Can Medical Providers Recommend E-cigarettes for Smoking Cessation?

E-cigarettes for Smoking Cessation

Smoking has a lot of consequences to one’s health. It can lead to cancer, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease—all of which are chronic diseases. This is part of the reason why the Health and Human Services agency reports that 70% of adult smokers want to quit. As a medical provider, adults looking to stop smoking will come to you for advice and treatment. One alternative smoking product you might want to recommend is an e-cigarette, given their prevalence in recent years.

In this article, let’s take a deeper look at whether e-cigarettes’ should be recommended for smoking cessation and what other treatment options to endorse to patients.

 

Are e-cigarettes approved for smoking cessation?

Electronic cigarettes, more commonly known as e-cigarettes, are devices that vaporize nicotine-based liquid to be inhaled by its user. It almost replicates the experience of smoking a cigarette due to the device’s shape and the vapor it produces. However, the FDA has yet to approve e-cigarettes for smoking cessation because there is currently limited research on their effectiveness, benefits, and risks for the human body.

Additionally, scientists at the University of California found harmful metals in the vapor from tank-style e-cigarettes. These e-cigarettes are equipped with high-power batteries and atomizers to store more liquid. These result in high concentrations of metals like iron, lead, and nickel in the vapor. Exposure to and inhaling metallic particles may impair lung function and cause chronic respiratory diseases. As such, medical providers should not recommend e-cigarettes for smoking cessation.

 

What can medical providers recommend for smoking cessation?

Smoking cessation medication

Presently, two FDA-approved prescription medicines for smoking cessation are Bupropion and Varenicline. Bupropion is an antidepressant that decreases tobacco cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It does this by increasing the brain chemicals dopamine and noradrenaline. This comes in a pill and can be used alongside other smoking cessation aids.

Varenicline also reduces cravings and nicotine withdrawal symptoms. It blocks nicotine receptors in the brain, decreasing the amount of enjoyment one gets from smoking. One thing to note about this is that it will take several days for Varenicline's effects to take place. Therefore, it's best to prescribe these pills 1-2 weeks before the patient quits smoking. Like Bupropion, Varenicline may be used simultaneously with other quit-smoking products.

 

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is a treatment involving nicotine consumption at gradually decreasing levels. This reduces the patient’s desire to smoke without them having to quit cold turkey. NRT involves using nicotine alternatives that don’t produce smoke, such as nicotine pouches and nicotine gum.

Nicotine pouches are oral products containing ingredients like nicotine, flavoring, and plant-based fibers. These are placed between the lip and gum, where nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstream. Different variations have different strengths. On! pouches come in different strengths: 2mg, 4mg, and 8mg. Patients may start from 8mg variants and gradually decrease this dosage as their NRT progresses. Pouches also come in a wide range of flavors—including citrus, mint, and berry—to entice users.

Meanwhile, nicotine gum is chewing gum that contains nicotine. It is chewed a few times before being parked between the gums and cheek for nicotine absorption. The nicotine gums by Lucy are a significantly better alternative for tobacco users. Like pouches, this gum comes in several flavors, such as cinnamon, mango, and wintergreen, and different strengths ranging from 2mg to 6mg.

 

Counseling

The recommendations mentioned above—medication and NRT—are more effective when coupled with counseling. A Primary Care Respiratory Medicine study revealed that successful smoking cessation is best attained through pharmacological treatment and counseling. Sessions typically involve a patient meeting with a counselor and they discuss their smoking habits, possible causes, and how to mitigate them. Medical providers should include counseling in addition to medication and NRT.

E-cigarettes have yet to be approved by the FDA as smoking cessation aids. For now, medical providers should provide medication, NRT, and counseling to patients who want to quit smoking.

