Smoke from E-Cigs Still Poses Some Second-Hand Risk

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It’s not real tobacco smoke, but the emissions from electronic cigarettes can still contain harmful ingredients.

A new study published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research shows that e-cigarettes generate enough nicotine emissions that they can be inhaled by those near a smoker. The researchers conducted two studies on three brands of e-cigarettes that investigated what the devices emitted into the surrounding air.

In the first study, the scientists used a smoke machine to “smoke” the cigarettes and then measure the concentrations of nicotine and other volatile organic compounds such as carbon monoxide released. They compared these emissions to those of standard cigarettes. Then, the team asked five male participants to smoke both tobacco and e-cigarettes in a room that measured contaminant exposure.

The found that e-cigarettes are a source of second-hand exposure to nicotine, but not of other compounds released when tobacco is burned. And the nicotine exposure was 10 times less than that from tobacco smoke.

However, another recent study from New York University researchers reported that e-cigarette smokers may not be spared such exposures. They inhale more nicotine because they puff more often and tend to breathe in more deeply than regular cigarette smokers. So higher nicotine consumption may be a risk for e-cig smokers.

Both studies suggest there’s much still to be learned about the health risks of e-cigarettes, including their effect not just on smokers but on those around them. The Food and Drug Administration currently does not regulate e-cigarettes, but has proposed a rule that would give the agency more regulatory power over the devices.


People in our office smoke e-cigarettes, and the smell makes me feel sick, and it dry's the back of my throat.  I think they should be banned from public areas, the same as smoking real cigarettes.


Some of you clearly need to do more research on the subject.  First of all, "inhaling" and "digesting" chemicals are two entirely different things.  Inhaling "nicotine" and other chemicals into your lungs is different than eating a tomato!!  Furthermore, how could inhaling ANY chemical into your lungs be good for you or less damaging that cigarettes?  Food for thought.


Let me do some quick calculations here. According to the study, the most nicotine produced by an e-cigarette was 6.23ug per cubic meter, or approximately the volume of a 10 square foot room. Pureed tomatoes contain 19.2ug of nicotine per gram. So that means that a person eating slightly over a tenth of an ounce of tomato sauce would get the same exact nicotine as someone standing in a small room with active e-cigarette vapor. Of course, that depends on whether or not the scientists that performed this study took into account the amount of nicotine that the user absorbs, since there is absolutely no side stream product. Sounds to me like we need to ban tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflower and especially eggplant right along with e-cigarettes. Think of the children!


Quick!  No more brewing coffee at the office!  It is creating water vapor CONTAMINATED with second hand caffeine!


Complaint regarding Mail on Sunday article 27 January 2013: E-cigarettes ‘can cause more harm than smoking’, experts say

1. The headline and premise of the story is completely inaccurate – there are no circumstances in which e-cigarettes cause more harm than smoking. In reality they are almost harmless – probably at least 99% less risky than cigarette smoking. No expert would say this and none has.

2. There is no fact or argument in the article to support the headline or its main premise. This is simply asserted by the by the journalist in the first sentence of the article, and in the headline. The fact that e-cigarettes ‘can cause acute respiratory system irritation’ in some users is barely relevant. An ‘irritation’ is a minor issue compared to cancer, heart disease and emphysema caused by smoking. It is these chronic conditions that do the most harm. Most e-cigarette users don’t experience this irritation and no figures are given on how many people are afflicted by this irritation or how severely. So even the one health impact that is mentioned is asserted without any quantification or sense of its seriousness. It certainly is not described in a way that justifies the headline or premise of the article. Inflammation and irritation of the respiratory tract is common in smokers (smokers’ cough) – as well as cancer, heart disease etc.

3. No experts are quoted in the article saying e-cigarettes ‘can cause more harm than smoking’ – yet this quote is used in the headline and is unattributed. No experts have said this because it is not true. The article doesn’t even support its own (false) premise.

4. There is implicit misleading scaremongering about ‘the chemical propylene glycol’ (why mention it otherwise?). In reality this is a largely benign substance used as a food additive and in medicines.

