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New Developments That Can Improve Smokers' Health

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While the health risks of smoking are well known, new information is becoming available that sheds more light on what cigarettes contain. According to a recently published report at wsj.com ( http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444914904577619413844991748.html ), there are over 4,000 chemical compounds in cigarettes along with many additives. These are generally the largest health concern as opposed to nicotine, at least according to physician Joel Nitzkin of the Tobacco Control Task Force. Not to mention the high costs of cigarettes (largely due to state excise taxes) and public smoking bans. Fortunately, developments from the technology and startup fields as well as the tobacco industry are helping to address these issues.

Vaporization is one option that can reduce health risks from smoking. For example, vaporexperts.com offers a device called the Arizer Solo ( http://www.vaporexperts.com/arizer-solo-portable-vaporizer ) -- a modern iPod-styled device that uses loose-leaf tobacco (which is less expensive than cigarettes) converted into a vapor without burning (combustion), thereby eliminating harmful chemicals normally found in cigarette smoke.

Another example, although a bit more of a novelty perhaps, is the Nicostopper ( http://boingboing.net/2006/12/18/handheld-device-parc.html ), resembling an MP3 player and holding 10 cigarettes that are dispensed at pre-determined intervals along with self-help messages. It can't stop someone from getting cigarettes elsewhere, but it's interesting nonetheless. There are also smartphone apps such as 100plus ( http://100plus.com/about ), which predicts how smoking and other activities impact lifespan based on a user profile and a connection to backend health databases.

Big tobacco companies including Phillip Morris and Reynolds American are also getting involved with alternative smoking devices outside of their standard cigarette markets. Technology companies like Kind Consumer ( http://www.kindconsumer.com/innovation ), which is developing an "aerosol nicotine delivery device," are also making a stronger presence in the market.

None of this means that smoking should be encouraged, although some enjoy smoking and simply don't want to quit or find current alternatives lacking. Healthier offerings may replace cigarettes as the standard before long.

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