It has been touted as an alternative to traditional cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes, also known in the vernacular as e-cigaraettes or vaping, has been said to be a healthier way to curb one’s nicotine craving. According to reports, researchers now find that these new devices are not so safe as earlier thought.
Contrary to an earlier believed notion that e-cigarettes, unlike traditional smoking products, do not emit deadly second-hand carcinogens. Findings now published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research now claim that the vapors from these devices do indeed discharge formaldehyde, a known cancer causing component found in the liquid nicotine used in the vaporizing devices.
The e-cigarette industry, said to be worth approximately $2 billion has seen a growing increase in popularity especially among young people who apparently are aware of the dangers of smoking but believe vaping serves as a convenient and safer way to get their nicotine fix. According to reports, approximately 81 percent of young people between ages 18 and 24, which make up the bulk of new electronic cigarette users, say they use the devices with the notion that the vapors are less bothersome to those around them. Users of e-cigarettes have been seen freely smoking indoors as well as outdoors. A reported 72 percent of those who vape say they have been able to smoke more outwardly in smoking prohibited public places without offending non-smokers as they exhale. According to the Centers for Disease Control, usage of e-cigarettes has grown two-fold from 2011 to 2012 among middle and high school students claiming 1.8 million young people across the country.
Those behind the reports are urging the Food and Drug Administration to step in and impose regulations on the distribution and sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and restrict advertising of the devices on radio and television. In the interest of educating the public further on the potential hazards of the smoking devices and keeping them safe, the FDA is reportedly looking into mandating having warning labels included on all e-cigarette paraphernalia. Two U.S. cities, New York and Chicago, are now on record as not allowing the use of e-cigarettes in indoor public places.
Along with tobacco users, electronic cigarettes have become actively used by those who partake in the smoking of marijuana either medicinally or through illicit means. Just like tobacco users, marijuana users are convinced that they are spared from tar and other damaging components caused by smoking marijuana cigarettes, and are less likely to offend others with their second-hand cloud of smoke.
With electronic cigarettes so new on the market, it is premature to tell what the long-term affects are of using this product. As tobacco is still the primary cause of death among Americans, health officials as well as the FDA are ever so closely monitoring this new smoking phenomenon. Health officials say they are looking out in the best interest of consumers be they electronic cigarette users or not. As more data is gathered and reports are drawn, time will tell if vaping is a safe solution to smoking or a false sense of comfort for smokers, as well as those who don’t smoke.
By Hal Banfield