A grossly inaccurate story like this could have real impacts on human welfare if it discourages people from switching from smoking cigarettes to e-cigarettes. It is also unfairly damaging to numerous small businesses trying to grow the market for a much safer alternative to smoking. This is particularly irresponsible, ill-informed, and lazy journalism.


The "denormalization" strategy is a medical / Pharmaceutical promotion, costing more than 100 Billion Dollars to date. The word itself screams violence, hatred and inhumanity. Regardless, it is the mainstay of promoted smoking  bans and cigarette taxation. Now spreading it's wings to outdoor smoking bans and electronic cigarettes where science understands no level of risk exists for those being pushed to hate. We see identical hate being promoted for those who are overweight of those who consume alcohol along with a bevy of nanny state, paternalist promotions, in all areas of human activities where governments desire more control.

People learn hatred. It is far easier to teach them to love and understand each other.

Mandela et al

That promotion would have cost us practically nothing, because before the promotions and fear mongering by bell curve "research" we all seemed to have gotten along just fine. For every Billion Dollars invested in the current form of "research" by estimates and "so say all" technologies. We could have invested in 1000 million dollar research grants in real labs with real biological observations. By now, most of the so called smoking "related" diseases might well be curable.

In that perspective are we really well served by the Billions invested in de-humanist activities, such as we see herein?


If this so called "Journalist" has given this article her best effort,This report reflects badly on the quality of education offered "from the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism."  Anyone with even a precursory understanding of the subject matter, would be remiss to educate themselves, on the facts at hand prior to wading into something she obviously knows very little about. Perhaps in search of fear mongering to mislead the audience, a bold print headline, or whatever agenda she is supporting today. 

Tobacco Farmers handle nicotine in the fields all day long for months on end  There is something they call green tobacco sickness which would serve us well here, in understanding nicotine Do a search for green tobacco sickness and see what you find, The symptoms of green tobacco sickness, are also seen with the use of nicotine patches and gum, however they are not seen among people who use e-cigarettes or those who smoke cigarettes. Leading us to question the safety of the preferred "medical treatments" being shilled shamelessly, by every facet of the Public Health industry and by the body part charities at large, all of whom are handsomely rewarded for their efforts [we call that prostitution in normalized terms],  

Nicotine has an ignition point below its boiling point and when smoked the greatest proportion is burned up and oxidized to form nicotinic acid, which is a purer form of niacin, than the cheaper mass produced kind you buy in the store as a supplement  or the variety used to enrich your wheat products [your daily bread.]. The e-cig is designed to replicate levels experienced by smoking, meaning if the users are feeling sick, as though they were wearing a patch, they are consuming too much. Smokers are able to switch to e-cigs and in fact quit smoking, only because the experience is closer to what you experience by smoking, than the effects of patches and gum. Medical treatments? which in real research have been shown to be effective less than 1% of the time. Meaning people who are being pushed by their "medical experts" to use these products, are being defrauded 99% of the time.Nub-oil never had it so good, or was the payola behind its marketing so well connected and intertwined, with the people we should be able to trust and sadly that is no longer true.

Isn't it time? the Journalists got back onto a more ethical and redeeming path, by cutting ties with the ad agencies and speak for themselves distinctly and clearly, as representative of something else?


This pretty well destroys the Myth of second hand smoke:

Lungs from pack-a-day smokers safe for transplant, study finds.

By JoNel Aleccia, Staff Writer, NBC News.

Using lung transplants from heavy smokers may sound like a cruel joke, but a new study finds that organs taken from people who puffed a pack a day for more than 20 years are likely safe.

What’s more, the analysis of lung transplant data from the U.S. between 2005 and 2011 confirms what transplant experts say they already know: For some patients on a crowded organ waiting list, lungs from smokers are better than none.

“I think people are grateful just to have a shot at getting lungs,” said Dr. Sharven Taghavi, a cardiovascular surgical resident at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, who led the new study...........................

Ive done the math here and this is how it works out with second ahnd smoke and people inhaling it!

The 16 cities study conducted by the U.S. DEPT OF ENERGY and later by Oakridge National laboratories discovered:

Cigarette smoke, bartenders annual exposure to smoke rises, at most, to the equivalent of 6 cigarettes/year.


