Be Tobacco-Free with E-Cigarettes!

photoBy Mark Sebastian

Throughout my entire life, I have never smoked a cigarette because of its cancer-causing agents of tobacco. From the facts and figures about tobacco, as seen in television and advertisements, it has made me tobacco-free ever since. There are about 443,000 deaths per year that accounts to cigarette smoking. It can lead to lung cancer, heart attacks, and expose others of secondhand smoke. In reality, cigarettes are indeed harmful to a person’s health. Some have taken nicotine patches, gum, and lozenges to alleviate this problem. With the new development of e-cigarettes, many would rather use this product to help reduce cigarette consumption instead. As years passed by, e-cigarettes have become so popular that problems have developed such as no federal regulations. Without any strict rules against e-cigarettes, children can buy them legally and they are not subject to indoor smoking bans. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now looking to regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products, where others like myself, find it to be outrageous. As a nicotine-free user of e-cigarettes, I find regulations are not needed because e-cigarettes are safer and healthier to use than traditional cigarettes.

By looking at the finish product of an e-cigarette, it is battery-operated and consists of an atomizer, which acts as a heating element that turns liquid into vapor. The liquid is usually contained in a cartridge or tank, filled with flavored juice. There are thousands of flavors out there being made, from candy to fruits to desserts, waiting for people to try out. E-cigarette users also have the choice of adding 0-miligrams (mg) to 36-miligrams (mg) of nicotine inside. I prefer 0-mg as my nicotine strength because I am a non-smoker and is mainly for those who have quit smoking. Those who are not familiar with e-cigarettes will think they are not safe. After all, the FDA does not regulate e-cigarettes, so many assume they pose risk and danger. Research has been done in 2009, where toxic chemicals such as diethylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze were found in e-cigarettes. Until this day, I have never seen this ingredient labeled on top of e-liquid bottles. Most contain propylene glycol (PG) and/or vegetable glycerin (VG) found in many food products, which are ingredients approved by the FDA.  This shows how e-cigarettes have improved drastically over the years without causing any more problems.

Besides that, e-cigarettes will not cause harm to others like tobacco cigarettes do. Since I have friends and family who do smoke, I am use to cigarettes being around me. I know it is not any good for my health, but I would not tell them what to do. It just makes me annoyed that I have to endure secondhand smoke for the moment and smell like cigarettes after. Now that e-cigarettes are made available, there is no longer a problem for that. Most of them have actually switched from tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes, which is great to see. E-cigarettes do mimic traditional smoking, but now there is no tar, smoke, and smell being produced, whereas cigarettes do when lighting it up on fire. This makes e-cigarettes a safer alternative than tobacco cigarettes, especially around children. People find no danger when vapor is looming in the air. E-cigarettes have only nicotine, water, glycerol, glycol, and other food flavorings rather than 7,000 toxic chemicals found in tobacco smoke. The vapor in e-cigarettes is harmless, where studies have found secondhand not to be a problem. Secondhand vapor from e-cigarettes have fewer risks than secondhand smoke, where only PG and/or VG is found in those who exhaled the vapor.

By associating e-cigarettes as tobacco products, people are not able to use the devices where smoking is banned. E-cigarettes cause no harm, so why are they being banned around business environments and at public schools, especially in outdoor areas. Since there are no federal regulations on e-cigarettes, many states have already created their own policies. For instance, UH Manoa is going to ban tobacco products on campus, including e-cigarettes starting January 1, 2014. As of yet, the FDA still needs to decide whether e-cigarettes are being called therapeutic devices or tobacco products. Although categorizing e-cigarettes, as tobacco products would not be appropriate because there is no tobacco found in any of the devices. Students also find the ban extreme, especially those “purely using e-cigarettes to quit smoking.“ said UH student Nicole Booth. This does me make wonder why e-cigarettes are being banned, where a tobacco-free campus could switch smokers from traditional cigarettes to healthy e-cigarettes. But I do feel smoking indoors should be prohibited, especially for e-cigarettes. It has come to my attention where students have been vaping in class can be a distraction. Others have done it in movie theatres and restaurants too. These are some of the reasons why e-cigarettes need to be regulated. For some e-cigarette users, it should not penalize those who have manners and respect for others.

With e-cigarettes, people are able to cut their nicotine down and eventually quit smoking in the future. A smoker is able to enjoy an e-cigarette that is healthy and cheaper than traditional cigarettes. Even John Niztkin, Chairman of the Tobacco Control Task For the American Association of Public Health says so: “If we get tobacco smokers to switch, it could reduce the U.S. death toll from more than 400,000 a year to less than 4,000, maybe as low as 400.” Medical experts even suggested that people using e-cigarettes are not in risk of getting cancer. There are about 2.5 million e-cigarette users worldwide, who are adult smokers and find e-cigarettes to be more effective than nicotine therapy replacements. Tobacco is a killing machine and many are trying to quit, but find it difficult to do so. This influences people to give up smoking and switch to e-cigarettes that have no tobacco. E-cigarettes are not only less damaging, but they even smell better. From advertisements and promotion of e-cigarettes, many claim the products bad for influencing the youth towards it. They lead children to become addicted to nicotine and take up cigarette smoking as a habit. Studies have proven this wrong, where no evidence of e-cigarettes became the gateway to the conventional kind. Most stores even prevent selling e-cigarettes to minors under of the age of 18, so regulations would only hurt the people who want to quit smoking.

With regulations such as taxes and smoking bans, it will only result in e-cigarette consumers returning to traditional cigarettes. People are more at risk of dying from cancer-causing tobacco cigarettes. Their lungs turn black because of the tar burnt in cigarettes. Without tar and smoke being produced, a person is able to live longer by using e-cigarettes as a healthy alternative to smoking. E-cigarettes can satisfy nicotine cravings, while eliminating the dangers of tobacco. Nicotine is addictive, but it can be controlled for safety and slowly decreased until the user wants to quit. Doubters still question the truth of e-cigarettes helping smokers quit, but look at those who have seen improvement and are even better now. Being tobacco-free can save thousands of lives by substituting cigarettes with e-cigarettes. There is an increase in e-cigarette users because many have found the products to be helpful. It is because e-cigarettes are safer and healthier, and why should a less harmful product than cigarettes be banned. I believe regulations are not needed, but looser rules for life-saving e-cigarettes should be made instead. E-cigarettes will help businesses gain more profit, while helping legislators gain more in public health. This shows how ideology can play a role when scientists feel “anti-smoking advocates are wrongly equating traditional cigarettes with e-cigarettes.” So why use nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges, when e-cigarettes are more effective in helping a person quit smoking cancer-sticks that kill. E-cigarettes do help and it should not be taken away from the people who want to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes.

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