Modern electronic cigarettes have been available for almost a decade and have been booming in popularity recently. Unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigs don’t burn dried tobacco leaves doused in nearly 600 additives; at least 69 of which are carcinogenic. Because e-cigarettes burn nothing, they release no smoke. Instead, a battery-powered device heats a liquid solution (called e-liquid) of nicotine and flavours, creating an aerosol that is inhaled to simulate the physical sensation of smoking in a process known as “vaping”. Vaping introduces nicotine to the body primarily via the cheeks, while nicotine from smoke is mostly absorbed in the lungs.
“There’s no question that a puff on an e-cigarette is less toxic than a puff on a regular cigarette,” says Stanton Glantz, director of the Centre for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco.
E-cigarettes are no longer niche products, he and others note. Vaping product sales last year were projected to hit an estimated $1.7 billion, report Ii-Lun Chen and Corinne Husten of the Food and Drug Administration’s Centre for Tobacco Products in Rockville, Md., in a special May issue of Tobacco Control on e-cigarettes. E-cigarette sales may exceed those of traditional cigarettes within 10 years, the pair reports. At least 1 in 5 smokers has tried e-cigarettes, as have 10 percent of U.S. high school students, according to the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
As vaping is still fairly new, there are no available long-term studies regarding health risks. Early studies all hint that e-cigs are a better option than traditional smoking, but that is not saying much, because traditional cigarettes are so terrible for our health.
Despite the lack of valid data, the Internet is flooded with reports demonizing e-cigarettes. We believe that these reports are all (or mostly) funded by Big Tobacco companies, which clearly have a motivation to stomp this industry out before it grabs more of their market share.
Tobacco companies have a potent interest in detracting from the appeal of e-cigarettes, because it undercuts their monopoly on the nicotine addiction industry. These propagandists claim to “not know” enough about e-cigs so they shouldn’t be allowed. On the other hand, we all “know” very much about the dangers of cigarettes and yet those are still allowed.
in 1976, Professor Michael Russell, a pioneer in the study of tobacco-dependence, said: “People smoke for nicotine but die from the tar.” We do not claim to know all of the health effects of e-cigs, but in a world where nothing is 100% safe, describing products that are exponentially less hazardous than traditional cigarettes as “not safe” is unscientific, unethical and inhumane.
The growing mountain of scientific and empirical evidence consistently indicates that electronic cigarettes (e-cigs):
– are 99% (+/-1%) less hazardous than cigarettes,
– are consumed almost exclusively (i.e. >99%) by smokers and ex-smokers who quit by switching to e-cigs,
– have helped several million smokers quit and/or sharply reduce cigarette consumption,
– have replaced about 1 Billion packs of cigarettes in the US in the past five years,
– are more effective than FDA approved nicotine gums, lozenges, patches and inhalers for smoking cessation and reducing cigarette consumption,
– pose fewer risks than FDA approved Verenicline (Chantix),
Based on this it is our view that all real public health advocates should support smokers switching to far less hazardous smoke-free e-cigs. In contrast, the policy goals of e-cig prohibitionists and propagandists protect cigarette markets and threaten the lives of millions of smokers.
Do you have any experience with eCigarettes? What is your view on this important health issue? Let us know in the comments below.
If you are a smoker and want to see if eCigarettes can help you quit, we highly recommend you check out South Beach Smoke, the leading e-Cigarette brand in America (they also ship internationally).