A bartender would have to work in second hand smoke for 2433 years to get an equivalent dose.

Then the average non-smoker in a ventilated restaurant for an hour would have to go back and forth each day for 119,000 years to get an equivalent 20 years of smoking a pack a day! Pretty well impossible ehh!


Will the prohibitionist propaganda ever stop?  Even if it were true that ''second hand vapor'' contains nicotine, what's the problem?  There is nothing harmful about nicotine in low doses such as found in real cigarettes.  The body metabolizes it in the form of cotinine and cotinine has also been found to be harmless:  ''This study demonstrates that short-term administration of cotinine to humans at levels as high as 10 times that attained from cigarette smoking is safe with no observable acute or withdrawal effects from cotinine in this setting.''

And it's not as if anyone can get addicted to it from breathing it in ''second hand''.  When's the last time you heard  of anyone getting addicted to smoking because they were living with a smoker?


Nonsense.  If the study is the one I've read before, the researchers, DESPITE all of the wonders of 21st century technology, weren't even able to MEASURE nanograms and picograms and femtograms of nicotine in the ambient air of a sealed scientific chamber: they had to take measurements from little tubes that had vapor pumped directly into them in order to get a reading.

In terms of the INTENSITY of the reading they got, I believe it worked out, in normal situations, to a non-vaper having to hang out in a room with vapers for something on the order of 50,000 ro 500,000 hours to approach the maximum "safe" levels of atmospheric nicotine designated by OSHA.   This article, just like so many of the ones you read in support of ordinary smoking bans, is propaganda -- maybe innocently repeated by a reporter who hasn't read widely enough in the field to recognize it for what it is, but simple propaganda nonetheless.

The study and its details of course are hidden from the general public who don't have grants to pay for access, but from the abstract I believe my analysis above is true.  One of the authors appears to be the same Mark Travers who made a name for himself traveling around to bars with little sniffers to measure PM 2.5 levels and then blatantly ignore EPA guidelines in comparing one hour readings to twenty-four hour standards.  I believe those little jaunts were funded at $50,000 to $75,000 apiece.  In at least some research along those lines the student "volunteers" being paid to do the sniffing were assured that there was "no risk" involved from the exposures to tobacco smoke they'd be getting in smoky bars and restaurants: a VERY different story than what those researchers generally offer to the public.

Michael J. McFadden

Author of "TobakkoNacht -- The Antismoking Endgame"


What is the risk of nicotine though? Nicotine itself is not a carcinogen. That's the whole point of vaping. You get the nicotine without all the nasty chemical byproducts of burning.


Vaping is not the same as smoking a cigarettes or hookahs as in a hookah a burned mixture of tobacco and molasses is drawn through water to cool the smoke.  Burning creates cancer-causingc chemicals that are inhaled by he smoker.  Vaping technology of e-cigarettes does not burn anything; the liquid mixture is simply vaporized.  The vapor does not contain the harmful compounds found in smoke from hookahs or cigarettes.


What is as scary or scarier than second hand smoke is the conditions employees work under. I recently lost my job with a large e-cig company. I believe it was due to the pressure i put on them to address employee safety issues. In 20 months we received no safety training. Furthermore there were no MSDS sheets in stores to assist in the event of an accident, despite multiple requests from myself to corporate that they be provided. Employees had to troubleshoot devices and in the process they are exposed to the nicotine liquid which is absorbed through the skin. Gloves were not provided even though i asked about them on more than one occasion. In June I had an employee helping a customer when a bottle top blew off and 1/4 bottle of nicotine liquid shot out onto his face and upper body. A short time later I sent him to the hospital where he was treated for nicotine poisoning. 

The owner of the company responded by saying with all of the testing they do on the liquids if the employee had done everything correctly this scenario was impossible. I felt the owner was placing blame on the injured employee. The regional manager said it had happened to him on a couple of occasions. Due to the way they responded, I reported it to OSHA. If no safety training is provided the employee can hardly be responsible for an injury. I felt their response was not one that addressed the safety of the injured employee or employees as a whole. I had been asked following a corporate meeting by my regional manager shortly before I was terminated how I knew what OSHA was.

