Science AMA Series: I'm Michael Eriksen, I study why people use e-cigs and other novel tobacco and nicotine products, as well as conventional cigarettes. AMA.

Does your research conclude any health benefits from conventional cigarette smoking? Growing up I never smoked or had the urge to smoke cigarettes. I was introduced to the idea 5 or 6 years ago in the form of nicotine therapy. I've battled Ulcerative Colitis for 15 years now. I've never been close to remission, just brief times of ease and less flare ups. A year ago I lost health insurance and the incentive to control my disease with steroids and the latest trial medications of immune suppressants. I started smoking cigarettes. It wasn't easy and still isn't because of other side effects and social stigmas. That being said I've never had as much relief from my disease in my whole life. My inflammation is close to gone and other autoimmune issues, linked/triggered from my UC, like psoriasis are dormant as well. I'm not advocating the use of cigarettes or nicotine. There are other forms of medicine and alternatives to help others in similar medical situations. I don't find this as a long term solution. I've chosen this alternative as quality of life over quantity for the time being. My UC and P were controlling my life physically, mentally and emotionally. This relief can't be understood by people never having to go through such a frustrating and painful disease. The social stigma from relatives and people I don't know sucks. I get many comments from people telling me the detrimental effects of smoking. I rarely explain myself, in the incidents where I have, I come off crazy. I frequently get asked why I don't try e-cigs. Before choosing to use cigarettes as an alternative, I read a lot of research and personal testimonies and forums. E-cigs don't seem to have the same effects. From my understanding its both the nicotine and cyanide therapy, which isn't parallel with the way e-cigs work.

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