A closer eye needed on e-cigarettes

In Opinion
Courtesy of MCT
Courtesy of MCT

 

Usually, at least I hope, most people who smoke cigarettes know how bad it is for them.

If people don’t realize smoking is bad for them, here is some information that may make them think twice before taking another puff of a cigarette. About 443,000 people die every year from the adverse health effects from smoking cigarettes; more deaths are caused by tobacco use than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol, car accidents, suicides and murders combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The health risks that come with smoking cigarettes can inspire many people to quit. Many concerned smokers looking for a healthier lifestyle are tempted to try any gimmick out there that might help them quit for good.

One of those gimmicks is electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that deliver nicotine through vapor. Manufacturers of various e-cigarettes claim it helps people quit smoking.

However, there is no definitive proof of that.

The device has recently been under fire for needing more regulation by the Food and Drug Administration due to a boost in people who use it. A new study by the CDC has found that in 2011, about 21 percent of adults who smoke tobacco have also used electronic cigarettes, according to NACSOnline.com.

Smoking an e-cigarette may or may not be as bad as smoking a regular cigarette, but the device is still unhealthy and not the best alternative for people wanting to quit smoking. The FDA should take a deeper look into how e-cigarettes are regulated and how manufacturers might market the device towards children.

Many consumers have no idea what type of substances are going into their body since there is almost no regulation on e-cigarettes or the composition of the liquids used in them.

According to the FDA’s website, “e-cigarettes may contain ingredients that are known to be toxic to humans, and may contain other ingredients that may not be safe.”

Meanwhile, e-cigarette manufacturers seem to be in no hurry to alert consumers of the ingredients in the devices, especially after seeing an increase in sales.

“Manufacturers have exploited this regulatory loophole to aggressively market e-cigarettes, often with claims that they can help smokers quit or that they are a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes,” said Matthew Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

E-cigarettes and the mysterious contents in them have not been studied enough to determine if they have long-term, negative health effects. Besides that, there are no studies to prove e-cigarettes actually assist smokers in quitting.

But, a recent study in Greece did find that e-cigarettes can alter a smoker’s lung function in minutes. Researchers found that after five minutes puffing on an e-cigarette, users showed signs of airway obstruction and inflammation, according to Reuters.

“More studies on the long-term effects are needed,” Constantine Vardavas, lead researcher of the Center for Global Tobacco Control at the Harvard School of Public Health, told Reuters Health.

Another problem with e-cigarette regulation is that manufacturers are able to alter the device’s look and taste to appeal to a younger crowd. Although they resemble a traditional cigarette, the various solutions available for these devices are available in fruit and candy flavors that appeal to children.

“The familiar appearance and enticing flavors could actually encourage kids to try traditional cigarettes, rather than avoid them,” said Chris Hansen, president of American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

People can quit smoking at any age and there are many alternatives to help. E-cigarettes are not the only option and are not the best solution for beating a life-long addiction to tobacco.

I’m in no way suggesting that quitting cigarettes is a simple thing to do. However, there are many resources out there to ease temptations and don’t involve putting more foreign substances in your body. Websites such as TobaccoFree.org aim to help smokers quit in a healthful way. The site suggests a number of ways to stop smoking for good, including smokers accepting that they need help, trying to go cold turkey and breathing techniques.

Nicotine Anonymous’ 12-step program is an additional tool for smokers who want to talk with other people trying to quit. The program is modeled after the Alcoholics Anonymous program, where the first step is admitting to yourself that you have no control over tobacco use.

It’s important for e-cigarettes to be regulated because smokers may become addicted to the device, alongside a traditional cigarette. The effects of smoking both are unknown and products shouldn’t be sold without proper studies being done on them.

“If large numbers of adult smokers become users of both traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes—rather than using e-cigarettes to quit cigarettes completely—the net public health effect could be quite negative,” said Tom Frieden, director of the Office on Smoking and Health at the CDC.

Before smoking a regular or electronic cigarette, find out first how harmful it is to your health. Until we have the proper statistics, don’t become a statistic yourself.

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  • grinningsoul

    A shockingly dangerous and biased article, One wonders the real motives behind such nonsense?

    A closer eye needs to be kept on shoddy journo’s, especially when people’s lives are at stake.

    “Nicotine itself is not a particularly hazardous drug,” says
    Professor John Britton, who leads the tobacco advisory group for the
    Royal College of Physicians.

    “It’s something on a par with the effects you get from caffeine.

    “If all the smokers in Britain stopped smoking cigarettes and
    started smoking e-cigarettes we would save 5 million deaths in people
    who are alive today. It’s a massive potential public health prize.”

  • Kristen, your article fails the sniff test in so many ways I wouldn’t know where to begin. Please seek opinions from anyone other than Gov’t agencies like the FDA in the future if you wish to be considered a journalist. What you wrote is even more biased than the FDA’s own PR materials. There IS a world of truth out there. Go find it!

  • Kristen do you have friends and family who smoke? Have you ever inhaled their 2nd hand smoke? I personally inhaled 2nd hand smoke almost my entire childhood. To just talk about all the negative aspects of electronic cigarettes is unfair and most your info is incorrect. The products are not designed to “help” anyone quit smoking. They are an alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes, not a quitting aid. Please show me what electronic cigarette website that claims they will help you quit smoking? I very seriously doubt you’ll find one. In fact usually they put something like this on their website “products are not marketed for use as a smoking cessation device”. Can an electronic cigarette help someone quit smoking? Sure….cause my wife quit smoking using them, but that is not how they are intended to be used. Ask any doctor if he would rather you smoke tobacco cigarettes or electronic cigarettes and see what he says. All the future regulations on e cigarettes are just about the government making money and I get it, but this article I don’t get at all…..