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Pending customary regulatory approvals, clearances, and closing conditions, the proposed acquisition would bring four medical centers in Lakewood, Los Alamitos, Fountain Valley and Placentia and associated outpatient locations into the UCI Health system. UCI Health currently delivers care at UCI Medical Center in Orange and a growing network of multispecialty care centers. "At UCI Health, we are excited to add these new care sites to the UCI Health network and extend the benefits of our compassionate, high-level care, clinical innovation, and scientific discovery," said Chad Lefteris, president and chief executive officer of UCI Health. "As Orange County's only academic health system, UCI Health is unique in its ability to offer the highest level of advanced care powered by the research and innovation of a world-class public research institution." UCI Health recognizes a unique opportunity to build on the quality care already being delivered in the communities served by Tenet Healthcare's Pacific Coast Network. "These four hospitals are well-regarded in their communities for providing high-quality, compassionate care," said Saum Sutaria, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of Tenet Healthcare. "The local communities will benefit from the nationally recognized advancements, medical knowledge, research, and community focus that UCI Health brings as an innovative academic health system. UCI Health recognizes a unique opportunity to build on the quality care already being delivered in the communities served by the Pacific Coast Network." In a region with a population greater than that of two dozen states, UCI Health operates the only Level I trauma center, locally based National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal-neonatal service and is the largest regional burn center and leading provider of complex tertiary and quaternary care. The system's clinical excellence has consistently placed UCI Health in the top 10 for quality and safety among the nation's leading comprehensive academic health systems. The acquisition also means more patients will have access to advanced therapies in the region's largest and most diverse portfolio of clinical trials, ranging from cancer to neurosciences, digestive diseases, orthopedics and internal medicine specialties. UCI Health and Tenet Healthcare's Pacific Coast Network patients can continue receiving care at their local facilities as they normally would from the care teams they know and trust. The transaction is expected to be completed in spring 2024, subject to customary regulatory approvals, clearances, and closing conditions. "It is a privilege to provide world-class care to Californians and we are excited to welcome the clinicians and co-workers from these Tenet Healthcare sites to UCI Health as partners in improving the health of local communities," Lefteris said. About UCI Health UCI Health is the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine, and the only academic health system in Orange County. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif. The 459-bed, acute care hospital, listed among America's Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 23 consecutive years, provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center is home to Orange County's only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center, gold level 1 geriatric emergency department and regional burn center. About UC Irvine About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation's top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 37,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It's located in one of the world's safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County's second-largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. About Tenet Healthcare Tenet Healthcare Corporation is a diversified healthcare services company headquartered in Dallas. Our care delivery network includes United Surgical Partners International, the largest ambulatory platform in the country, which operates or has ownership interests in more than 480 ambulatory surgery centers and surgical hospitals. We also operate 58 acute care and specialty hospitals, approximately 110 other outpatient facilities, a network of leading employed physicians and a global business center in Manila, Philippines. Our Conifer Health Solutions subsidiary provides revenue cycle management and value-based care services to hospitals, health systems, physician practices, employers, and other clients. Across the Tenet enterprise, we are united by our mission to deliver quality, compassionate care in the communities we serve.

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Health Technology

Beckman Coulter Unveils DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer, Expanding Portfolio with Proven Six Sigma Performance

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics | January 30, 2024

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics, a clinical diagnostics leader, will unveil its new DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer, an automated clinical chemistry analyzer, at Medlab Middle East in Dubai, taking place February 5-8, 2024. The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer is one of several recent Beckman Coulter solutions designed to address the complete needs of healthcare systems that are looking to complement central hub laboratories by advancing the technology and capabilities of satellite and independent hospital laboratories. "Healthcare systems around the world are strategically adopting hub-and-spoke models for better efficiency and healthcare access," said Kathleen Orland, Senior Vice President, Business Unit, General Manager, Chemistry and Immunoassay for Beckman Coulter Diagnostics. "Hub-and-spoke clinical laboratory models optimize resources to improve access to testing services and enhance overall standardization for quality testing and positive impact on inventory and cost management across a health system. The new DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer advances capabilities of spoked labs with a broad menu of high-quality assays that deliver consistent, commutable results across Beckman Coulter's AU clinical chemistry systems, positively impacting clinical decision-making and patient outcomes." The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer features advanced automation technology, onboard guided workflows, and standardized reagents for use across healthcare networks. Its menu of more than 120 assays has been independently and objectively verified for high quality Six Sigma performance, supporting confidence in clinical results, reducing QC trouble shooting and lab operational costs. "Our Six Sigma assessment has shown that the DxC 500 AU analyzer easily exceeds the demands of the new, more stringent CLIA 2024 performance specifications," stated Sten Westgard, Director of Client Services and Technology for Westgard QC. The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer is for in vitro diagnostic use only. It is available throughout North America and the Middle East. Global commercial availability is planned for March 2024. About Beckman Coulter. Inc. A global leader in advanced diagnostics, Beckman Coulter has challenged convention to elevate the diagnostic laboratory's role in improving patient health for more than 80 years. Our mission is to Relentlessly Reimagine Healthcare, One Diagnosis at a Time – and we do this by applying the power of science, technology and the passion and creativity of our teams. Our diagnostic solutions are used in complex clinical testing, and are found in hospitals, reference laboratories and physician office settings around the globe. We exist to deliver smarter, faster diagnostic solutions that move the needle forward from what's now to what's next. We seek to accelerate care with an extensive clinical menu, scalable lab automation technologies, insightful clinical informatics, and optimize lab performance services. Headquartered in Brea, Calif., with more than 11,000 global team members, Beckman Coulter Diagnostics is proud to be part of Danaher. Danaher is a global science and technology leader. Together we combine our capabilities to accelerate the real-life impact of tomorrow's science and technology to improve human health. ©2024 Beckman Coulter. All rights reserved. Beckman Coulter, the stylized logo, and the Beckman Coulter product and service marks mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Beckman Coulter, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

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