Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website www.lenoreskomal.net.   Read more about this blog.
Posted: May 18th, 2012
What about those weird electronic cigarettes?

The first time I saw someone sucking on an artificial cigarette, I was thoroughly confused. Smoke, or what is actually vapor, poured out of the smoker’s mouth in a steady stream, after depositing nicotine into her system without the harmful, harsh chemicals with which commercial tobacco is treated.

But there was no nasty smell, no offensive butt to litter the lawn, no secondhand smoke to pollute my lungs, no ashtray or cigarette lighter. And for those reasons, “e-cigarettes” are trending popular now.

The lack of any type of regulation has some anti-smoking groups worried, however. Because e-cigarettes are relatively new on the scene, there have been no longterm studies to track the effects of breathing vaporized nicotine into the lungs.

Working much like a humidifier or nebulizer, the “cigarette” is essentially the delivery device. Smokers can buy various flavors and levels of nicotine. While many claim it has helped them actually quit the nasty habit, anti-smoking groups aren’t convinced.

Their main concern is that e-cigarettes might be attractive to minors and those who have wanted to smoke, but been deterred by the overwhelming negative research surrounding them. E-cigarettes might be viewed as a safe, even acceptable way to smoke, defeating efforts to wipe out smoking.

Health Canada has already issued a health advisory against them, stating that they could lead to nicotine poisoning. The World Health Organization has withheld endorsement of the product as a smoking cessation aid until substantial, reliable clinical studies are conducted.

To my way of thinking, keeping in mind I am a nonsmoker, if this helps smokers kick the habit by appealing to their physiological need as well as their physical and chemical addiction, then what’s the problem?

Posted in: Uncategorized
Comments

5 comments on “What about those weird electronic cigarettes?

  1. Gwen on said:

    I very much agree with your last paragraph. If people can quit tobacco cigarettes and simply remain dependent on nicotine then that is better than smoking tobacco with all the known carcinogens. Let people decide or simply ban it all!

  2. Steve K on said:

    As one of those smokers e-cigarettes have helped, I’m glad they were there. The thing that’s getting in my craw now is as the science is starting to come in (there’s a new study out of Greece that will be presented in August that shows e-cigarettes no more harmful than nicotine gum to the cardiovascular system)certain prohibition minded people and groups are going for appearances now. It’s one thing to want to limit exposure to smoke, but to try to abolish something helpful because it looks wrong, that’s crazy. What’s next a campaign to stamp out people wearing stupid hats?

  3. Vapegrl on said:

    So many articles about e-cigarettes written by nonsmokers are full of fear mongering and sweeping negative statements made without research. It’s great to see a post that’s open-minded and actually considers both sides. I no longer smoke after switching to e-cigarettes, and I feel like the change has made a really positive difference in my life. Isn’t that what counts?

  4. Jack Keenan on said:

    I hope that more people come forward with opinions like yours, Lenore, because electronic cigarette users are likely about to come under some serious fire from the government. Big Tobacco certainly doesn’t want smokers getting their nicotine for a dollar or two a day, while Big Pharma wants quitters to buy expensive gums and patches. Usually, those two groups get what they want, and in this case, what they want is for electronic cigarettes to go away.

  5. Jon W on said:

    Nice to see someone addressing e cigs with an open mind and common sense. These are a great smoking alternative and as Steve mentioned above will be interesting to see the new studies.

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