattended

Even when using a charger, having your batteries charging unattended is never a good idea—especially overnight. Although very rare, battery chargers are electronic devices and failures are not unheard of. Always keep an eye on your charging batteries and place them in battery cases when you are not around.

Don’t over-drain your batteries

If possible, try to not completely drain your batteries — lithium-ion batteries tend to lose more capacity the further you let them discharge. Most mods will come with some form of battery level indication. Taking your batteries out to charge before they are completely drained will prolong their life, i.e. the number of cycles you will be able to get out of them.

Avoid extreme temperatures

Vape batteries can tolerate low and high temperatures, but you wouldn’t want to test their limits. Higher temperatures will strain your batteries, making them age faster (or even vent), while colder temperatures take a toll on battery capacity. Make sure you store them in a cool place away from sunlight and never ever leave them stored in places like the glove compartment of your car where temperatures might exceed their safety range. If you live in an area where the temperatures frequently get extreme, consider carrying your vape device and batteries in a small insulated lunch cooler—but remember that your batteries should always be carried inside their own battery case.

Use married batteries

If you are using a mod that takes more than one battery, always use the exact same batteries (for example, a pair of Sony VTC5s) and keep them married, i.e. use them in pairs and always together—it’s a safe practice. This will ensure that the cells get the same number of charges/discharges and help delay imbalances in capacity and performance.

Replace old batteries

Batteries are only good up to a certain number of cycles (full charge to full discharge). Lithium-ion batteries will start losing capacity and strength when used extensively for long periods of time. If you sense that your battery takes less time to discharge, just replace it. Even if you haven’t noticed something out of the ordinary, replace your batteries after six months to a year, depending on how often you use them.

Recycle old batteries

When replacing old batteries, always recycle them instead of throwing them away. A lithium-ion cell can easily short-circuit in the trash can, which is a serious hazard risk. On top of that, recycling batteries is good for the environment. Keep an eye for battery disposal boxes and follow safety instructions when recycling your old batteries.