I found out in August I had an expecting mother on my sales team and shortly after I began asking my regional manager about the safety of her absorbing nicotine while carrying a child and he ignored my concerns. She was constantly sick and I had no way of knowing if the nicotine liquid contributed to how badly she felt. Finally on October 29 I sent an e-mail to 2 of the company owners stating that we needed to address the issue of employee safety and specifically stating that I had a sales associate on my team who was expecting a child and there was very little research available to indicate the safety of nicotine absorption in pregnancy.  I told them we needed to address the issue now of gloves for the safety of the employees. 

About a week later i got an e-mail saying one of the owners had decided he wanted gloves at all store locations. When my regional manager came the day after the e-mail was sent he informed me that the owners were concerned about how gloves would look to customers if they were being used by employees. I told him I really did not care what customers thought and they should not either; all I cared about was the safety of that unborn child. Customers could be told the truth. In troubleshooting employees are exposed to nicotine liquid all through the day more so than any average e-cig user would ever be and customers would understand that. He encouraged me to let things go and not be so passionate when it came to issues like this. I reminded him that it was my JOB to put employee safety as a top priority and I would not do it differently! 

On November 14 I was terminated from employment with the company after 20 months of employment with no written verbals no write ups no disciplinary action of any kind in my file. 

They used a non compete that they knew I would not sign after almost 2 years with the company as a lame reason to terminate me. They asked me to sign it in August and I refused and kept my job. But after forcing them to address the safety issue related to the safety of this employees unborn child it was a fireable offense. It is sad that they have multiple lawyers and win because I have 0 income. 

I think the sale of these devices and troubleshooting methods as they relate to employe safety should be looked at and researched much more closely. 

I asked on more than one occasion if any testing had been done to ensure that TB spores were destroyed by the heat in the cartomizers because when employees troubleshot devices they breath air through the same cartomizer which customers breath through and vice versa. I know employees are not tested for TB so the customers should have the same concerns. It may very well be true that the heat which produces the vapor would destroy the spores but it was a question my regional manger did not have an answer for nor did her attempt to get one. It seems an important answer to know and money well spent to investigate if customers and employees might even possibly be exposed to TB spores.

Employee safety in any industry should be a high priority and by the company I worked for clearly it was not a priority. I hope that more pressure is put on e-cog vendors to address employee and customer safety concerns. I hope pressure to do more testing is placed on these companies!


@snowbird  Lets not forget tobacco smokes chemical make up while we are here on this note:

Yet a simple look at the chemistry shows us that its:

About 90% of secondary smoke is composed of water vapor and ordinary air with a minor amount of carbon dioxide. The volume of water vapor of second hand smoke becomes even larger as it quickly disperses into the air,depending upon the humidity factors within a set location indoors or outdoors. Exhaled smoke from a smoker will provide 20% more water vapor to the smoke as it exists the smokers mouth.

4 % is carbon monoxide.

6 % is those supposed 4,000 chemicals to be found in tobacco smoke. Unfortunatley for the smoke free advocates these supposed chemicals are more theorized than actually found.What is found is so small to even call them threats to humans is beyond belief.Nanograms,picograms and femptograms......
(1989 Report of the Surgeon General p. 80).


@Cwurley Pyrolysis does not produce cancer causing anything. Levels of Nitrates and histamines are pre-determined and pre-existing in the tobacco. 95% of both are a result of outdated curing processes, where the tobacco used to be exposed to diesel exhaust in the drying process. Modern flu curing reduces these amounts to almost harmless levels. The medical community at large, tries not to talk about the facts, because they are afraid of destroying the great potion of fear they have constructed. A potion that exists today as more reminiscent of a moralist movement [cult] with doctors demanding adherence to their rules of conduct. Rather than themselves adhering to ours.

The lessons of Nuremberg when we had to hang Doctors, was somehow lost in the translations here.


@JamieVolcano I asked on more than one occasion if any testing had been done to ensure that TB spores were destroyed by the heat in the cartomizers because when employees troubleshot devices they breath air through the same cartomizer which customers breath through and vice versa

Dude all ya gotta do is clean it with alcohol to disinfect the device.............I gather you know how to wash your hands in the bathroom. All you've shown is complete foolishness and as I said before you never worked for any e-cig company!



