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E-cig study: Vaping provides health benefits for patients with schizophrenia

In the debate regarding vaping vs. smoking, scientists are now publishing research which indicates that e-cigs can provide significant health benefits for patients suffering from schizophrenia.  For decades, mental health professionals have allowed nicotine therapies to be used a tool to manage the symptoms of such severe mental illnesses as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, chronic depression, and even attention deficient disorder.  The nicotine reacts with certain receptors in the brain that triggers a natural release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine that regulate mood.

Unfortunately, according to data published by Schizophrenia.com, more than 90 percent of patients suffering from schizophrenia are addicted to smoking as a result.  In fact, according to statistics published by none other than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), patients suffering from these types of severe mental illness account for approximately 31 percent of the entire smoking population in the United States.  Understandably, their doctors have been trying for years to locate a more effective alternative, and vaping technology is quickly evolving to be the perfect solution.

The Italian e-cig study regarding schizophrenia

Traditionally, many mental health specialists have tried to help their patients to overcome smoking addiction by offering more conventional nicotine replacement therapies like “the patch” or nicotine lozenges and gum.  However, the success rates have proven somewhat unpredictable.  In fact, in many cases, the patients suffered tremendous mood swings and enormous increases in negative symptoms related to their mental health disorder.  In short, these mood swings can easily lead to thoughts of suicide or other acts of self-harm or harm to others.


A group of Italian scientists led by Dr. Pasquale Caponnetto decided to try vaping as an alternative therapy, and what they discovered is rather impressive.  When the schizophrenic patients switched to vaping from smoking, their standard cigarette intake reduced by greater than 50 percent almost immediately and without any adverse schizophrenic symptoms.  The study took place over a 1-year period and consisted of a randomly selected sample group of 300 patients.  

“In a prospective 12-month pilot study, e-cigarettes were shown to substantially decrease cigarette consumption without causing significant side effects in schizophrenic smokers not intending to quit, however, in a recent large randomized clinical trial of e-cigarettes conducted in 300 smokers, side effects that are commonly recorded during smoking cessation trials using drugs for nicotine dependence were infrequently reported during the course of the study; for example, at week-2, hunger, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, and depression were reported by 6.5%, 4.0%, 3.5%, 3.0% and 2.0% of participants, respectively. Moreover, no serious adverse events (AEs) (that is, major depression, abnormal behavior or any event requiring an unscheduled visit to the family practitioner or hospitalization) occurred during the study. Quitters also reported improved quality of life…”

The Italian e-cig study is entitled, Smoking Cessation and Reduction in Schizophrenia (SCARIS) with e-cigarette: study protocol for a randomized control trial.  The report in its entirety is readily available for review via the website for the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (NCBI).


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