|Smoking is one of the biggest causes of health risks facing people around the world. For decades, smoking-related illnesses and diseases have been related to the number one causes of death in the United States. This incredible trend can partly be blamed by the United States Government’s failure to regulate tobacco sales, tobacco advertising, and tobacco usage until quite recently. Now, a viable alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes has been developed by manufacturers around the world.
ECigarettes may be a smoker’s best hope for switching away from the debilitating habit once and for all. Even with the incredible success stories being told by smokers who switched to using eCigarettes, many states and the United States Government as a whole are keeping mum about the benefits of this
product. In fact, some states may even pass legislation in the next few years that will ban the sales of this incredible device. Why are states balking with regard to ECigarette sales? Why is the Food and Drug Administration hesitant to say “yea” or “nay” about ECigarettes? The answers may surprise you.
Smoking Dangers May Not Deter Young People
Cigarettes have become more and more of a problem in the United States as tobacco companies began subtly marketing to young people rather than lifelong smokers. Because smoking is addictive, tobacco companies know that they don’t have to target habitual smokers. These individuals will continue purchasing cigarettes because their bodies tell them to. Tobacco companies, therefore, created ads that appealed specifically to younger people. The FDA now regulates the ads that can be shown on television: smoking ads are not permitted there. Similarly, ads on billboards and in magazines are strictly regulated. Warnings are posted on advertisements and tobacco product labels that detail the dangers of cigarette smoke. However, these warnings are proving ineffective. More and more teenagers are picking up cigarettes and quickly becoming addicted. A safe alternative is needed to provide smokers with a way to break the habit permanently. ECigarettes were developed specifically for that purpose.
What Are ECigs and How Are They Used
ECigarettes, also known as eCigs or e-Cigs, are electronic cigarettes that simulate the process and effects of smoking tobacco cigarettes. The key word regarding eCigarettes is “simulation.” These devices contain no tobacco and do not use fire or smoke of any kind to deliver the nicotine to the bloodstream. Instead, an eCigarette uses a liquid substance that is largely water-based. This substance is turned into a vapor through the application of electric heat. The vapor is then inhaled into the lungs and exhaled again.
There are three main components to an eCigarette: the battery, the atomizer, and the nicotine liquid. The battery is long and thin, just like the end of a cigarette. ECigarette batteries come in two types: disposable and rechargeable. The atomizer of the eCigarette uses the electricity from the battery to generate heat and turn the nicotine-rich liquid into a breathable vapor. There are many different flavors of liquid as well as different concentrations of nicotine in eCigarette cartridges. Flavors such as coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and cherry are popular because they provide an alternative to the traditional taste of tobacco.
Surprisingly, these varied flavors of nicotine cartridges are part of the reason why so many states are imposing regulations on eCigarette sales. According to some politicians, the different flavors of eCigarettes might be attractive to teenagers who don’t like the taste of tobacco. The reasoning behind the restrictions are similar to those given when clove cigarettes were banned from US markets. There is also speculation that the nicotine-rich vapor may be worse for human health than tobacco smoke. Some scientists believe that this vapor condenses on the inside of the lungs and can cause irritation and even serious illness. The problem, however, is that there are simply not enough clinical trials or lab research findings to support these statements.
FDA Staying Mute About ECig Safety
Unfortunately, the United States Food and Drug Administration is extremely hesitant to formulate an official position on the safety of eCigarettes. Because so many consumers base their beliefs about the health of various products on the determination of this organization, the lack of an opinion is concerning. The FDA is serious about regulating products that are consumed or used in the United States. Serious research must be acquired and evaluated before the FDA makes a judgment either way. This means that eCigs have been neither banned nor suggested by the FDA because there is not enough evidence to make a decision.
There has been FDA action involved in some shipments of electronic cigarettes that were deemed unsafe for the general public. The FDA has confiscated thousands of shipments by overseas manufacturers. Usually, however, these devices were confiscated because the electronic mechanism was deemed to be unstable and not because the nicotine vapor was unsafe. Some overseas electronic cigarettes became too hot to handle safely; others contained flammable liquid that presented a serious safety hazard.
The issue of the safety of the nicotine liquid within US-based eCigarette products is still undetermined. Because the FDA has no official position on these products, the sale and usage of ECigarettes has been left to the states to determine. Different states have reacted differently to these products, and many consumers are left wondering whether their state will create a ban in the next few years.
Some states have already created legislation banning the sale of these devices to minors. Other states, such as New Hampshire, currently allow the sale of eCigarettes to minors; though, this is projected to change quite soon. Arnold Schwarzenegger, when he was governor of California, rejected proposed legislation that would make the sale of eCigarettes illegal throughout the entire state. Other governors have followed suit, believing that if informed adults wish to purchase these devices, they should be given that right.