  • Eric Dykstra

    I Love this. To summarize the article, well if this and if that, and there is the potential for this.

    The truth is no one knows if they are harmful. We do know that cigarettes are harmful. Isn’t that enough until more research is done.

    The truth is most research points to the indication that ecigs are healthier than traditional cigarettes.

    What has happen to its my decision, that’s why I live in USA. Politicians need to stop trying to rule us, or they are going to find themselves without a job.

  • More fear mongering yellow journalism. And of course the “flavor” argument again–better ban all those flavored alcoholic drinks!

  • The FDA won’t do more testing on these products as it’s NOT their job to do so. The only reason they even tested the ones they did was due to the fact that they were being taken to court. Companies pay the FDA a “fee” to have the results of tests and studies reviewed-why do you think they keep pushing the pharma products? How much money has the FDA received from the companies that make NRT’s? It’s all about the money and has nothing to do with health sadly. The number of products that are being recalled after being “approved” shows us that.

  • Sam Panice

    I agree with everyone that has commented so far. This article was clearly written by a person who has no experience in the industry and has not done enough research to make such claims.

    As an e-juice vendor in the electronic cigarette world, our company believes and supports legislation to restrict those under the age of 18 to purchase electronic cigarettes. That is the socially responsible thing to do, but to imply that an electronic cigarette is a gateway to traditional cigarette smoking is absurd. Any person that has vaped before knows that cigarettes taste way more disgusting then ever before because of the variety of flavors available.

    We will continue to use common sense in our respective industry and provide high quality products to customers over the age of 18, not because it is LAW but because its the right thing to do.

    While the FDA tries to put together a case against electronic cigarettes, vendors, buyers, manufacturers and users will be continuing to build our strong community and fight for our freedom to vape and be small business owners.

    Using electronic cigarettes is a lifestyle choice that has no affect on anyone else other then the user. Legislation SHOULD be passed to ban the sale of e-cigs to minors but that is as far as it should go. There is no reason, other then greed, that electronic cigarettes are taxed the same way as traditional cigarettes. They are not the same.

  • Patrick Morris

    Wow, what an incredibly bad piece of “journalism.” There is plenty of well-documented proof that cigarettes indeed are much safer than cigarettes, with their thousands of chemicals, many carcinogenic. Several studies have been done, but apparently you just chose not to look for any.

    This is a hack job that does nothing but pull misleading soundbites from other just-as-slanted-and-misleading articles in an attempt to prove a ridiculously invalid, uninformed point. I hope you’re proud.

  • pat salzer

    There will no doubt be more testing, but e-cigarette users, most of whom have been smokers, have their own experiences that allow them to make an initial judgement. For myself, even just switching to mostly e-cigarettes improved my breathing and reduced my coughing. Now that I’ve completely switched over, after just a few weeks, I can breathe deeply without wheezing or coughing for the first time in years. I can lie flat in bed, where I used to have to use two pillows or more to keep from coughing and choking. That, to me, constitutes evidence that e-cigarettes are at the very least, reducing the harm I’m doing to myself by leaps and bounds.

  • JB

    Article was written by a moron, slight of hand references abound. Undoubtably has stock in RJ Reynolds

  • It IS supposed to be a “shockingly dangerous and biased article”, grinningsoul! That’s what propaganda is supposed to be – a tool to hammer lies and fear and terror into weak and strong minds. I have been using e-cigs for what… 7 years now? I initially bought them from China as well as my vape juice, and I still smoke cigarettes. Why? I LOVE to smoke. End of story there. And e-cigs were never advertised as a “stop smoking” cure of any kind. They have always been, are, and always will be an alternative way to smoke. Problem is, as government controllers see it, it can’t be outlawed as it is merely putting out water vapor, the SAME EXACT thing as one does when breathing. It harms no one and it has helped my asthma to the point where I haven’t had an attack since starting to vape. I gave up emergency inhalers 6 years ago and my lung capacity improved so much I didn’t need anything! E-cigs allow people to “smoke” anywhere they want to, and those people that tell you you “can’t do that in here” be damned. So the controllers have to lie, just like they’re doing with soft drinks and cup sizes. It bolsters the lies of the convinced and removes individual right of choice, propaganda. It’s time to take the bullies to task, or at least to court for hundreds of billions of dollars. Maybe that’ll make them finally shut up and let people live however they want, because NO ONE is their brother’s or their sister’s keeper unless that brother or sister asks for their help. People responsible for articles like these wallow gloriously in their own tyranny and lie to themselves that they’re a “champion for the common good”. It’s all bullshit.

  • Eve Himmelheber

    Or ban all those non-alcoholic versions of drinks (like virgin mary, virgin colada, etc.), because they might make kids want to drink the alcoholic versions.

  • mark oconnell

    may be as bad as a cigarettes!! biggest lie ever!

    these devices have water, flavourings, nicotine (which scientists say is about as harmful as caffine) and propyle glycol, which is used in every from food and cosmetics to even asthma inhalers!

    this is a good video to check out, its a selection of quotes from real, non biasted experts

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfILPh_DTqI

  • Yeah, electronic cigarette can save you from those serious health problems which are responsible for about 443,000 deaths per year.

  • You can read various articles on the internet to know how harmful electronic cigarette is, i am sure you will surely switch to them after realizing how safe they are when compared with tobacco filled ones.

  • The health risks that come with smoking cigarettes can inspire many
    people to quit. Many concerned smokers looking for a healthier lifestyle
    are tempted to try any gimmick out there that might help them quit for
    good.