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E-Cigarettes: Are smoking habits set to rise?

With e-cigarettes hotter than ever and flying off our shelves, it is only natural that debate over their safety and suitability is heating up as well. The ‘pro’ and ‘con’ camps have waged war against each other, both divided on the influence that e-cigs have over their audience and their subsequent impact on life and health.

Whilst both camps agree about the harmful affects of the traditional tobacco laden cigarettes – the crux of the argument boils down to this:

“Will e-cigarettes cause fewer or more people to smoke?”

With cigarette smoking one of the largest causes of preventable death in the US and UK and with more Americans dying from smoking than in all the wars the US have fought combined – it is easy to see why the popularity of the e-cigarette has soared in recent years. (Fact: the inventor of the e-cigarette was inspired after losing his own father to lung cancer). (Know more about the history of electronic cigarettes.)

Dr. Michael Siegel, a hard-charging public health researcher at Boston University, argues that e-cigarettes could be the beginning of the end of smoking in America.

The Doctor views the e-device a natural progression, much like the computer replacing the typewriter. Calling the opposition pessimists that are stuck on the idea that anything that looks like the act of smoking is bad, he says that they are blinded from seeing e-cigarettes objectively.

He and others in his field ask that those opposed become more flexible in their view. By not opening their minds and directing research and positive investment into e-cigarettes, he says “we’ve wasted an opportunity that could eventually save millions of lives.”

Stanton A. Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California is convinced that e-cigarettes may erase the hard-won progress achieved over the last half-century in reducing smoking.

The Professor worries that the modern gadgets are a slippery slope for children to start taking up the old fashioned habit – especially with the lure of their celebrity idols embracing the trend openly. He predicts that adult smokers will also stay addicted longer, now that can get a ‘legitimate’ fix from the comfort of their desks.

Dr. Glantz says that due to changing regulations only about half the people alive today have ever seen a broadcast ad for cigarettes. Now with e-cigarettes openly advertised, he says “I feel like I’ve gotten into a time machine and gone back to the 1980s”, adding “the evidence will show their true colors.”

So what’s the conclusion?

Both sides of the argument are ones that should be carefully considered by all. If new rulings/regulations are too tough, they risk snuffing out smaller e-cigarette companies ‘in favour’ of big tobacco giants (who, incidentally – are rapidly joining the e-cig markets).  Too lax, and sloppy sub-rate manufacturing could provide customers with poor quality products.

Nicotine, the powerful stimulant that makes traditional cigarettes addictive, is the crucial ingredient in e-cigarettes, delivered without the chemicals and tar that cause cancer and other health conditions and concerns. With researchers citing that by providing the nicotine without the traditional health dangers, e-cigarettes or vapour cigarettes are a sound alternative for someone either looking to quit, or providing the ‘better’ alternative to maintaining their ‘habit’.

Whilst the finer details of the products are still under scrutiny, it seems that most researchers agree that ‘vaping’ with an e-cigarette is far less harmful than smoking the traditional variety.


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