Can Vape Kits Help Other Addictions?
It has been proven that electronic cigarettes are the best tool to help with smokers with their tobacco addition. Currently, the science shows that vapes work three times better than nicotine replacement products and are the UK’s favourite way of quitting smoking. This success has caused some researchers to wonder if e-cigs could be put to other uses too.
Fabian Steinmetz, a toxicology expert, and Heino Stöver, an addiction specialist, recently had their paper “The cocaine-e-cigarette – A theoretical concept of a harm reduction device for current users of smokable cocaine forms” published in the scientific journal Drug Science, Policy and Law.
The pair have come up with the idea that electronic cigarettes could be used to help people struggling with cocaine addictions – in particular, those who smoke cocaine. They argue that using vape technology could lead to a reduction in overdose and death.
Also, furthering the concept of harm reduction that is the cornerstone of vaping’s success, the pair of academics believe that combatting cocaine addiction in this way will also open more people up to attending treatment sessions to help them quit the drug.
How does the proposed e-cig work?
In almost all regards, the application is the same. A battery supplies electricity to a coil in an atomiser, the tank contains an e-liquid. The only difference is that they foresee the nicotine being replaced by a measured quantity of pharmaceutical-grade cocaine.
Steinmetz told journalists: “I’m definitely not the first person who thought about this. It might be somewhere in between crack and snorting cocaine, but if it helps half of the people, then it helps half the people.”
He points out that the most dangerous aspect when using stimulants such as this is that people are drawn back to reproduce the effect over and over. In turn, this leads to the risk of the person overdosing. This is different to stimulation through the use of nicotine as smokers and vapers self-titrate – this means that you only use your device for vaping when your nicotine level in the blood stream is low and automatically stop vaping when you have reached a satisfactory blood level again.
Also, the body will expel nicotine by vomiting long before an overdose level is reached. Common symptoms of having vaped too much (most often experienced by new users) include feeling clammy, becoming dehydrated, or developing a pounding headache.
Not only would this new application reduce the risk of overdosing, but the pair also believe that it would combat the negative effects of prohibition. For example, people wouldn’t have to purchase dubious substances in dangerous situations.
“This device … could be prescribed to problematic users of smokable cocaine forms to reduce the risk of lung damage, exclude potentially harmful adulterants, limit intake (by formulation and/or technical settings) and also to bring users of smokable cocaine forms into the medical system to address comorbidities and risk factors, for example cardiovascular conditions, insomnia, depression, etc.,” they write, adding that there is the potential for e-cigs to be used for other substance addiction treatments too.
Little did Hon Lik know how useful his electronic cigarette device could prove to be when he invented it in 2002!