It's Time To Quit Smoking: Are E-Cigarettes the Answer?
By Catherine Morgan on September 14, 2010
BlogHer Original Post
A few weeks ago my daughter and I were at the mall doing some back-to-school shopping and walked by a kiosk selling what looked like cigarettes. We both thought it was odd, but we assumed it must be some type of "quit smoking" device. Then on the way out we actually saw a man demonstrating this product which looked exactly like a cigarette, including the smoke. I have to admit, it was very strange seeing someone smoke in a mall. You just don't see that anymore except for right outside the mall. As we walked by I noticed a sign that claimed it was a "clean" way to smoke. At the time we just rolled our eyes at the ridiculousness of it all, and wondered why anyone would want to pay money for something that looked like a cigarette but wasn't?
Fast forward to a few days ago when I was asked to write a post about the controversy surrounding the e-cigarette. I hadn't heard of an e-cigarette, but after researching it, I realized it was the same thing we saw being sold at the mall.
After reading more about e-cigarettes, I have mixed feelings about their benefits. On one hand, the manufacturers of the e-cigarettes are claiming they only want to give smokers an easier way to quit smoking. But on the other hand, they are marketing the product by glamorizing a new "cleaner" way to smoke. So what is it? It's clear the real motivation, as always, is in making money, not so much the health or best interest of the consumer. And that's why I'm happy to hear that the FDA is cracking down on these "questionable" products.
From Reuters - FDA Cracks Down on 5 Makers of e-cigarettes:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent warnings to five makers of electronic cigarettes for marketing them illegally as stop-smoking aids and said on Thursday it intends to regulate the products as drugs.
The move is the latest attempt by the FDA to assert its jurisdiction over electronic or e-cigarettes, battery-powered devices that allow users to inhale a vaporized liquid nicotine solution instead of tobacco smoke.
This is an interesting video on e-cigarettes from ABC News...
I think if it's determined that this product is a safe way to help smokers quit, it might be a better idea to make it available by prescription only, rather than the local mall and internet.
This is from the American Cancer Society:
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, contain carcinogens and toxic chemicals, according to a new analysis by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). One sample even included diethylene glycol, a toxic ingredient found in antifreeze.
E-cigarettes are often sold as a way to quit smoking or to get nicotine in places where smoking isn't allowed, but they aren't currently regulated by the FDA.. . .
While these products have been billed as tools to help smokers quit, they have not been submitted to the FDA for that purpose.
In addition to the possible risks associated with these e-cigarettes, I also worry about whether more people could actually become addicted to nicotine because they are being told it's a safe alternative to cigarettes. Will people who would have never thought to try smoking be loured into a false sense of security and end up addicted to nicotine and e-cigarettes?
There is also a pretty big concern that e-cigarettes could become a trend among teens:
The e-cigarettes have been made readily available on internet with tobacco, strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla flavors and are made accessibly legal for the minors as well.
But teenagers of New Hampshire are opposing the technological cigarette smoking as they think that e-smoking is bound to become popular among youth of their age, making them addicted to the nicotine intake offered by the same.
What do you think? Is this the first you're hearing of e-cigarettes? Do you think they have a place in our society? Would it be weird seeing people smoking in restaurants and hospitals again? I would love to know what you think in comments.
Here are some reasons Why You Should Quit Smoking from the American Cancer Society:
- Health concerns usually top the list of reasons people give for quitting smoking. This is a very real concern: Half of all smokers who keep smoking will end up dying from a smoking-related illness. In the US alone, smoking is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 deaths, and about 8.6 million people suffer from smoking-related lung and heart diseases.
- Nearly everyone knows that smoking can cause lung cancer, but few people realize it is also a risk factor for many other kinds of cancer too, including cancer of the mouth, voice box (larynx), throat (pharynx), esophagus, bladder, kidney, pancreas, cervix, stomach, and some types of leukemia.
- Smokers are twice as likely to die from heart attacks as are non-smokers. And smoking is a major risk factor for peripheral vascular disease, a narrowing of the blood vessels that carry blood to the leg and arm muscles. Smoking also affects the walls of the vessels that carry blood to the brain (carotid arteries), which can cause strokes. Men who smoke are more likely to develop erectile dysfunction (impotence) because of blood vessel disease.
Also see my post from last week Why Are So Many People Still Smoking?
Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
Also at Catherine-Morgan.com