Electronic Cigarettes are a hot topic right now. Smokeless, odourless, and electric, e-cigs are disrupting both the tobacco industry and the anti-tobacco lobbyists. Here are some of my thoughts on this new phenomena, and some ideas on how we should deal with it. I invite you to leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
Are they bad for you?
This is the defining question isn’t it? And it would be so much easier if it had a simple answer. Inhaling anything into your lungs is bad for you, whether it be nicotine from a traditional cigarette, the sweet smoke of a cuban cigar, a hit from a bong or some vapour from an e-cigarette.
Are they bad for other people?
Now it starts to get more interesting. Both sides of the debate seem to agree that there needs to be more research conducted, however it seems pretty clear at this time that there is very little danger from second hand exposure to the vapour from e-cigarettes. As someone who worked in close quarters with someone who “vaped” every day, I can tell you that I never felt I was inhaling anything unwanted. Infact I couldn’t smell the vapour at all.
Won’t they lead to more people (and more kids) smoking?
The argument that e-cigs will be a “gateway smoke” leading to more smoking of traditional cigarettes has been used repeatedly by those seeking to regulate the industry. To me this sounds like the same failed argument made against marijuana use during the war on drugs. We now know (or ought to know) that marijuana use does not lead to heroin or cocaine use, and I highly doubt e-cigarette use will lead to a surge of new cigarette use. In his book “The Tipping Point”, Malcom Gladwell makes the argument that teens smoke not because smoking is cool, but because smokers are cool, and teens will always want to emulate the cool kids. Personally I would prefer that if my child is going to smoke, it would be a e-cigarette than a pack of Export ‘A’ Medium Blues.
Won’t people use them to smoke weed?
Probably! People also use pop cans, milk jugs, and apples to smoke weed too!
Do they help with weight loss, libido, etc?
If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I highly doubt e-cigarettes will help you lose weight, grow your hair back, help your libido, or have any measurable medical benefit. Than being said, some people who struggle to lose weight often report that they eat not only when hungry, but when bored, stressed, etc. Is smoking a e-cigarette worse for you than eating a pepperoni pizza?
Do they really help people quit smoking?
Not all people, just as all people can’t quit using the patch, or the gum. However there does seem to be a large amount of people who say they have quit smoking in part or entirely with the help of e-cigarettes. This benefit of e-cigarettes shouldn’t be so easily discounted. I personally know people who have struggled to quit smoking for 15 years finally kick the habit with the help of these devices.
Should they be regulated?
Absolutely. Don’t sell to anyone under 18. Should they be banned from smoking indoors? I don’t think so. Until there is proof that there are negative second hand effects, I think we should let them be. We live in such an over regulated society, I would rather we not make new laws based on feelings and ideology before there is evidence of actual harm.
These are some of my thoughts, I encourage you to share your own!