[ I believe it was due to the pressure i put on them to address employee safety issues. In 20 months we received no safety training]


Nicotine General Description

Synonyms: 3-(1-Methyl-2-pyrrolidyl)pyridine

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 1855

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 54-11-5

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: QS5250000

Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Guide: 1654 151

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Nicotine: chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

Exposure Limits

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL):

General Industry: 29 CFR 1910.1000 Z-1 Table -- 0.5 mg/m3 TWA (Skin)

Construction Industry: 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A -- 0.5 mg/m3 TWA; Skin

Maritime: 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards -- 0.5 mg/m3 TWA; Skin

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV): 0.5 mg/m3 TWA; Skin

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 0.5 mg/m3 TWA; Skin

Health Factors

NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 5 mg/m3

Potential Symptoms: Nausea, salivation, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea; headache, dizziness, hearing, visual disturbance; confusion, lassitude (weakness, exhaustion), incoordination; cardiac arrhythmias; convulsions, dyspnea (breathing difficulty); in animals: teratogenic effects

Health Effects: Acute systemic toxicity (HE4); CNS damage (HE7) Suspect teratogen (HE5)

Affected Organs: Central nervous system, cardiovascular system, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, reproductive system

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):

  • sampling media: XAD-4 Tube (80/40 mg sections)
    maximum volume: 100 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 1.0 L/min
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/NPD
    method reference: (NIOSH 2551 [28 KB PDF, 4 pages])
    method classification: Partialy Validated



It wouldn't matter if the heat destroyed the spores. The spores would be located on the mouthpiece as well, which is not heated. Taking a puff off of a customers vaporizer when you don't know that person or their medical history is insane. I cannot believe you would do this. They certainly wouldn't do it where I buy my products.  Honestly, these things are so incredibly simple that trying a puff to diagnose a problem is not necessary. Everyone I have asked about this has said the same thing. I think you might be making that part up.


@harleyrider1777 @JamieVolcano You can't clean a cartomizer when troubleshooting it. These are not wick systems I am referring to. I know very well what I am talking about in regard to this. It is fine to have an opinion and discussion but why attack when you don't know the product I am referring to, to be in a position to do so. I am stating facts as i experienced them and making an effort to see to it that a tragic accident does not happen and cause HUGE consequences for the industry as a whole. 

I have seen an employee treated for nicotine poisoning while working in the industry. It was very scary to witness for myself and terrifying for the employee. They were in the ER and given medications to counteract the effects of the nicotine. So it can happen I know this for a fact!

I am not an expert on tobacco leaves so I have no idea what the amount of nicotine mg's is but I do know that there must be a difference in having a bottle of e-liquid spill on your skin and be absorbed quickly and in pulling leaves through a day over time. In part this would be due to the rate at which it is absorbed and metabolized in one method of contact verses another. I am stating facts as I know them based on what i witness with my own eyes. 

I am not anti smoking. I smoked for 25 years and I still use an e-cig when I drink or am under stress so I am VERY PRO e-cig. I certainly don't think children should have them but I smoked as a young person and would rather see a young person use these than cigarettes any day of the week. However that is not for me to decide but companies have to follow what mandates are set by law. Are you a minor? If so, that would make your method of response more understandable. If you have a question ask you will get better results than to assume and attack. 



Jamie we crop tobacco yearly and I know volumes of laborers that handle stalks of green tobacco bare handed and never have issues. The stalk is where the most of the nicotine is..........your a simple minded anti-smoking fool that never worked for anyone but the ACS or TOBACCO FREE KIDS or even ASH!


@AndrewKamadulski @JamieVolcano No I am not making the fact that troubleshooting is necessary. What would be the point of that? In order to troubleshoot the heating element which for this particular company consists of a cartomizer you have to inhale off of the device. 

