Arguments against the E-Cig
The FDA is supposed to come out with their position on the electronic cigarette (e-cig) by the end of the year, meaning they will decide to what degree e-cig sales are regulated. The daily news is full of articles on why e-cigs should be banned or heavily regulated, and full of commenters on both sides of the argument.
This article responds to some of the most popular arguments against the e-cig.
Long-term effects of e-cigs are unknown
While it is true that there are no legitimate studies on the long-term effects of e-cigs (because they haven’t been around long enough), there is absolutely no way they are anywhere near as harmful as regular cigarettes. As discussed at length in this article, cigarettes are harmful primarily because they burn tobacco, which results in tar being inhaled into the lungs along with many known carcinogens. E-cigs vaporize nicotine liquid resulting in zero tar and zero known carcinogens. The vapor may contain harmful chemicals, but there is definitely no tar and it appears at this point that the vapor is totally harmless. At the very least, it should be quite obvious to anyone that the vapor cannot be anywhere as near as harmful as tobacco smoke.
E-cigs lead to higher level of nicotine consumption
This depends on the individual. It is possible that some smokers who switch to the e-cig will consume more nicotine overall. However, nicotine is perhaps the least harmful part of tobacco smoke, and an increase in nicotine consumption is a small price to pay if we consider that the individual is no longer inhaling tar and the 4000+ chemicals found in tobacco smoke. That said, many if not most vapers (users of an e-cig) do not increase their nicotine consumption and find it easier to wean themselves off of nicotine altogether by gradually lowering the level of nicotine in the nicotine liquid they vaporize.
E-cigs perpetuate nicotine consumption instead of cessation
This is absolutely true: e-cigs are not a smoking cessation device, but a healthier alternative. As such, they encourage the continued consumption of nicotine, whereas if someone were to quit cigarettes cold turkey, he would be completely nicotine-free.
Ideally, all smokers would just quit cold turkey. Realistically, this is just not possible. Millions of people who had smoked for twenty, thirty, forty years had tried to quit in every available way without success. Instead of quitting, they transition to the e-cig and immediately recognize the health benefits through direct experience: they feel better. Their doctors say they are healthier. This point has to be repeated because people don’t seem to understand it: nicotine is not the harmful part of cigarettes, it’s the smoke that kills you.
E-cigs are a gateway to cigarettes
Some say that kids are more inclined to try e-cigs than regular cigarettes, and that such use can lead them to become smokers when they otherwise wouldn’t have. It’s certainly possible that this may occur in rare situations; however, anyone who has experience with both e-cigs and cigarettes will find this highly doubtful. Why would someone switch to cigarettes from something much less harmful, much cheaper, and much more pleasant? It just wouldn’t make any sense.
Odds are, kids who are drawn to the e-cig tend to be the types who would have smoked cigarettes, although of course there’s no way to prove this.
E-cigs are marketed to youths
Nicotine liquid (e-liquid) comes in a variety of sweet flavors such as Juicy Fruit, fireball, cotton candy, and really anything you can imagine. Some say this is a blatant attempt to market to youths.
If this is true, then liquor companies who sell vodka flavors such as Fruit Loops, rainbow sherbet, root beer float, and s’mores must be marketing to youths as well.
The truth is, adults enjoy these flavors, so e-liquid companies provide them.
Vaping is not smoking. It’s much safer, maybe even safe period. As such, it should not be regulated to the same extent that cigarettes are.
Millions of people who were unable to quit cigarettes have switched to the e-cig with ease. Just skim the comments below any news article related to the e-cig for their unsolicited testimonials. Their lives are better. They are healthier, freer, and have more money than they did before. They are happier.
Also consider this: the money that smokers don’t waste on cigarettes goes right back into the economy instead of going to the tobacco companies, pharmaceutical companies, and the government.
Unfortunately, it’s possible that some kids who may otherwise have never picked up a cigarette may become addicted to nicotine via the e-cig. That would be a shame. But it does seem these numbers would be so low as to be relatively insignificant, especially in light of the millions of people for whom the e-cig is literally a life-saver.
To be clear, e-cigs should not be marketed to or sold to minors, but they should absolutely be available without restriction to all adult smokers and ex-smokers.
We e-cig enthusiasts are up against the government and tobacco and pharmaceutical (Nicorette, Nicoderm, Chantix, etc.) lobbyists. It’s not an easy battle to win. Please do your part and visit the website for the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association to see how you can get involved: http://casaa.org/