Q: I want to quit smoking and am thinking about trying electronic cigarettes. Are they safe? Do they work? — Matthew F., Atlanta
A: Congratulations! That commitment is the first step to victory! Now you want to choose a routine that’s effective.
We think smokeless electronic cigarettes threaten the progress that’s been made in helping people get free of nicotine and tobacco. E-cigs deliver pure nicotine to the lungs. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that if people start using traditional and e-cigarettes together, the public health repercussions could be pretty bad.
Also, the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate e-cigs (they’re trying), so no one knows for sure what’s in the water vapor that drifts out of them, how much nicotine they deliver or whether other toxins are present (they’re reported to contain chemicals that are as bad for you as cigarettes or worse). Most are made in China.
Their vapors are free of the tar and carbon monoxide in real cigs, but the device doesn’t necessarily lessen nicotine dependence. Breaking habits means substituting new behaviors for old ones; the electronic cigs just keep you puffing away (inhaling toxins, if reports are correct).
Stick with patches and gums for smoking cessation. And follow our proven techniques for kicking nicotine and tobacco. The full program is on RealAge.com.
Q: I can’t seem to get into a comfortable position at my desk at work. I like my job, but it’s killing my back, neck, everything! Any suggestions? — Trevor, G. Anaheim
A: The average American spends around five hours a day sitting down, but folks in offices may spend much more than that! So for you and your colleagues, we say: Set up your workspace so you can do some sitting, standing and walking. It’ll provide relief right away, and let you live longer! Here’s how.
An Australian study shows the importance of using a standing or treadmill desk; it found people who sit for eight to 11 hours a day were 15 percent more likely to die sooner than those who sat four hours or less; those who sat for 11 hours or more were 40 percent more likely to die sooner, whether they worked out or not!
Our bottom line? Make sure you stand, walk and sit during your workday. You’ll feel best when you stay off your butt 85 percent of the day.
Dr. Mehmet Oz is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Dr. Michael Roizen is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to www.sharecare.com.