States React in Different Ways to ECigarette Trends
Different states are reacting differently to the sale and usage of ECigarettes. Some states are completely on board with these new products, and many are passing laws to ensure that ECigarette users can “smoke” in public places without persecution. Other states, however, are taking the exact opposite course of action. Some states are banning the use of ECigarettes completely, while others are starting slowly by making them illegal to use in public places. The real issue that divides states on these products is the lack of research supporting eCigarettes as a safer alternative to cigarettes. As more information becomes available, states will likely relax restrictions on the product. As of now, states like Washington and New York are close to passing bans on ECigarette usage.
ECigarettes and Minors
ECigarettes are not tobacco cigarettes. For most states in the United States, the regulation of cigarettes pertains wholly to tobacco and not to the cigarette as a whole. This brings up the issue of the sale of ECigarettes to minors. If these devices do not contain any tobacco, can they be sold to minors? The general consensus is “no.” ECigarettes can be dangerous in the hands of minors because they do contain nicotine-rich fluid which converts to vapor through the atomizer. If this vapor is inhaled, the nicotine is introduced into the bloodstream. Now, this is the whole point of ECigarettes for smokers: the nicotine in the vapor provides a safe alternative to cigarette smoke. The problem with sales to minors, however, is that these levels of nicotine are addictive. Government officials are concerned, and rightly so, that minors will purchase eCigarettes, get addicted to nicotine, and then be tempted to purchase actual nicotine cigarettes. Many states have already banned the sale of ECigarettes to minors, and all other states are projected to follow suit in the next few years.
ECigarettes and Public Places
One of the biggest objections to ECigarette sales and usage is the exhalation of “smoke” in public places. Smoking in public places is still a red flag subject throughout the country. Most states created bans on public smoking only in recent years. The inability to smoke in restaurants just recently swept across the nation, and smokers and non-smokers are still up in arms about the decision. For non-smokers who aren’t aware of ECigarettes and their construction, the sight of nicotine vapor being expelled from someone’s mouth may trigger feelings of panic.
ECigarettes are advertised as completely legal to smoke in public places; however, many ECigarette users have been asked to refrain from using their devices while in public places. Airline attendants, restaurant staff, hotel staff, and other individuals who work in public places may not know that these devices create no odor, no smoke, and no harmful effects. As far as state governments are concerned, the lack of information about ECigarettes is reason enough to ban their usage in public places. Because there is no concrete information about the health effects of the nicotine vapor, many state governments believe that bystanders have the right not to be subjected to the exhalations.
The Future of ECigarettes
The future of ECigs is uncertain, at best. Because there have been no reliable clinical trials on the long-term effects of these products, the health effects of inhaling nicotine vapor cannot be attested to. The lack of clinical trials is not a reflection on the manufacturers of these products; ECigarettes simply haven’t been around long enough to allow adequate clinical testing to take place.
The best that scientists and health experts can come up with is educated guesses. The nicotine solution that is inhaled into the lungs is not smoke: it is water vapor. Water vapor has no dangerous side effects on the human lungs. In fact, water vapor can actually help the lungs to regenerate more effectively. These devices do have nicotine in them, so they can be addicting to individuals who aren’t used to the effects of nicotine. However, in general, scientists and experts believe that ECigarettes are healthier than tobacco cigarettes. Experts don’t encourage smokers to use these indefinitely, but they are recommended as a safer alternative to cigarettes that can help smokers kick the habit.
Should You Get an ECigarette
Now, you may be wondering “should I get an ECigarette to help me find an alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes?” The answers vary for different people. Many consumers are hesitant to invest money in a product that may become illegal in a few short years. While the government would almost certainly be unable to confiscate sold ECigarettes, they would be able to ban all future sales of the cartridges that are necessary to make the product work. Other consumers hesitate to purchase ECigarettes because the government’s lack of approval for this product makes them wonder about the safety of the device.
In general, experts who are willing to make a statement about the health values of ECigarettes sum up their views in this way: smoking is one of the worst possible habits that an individual can participate in. While the health effects of an ECigarette cannot be attested through with reliable clinical trials, the effects of the vapor cannot possibly be worse than the effects of tobacco smoke. Any device that helps consumers stop smoking once and for all is a device that should be acquired. So, if you’re wondering whether you should invest in an ECigarette, the answer is almost certainly “yes.” If you are a lifelong smoker and you’ve tried other products to switch smoking methods without success, an E-cigarette may be the solution you’ve been seeking. The unique atomizer mechanism allows the brain to both get the nicotine it needs and go through the habitual motion of “smoking” a cigarette. This is why these devices have been so successful.
The decision to purchase an ECigarette is a very personal one. We encourage you to do your own research: talk to people who have purchased and used ECigarettes, learn your state’s stance on ECigarette sales and usage, or purchase a disposable ECigarette and test it out for yourself. Odds are, you’ll discover that this product makes you feel better and will help jump start your journey to switch to eCigarettes as a smoking alternative for good.