E-Cigarettes – Product Information and Safety

People struggle with a number of different addictions and related health issues as well.  Tobacco addiction is one of those and is quite a tough one to break – what people may not realize is that it is the leading cause of 20 or more serious diseases.  The WHO has stressed time and again that smoking and its impact on global health has to be taken more seriously.

People start smoking for a number of reasons and youngsters are the most vulnerable to peer pressure.  Advertising and movies also make it cool to take up smoking as well and after a short time, the addiction has taken hold.  What many don’t realize is that nicotine is a stimulant – more and more is needed to get the same effects.  Eventually a number of studies were done to study the long term effects of tobacco use and the results were quite astonishing – the fight was on, to urge people to give up smoking and take charge of their health.  There are many different methods and products on the market to encourage people to quit smoking and e-cigarettes are just the latest product.  An e-cigarette can be described as a battery operated inhaler which delivers liquid nicotine in vapor form directly into the user’s blood stream.  The mist is made up of water, propylene glycol (a solvent to help dissolve the flavors) and a choice of flavors.

E-cigarettes are fairly new to many markets and people are not quite sure what to call them. Whatever name people come up with, this cigarette is gaining ground with those who want to quit – in the UK, an informal poll has shown that the number of people who use electronic cigarettes has gone up from around 9% to 22% in 2012 – in a span of just 2 years.  A large majority of the new users were smokers and at least 40% hoped to quit eventually.  Some of the hazards of smoking include a risk of lung cancer due to all the tar that is inhaled.

How safe are e-Cigarettes?

Are e-cigarettes really all that they are cracked up to be? One thing for sure is that these devices do contain nicotine and deliver it in a fairly safe manner to users.  Nicotine as a substance is fairly benign – processed tobacco however, is another matter altogether.  Cigarette smoke contains so many different chemicals that once people inhale it, they get addicted and find it hard to kick the habit.  The real damage is done when people inhale the smoke and get hooked.  E-cigarettes have found a way to offer pure nicotine to users without the chemicals.  What one has to be aware of is that e-cigarettes available on the market are available with different levels of nicotine and flavors – they are advised to buy only from well known manufacturers to ensure that they get a quality product.

Regulatory Issues:

Experts agree that it is still very early to know for sure what the effects of this latest device are going to be – after all, this product has been available on markets for less than five years and testing has yet to be done.  There are many questions which need to be answered.  One of the important concerns is that people will switch to e-cigarettes believing they are safer – the health risks associated with addictions and new products have yet to be studied.  Another question – a more pressing one which needs answering is how sure can one be that they are safe.  Especially considering that China is the biggest exporter of these contraptions – and whether they even contain what is claimed on the packaging.

Individual e-cigarettes which have been tested have varying nicotine levels – some despite being labeled “light”.  There is very little quality control with regard to the amount of nicotine and the flavoring additives as well.  Quite a few countries are now asking regulatory agencies to look into the matter – assure that quality standards are being maintained and classify them properly as well.  The emergence of these new brands is drawing quite a bit of attention from the conventional tobacco companies as well – the battle is not just for loyalty and dollars but also the right to get the label “tobacco product”.  Currently this product is being called a medical device/drug.  This categorization puts a lot of constraints on sales and invites a lot more scrutiny than regular cigarettes.

Many of these manufacturers are challenging regulators and may end up in court to get the right to reclassify the product so that they can sell more freely.  There isn’t much evidence on how government bodies arrived at the conclusion that e-cigarettes are drugs – manufacturers just want a level playing field so that they can offer this newest product at competitive prices to those who are trying to quit smoking.  Many of the major tobacco manufacturers are also showing interest in this new product – they can cash in on the popularity, if smokers do switch en masse to these devices.

One fact to be aware of is that not all of these e-cigarettes have nicotine – they do present a lesser threat to human health just because of their formulation.  It always pays to do research and check the list of contents – and always make sure to buy it from a reputed company.  This is to ensure that in the process of trying to kick the nicotine habit, one gets compromised products, of poor quality.  Bad enough that one is trying to kick the nicotine habit, it would be far worse to buy some spurious product and fall seriously ill.

Other concerns that people have expressed is that this product offers youngsters the opportunity to get addicted to nicotine – some of the manufacturers are marketing it as a stylish alternative to regular cigarettes.  E-cigarettes are available with different flavors as well – and such gimmicks do appeal to the younger demographic.  One thing that has resulted from all the furore is that tobacco and e-cigarettes cannot be purchased anyone under the age of 18.  ID is usually needed to purchase these items – not a bad way to regulate access.  All in all, e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to those who are trying to kick their smoking habit.  It is probably not safe for youngsters in any case – the choice of whether or not to use nicotine has to be considered by each individual.