They are simple when you are familiar with them but for customers they are new to it is not always the case.  Some customers are elderly, some learn more slowly and with cartomizers and tank systems there is definitely a learning curve to priming the cargo filling the tank. It is not a no brainer, I promise you! Most every customer in my 20 months with the company came back at least once with issues and some never could learn to use it without coming in for assistance. The mouthpieces are not shared. They pop in and out and are held into the cartomizer itself by a rubber grommet. 

As for taking a puff off of someones device that you do not know it is not an option not to do it. It was a requirement of the job. 

I'm not sure who you are asking but there are many different style tanks. These are not bottom fill wick system tanks they use carts which can burn, clog and flood. So when someone comes in with problems you MUST use the device to correct the problem and teach them to do so. 

Thanks for the comment!


@AndrewKamadulski @JamieVolcano  I have been using a ecigarette for approximately 3 months and have found that my "smoking" has greatly decreased. I took the advice of a cardiologist that I work for. He indicated that nicotine is the same as caffeine... addictive but no more harmful than caffeine. Get rid of the smoke with the thousands of unknown harmful toxins then work on getting rid of the nicotine. I am down to 6mg per day and am hoping to quit within the next month. 

These are by far the best method to quitting that I have found... I am unable to take Chantix or any other available prescriptions and the other ecigarettes did not work. In response to the cartomizers that are sold. Any customer would be foolish not to bring the unit home and clean it well before using it... that is common sense. When taking it into the store to troubleshoot it or to get new "flavors", I NEVER let anyone else use it... only me. In the establishment where I buy my supplies, they wouldn't dream of taking my ecigarette and using it themselves even with a plastic or rubber attachment... they try and diagnose and problems and then hand it back to me. Any store that would try to do that is not reputable in my opinion.  

Common sense people... common sense


@jsn1971 @AndrewKamadulski @JamieVolcano E-cigs use generally does decrease the amount of smoking a user does. My opinion from personal use and customer feedback when I spied the ? is that this is largely in part because when take a puff you do not HAVE to finish a whole cigarette to avoid smoking something that taste dirty, dusty and stale if you go back to it. E-cigs are not sold as smoking cessation products they are merely an alternative to cigarettes. They can not be legally marketed as a smoking cessation product. They can not even be marketed as a healthy alternative to smoking. It is acceptable to mention and for most it is common sense that inhaling smoke is not good for the lungs and the vapor which is not water vapor contains propylene glycol which is used in asthma inhalers as well as nebulizers and has been since the 1950's. So with that information one can better make an educated decision for oneself. 

I am fully aware that nicotine is a stimulant similar like caffeine. I also know that nicotine can be made up and legally sold up to 36mg and with my company were sold in up to 24mg. E-cig liquids when absorbed thru the skin or inhaled in high doses/large amounts can lead to nicotine toxicity or overdose. Persons working in the e-cig industry are exposed to nicotine liquid in quantities much larger than an average user and that is not researched. Nor is the effect of nicotine liquid on unborn children in pregnant women working with e-cig liquids. All I am saying is that the industry should be required to test, provide gloves, provide safety training and provide MSDS sheets for all of their locations so the info is there on how to handle an emergency. 

They should also be addressing customer questions related to the methods used with their product. Does the heat in the carto kill TB spores? It is a very important issue to address for customer safety and employee safety. The style of tank and level of customer service required by the company you do business with will be what determines these factors. I live in a right to work state which to some employers means if you don't like what we ask you to do you have the right to quit and be unemployed. Employee safety is not mandated by companies/corporations it is mandated by agencies such as OSHA and agencies such as this are not looking at e-cig companies/corporations at least in my state yet. Most fall under small business and the OSHA guidelines are meant to be followed but sometimes small companies and new corporations slip through the cracks. 

I am an advocate for the use of e-cigs they help many people. Being able to put the e-cig down and go back without smoking for 5-7 minutes straight and to reduce the level of nicotine slowly over time are key ingredient ingredients to success for those who want to try and use them to quit. Just because something is not sold to achieve a goal does not mean it can not be a very efficient tool in doing so. Soup is not sold for weight loss but for some soup eaters it is very effective in achieving it. I wish you the best of luck in quitting smoking or whatever your goal is and hope this helps you better understand my position.