Non-smokers in the US tend to fret over passive smoking they are forced to indulge into especially in public places. If smoking was silently killing a smoker, now you have e-cigarettes that flare up reactions from smokers, non-smokers and anti-tobacco advocacy groups and so on! While there are demarcations like smoker’s zone in pubs, restaurants, clubs and hotels (protecting the non-smokers) in the US—I am wondering why anyone would perceive e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to cigarettes. Isn’t it like saying which candy will do less harm to your tooth?
A Chinese invention, I believe the first ones came from the Ruyan in 2004, which claimed to have sold 300,000 e-cigarettes in 2008. Designed to look like long cigarettes; cigars or pipes, the controversial e-cigarette has triggered a debate in the FDA, and I believe it uses liquid nicotine (synthetic) that produce little smoke (or vape (from vaping)) which may be good news for the passive non-smoker) but how is it better or less harmful for a smoker is a question at large. After all tobacco is all known to be a killer (just like nicotine)—the warning signs are serious stuff even though smokers don’t want to believe them! Moreover, how can nicotine be better than tobacco? I would like to believe we are not playing the game of which one is more harmful!
The claims that they aid in quitting the habit is again something ‘out in the open’ for if that were the case, the liquids used in e-cigarettes would find some respectable place in FDA’s medicine category and also require less legislation and regulations.
Being advertised as a smokeless device, one big health worry is that e-cigarettes discreetly entice higher consumption of nicotine, which is known as a poisonous substance when consumed in large proportions. Also youngsters get to have a hang of the real thing with some consolation coming in the form of e-cigarettes being less-harmful compared to a regular cigarette which is all quite wrong in the first place.
While the disappointment felt by companies (in the US) manufacturing non-smoking options like gums and patches are understandable for e-cigarettes are being made to look like the better choice! It is amusing to note there is a large chunk of smokers who believe e-cigars give naffs which is different from puffs coming from real cigarettes. So much for glamorizing a puff!
I feel e-cigarettes should be regulated and subject to the same cautions, age bans, public use and warnings. If at all there are medical benefits (which I openly doubt), e-cigarettes should be brought under the control of regulations to ensure that they are safe to use.
Your thoughts are welcome.
Sanjay Puri has been working on Indian-American issues and facilitating stronger US-India relations through USINPAC (US India Political Action Committee) and AUSIB (Alliance for US India Business), two bipartisan organizations that he chairs.