E-Cigs: A Safer Substitute


As of July 2014, research by the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association shows that thirty-one percent of smokers in America who tried electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) quit smoking within six months. With a total of 45 million smokers in America, and 2.5 million of those being e-cigarette smokers, that is nearly 14 million smokers who have quit smoking by using the electronic cigarette as an alternative. As a battery-operated device that delivers chemicals like nicotine vaporized for users to inhale, the e-cig has become quite popular. They are so new and abundant on the market that potential risks have not been discovered, rules and regulations of the amount of use are still in question, and research continues to weigh the benefits and risks. Like a blessing in disguise, the e-cig may not seem like the safest habit, but it is the safer alternative next to a harmful cigarette.

As a $2 billion dollar industry, the debate gets hot and heavy while public health concerns are weighed, public officials are offering knee-jerk reactions, and the use of e-cigarettes is becoming a widespread habit. At this point, e-cigarettes are not being delimited at the federal level in the United States. Various entities from different directions are taking their own action in preventing minors from buying e-cigs. For one, the FDA is currently working on bringing “e-cigs under its jurisdiction through the Tobacco Control Act.” So far, the FDA only controls e-cigs that are marketed for therapeutic purposes. The CDC is taking its own stance as well, stating that there just is not enough evidence to truly comprehend the health impacts of e-cigarettes.

All of these federal organizations are so concerned about the public health, however Dr. Michael Siegel, Boston University School of Public Health states that Actually, the evidence suggests that electronic cigarettes have had a profound positive impact on the public’s health. Analyses of cigarette sales has suggested that because of smokers switching to electronic cigarettes, the sale of tobacco cigarettes is substantially down. This translates into an improvement in the public’s health: fewer deaths and diseases. That’s hardly a ‘public health hazard.’” In support of Dr. Siegel’s comment, it is a stern possibility that e-cigs could be the beginning of the end of cigarettes. After all, the main purpose of an e-cig is to help smokers quit smoking, by demonstrating the acts of smoking, but with a much lower amount of nicotine being delivered. It is too often that anti-e-cig advocates focus on the product, and forget to look at the result. E-cigs have led to less demise because of its effect on tobacco cigarette sales.

Gregory Conley is a legislative director for the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association (CASAA). His opinion on the matter: The argument for not banning the use of electronic cigarettes is that there’s no evidence that it is a hazard to others. Indeed, there’s a volume of evidence showing that the levels of chemicals released in e-cigarette vapor are nontoxic under various toxicological standards.” Electronic cigarettes actually run a pitiable technique of transporting nicotine to the bloodstream. Conventional cigarettes have already won and efficiently serve nicotine to the brain, thus e-cigs remain the safer alternative.

In the eyes of many e-cig connoisseurs, most claim that e-cigs are lighter, have better taste and don’t leave a feeling of disgust post usage. Consumers are under the impression that though electronic cigarettes contain small amounts of nicotine, they are still healthier than full-on tobacco cigarettes. However, anti-smoking advocates still suggest that smoking is smoking, whether it is an e-cigarette, pipe, cigar, conventional cigarette. With the rebuttal of Dr. Murray Laugesen, New Zealand’s Most Experienced Researcher on Smoking Policy and Cigarettes. At first glance, yes e-cigarette users inhale vapor, not smoke. With smoking, you have to light up. With vaping, you aren’t lighting anything, and there is no smell of smoke. Cigarettes burn, e-cigarettes just create vapor with each puff.”

It is evident that the e-cig debate is not just a national issue, it is a common idea among the rest of the world that e-cigarettes are also the safer alternative. In fact, the first e-cig was invented in China in 2003. A 2014 study in England surveyed 6,000 smokers who tried to quit in the prior year. “The largest number of respondents who were able to quit – 20 percent – had done so using e-cigarettes, beating those who quit without help (15 percent) and those who used nicotine-replacement therapy such as gum or a patch (10 percent).”

Although the purpose of e-cigs is to help smokers quit smoking, there are non-smokers picking up the habit. This leads society to now believe that electronic cigarettes are yet another “gateway drug.” A gateway drug is considered something that is used that just leads to use of worse drugs. The fact that e-cigs offer a healthier form of delivering nicotine seems a bit backwards to think it would lead to worse drugs, say regular cigarettes. To stray away from the sweet flavors of vapor from e-cigs and go back to the disgusting taste and smoke of cigarettes does not seem in any relation to the meaning of “gateway drug” at all. Attorney Azim Chowdhury, of Keller and Heckleman LLP, even confronts anti-e-cig advocates, uttering that “Some will point to a recent CDC study which claims that e-cig usage among teenagers has doubled over the last year. But, a careful reading shows that it wasn’t regular ‘usage’ that spiked among teens, but rather the number who had ever tried a single puff in their lives. For a novel product like e-cigs, this is not a very unexpected result. There is no real data that supports the notion that kids are getting hooked on e-cigs and then transitioning to smoking cigarettes.” His affirmations prove that “research” only claims what is desired to be heard by the audience. Though after careful reading, a closer look will prove that human nature takes its place as minors explore what they want to, and e-cigs can’t be blamed for further matters.

The issue of electronic cigarette usage as an alternative to conventional cigarettes is faced by any human being who is susceptible to an addiction: minors, smokers, people under stress, etc. Even non-smokers in support of e-cigarettes believe elected officials should take a closer look at the repercussions of regulating e-cigs and placing them under the same category as tobacco. Though it harms the user just as any excessive use of drugs would, at least it does not harm others around them. Tobacco use and nicotine dependencies are an issue to any human being who is susceptible to an addiction, but if there is a lighter, safer way to make use of it, why regulate it to the public? It is much better than having a copious amount of conventional cigarette smokers polluting their surroundings. According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 100 people around the world die from secondhand smoke each year, and nearly two-thirds of the deaths occur in children. E-cigs can help lower this annual despair.


One Comment to “E-Cigs: A Safer Substitute”

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