The liquid e cig has been around since the 1960s, but it only took off about a decade ago. It has become even more popular in recent years as it has been marketed as a fast and effective way to quit smoking. Electronic cigarette and e cig juice sales increased from $50,000 in 2008 to $3.5 million in 2012. One in five adults in the United States who smoke had tried electronic cigarette products as of 2011. Like any trendy product, e cigarette refill cartridges have generated controversy and there are lots of people with strong opinions.
E cig users praise the device for helping them quit smoking, but opponents repudiate claims that the e cigarette is a healthy alternative to smoking. They seek objective laws that will curtail the use of e cigarette refill cartridges. Whether electronic cigarettes engender health effects similar to traditional cigarettes remains to be seen. The best way to evaluate this debate is to review different options on the issue, so here’s a summary of what people think about e cigs.
Electronic cigarette users
Proponents of e cigarette refill cartridges say they feel healthier using the device than they did when they were smoking tobacco cigarettes. They also report saving money because the e cigarette is reusable. Lots of users are happy with the selection for vapor cigarette liquid, which comes in several different flavors. Several e cigarette users have reported developing respiratory infections after use of e cigarettes, but this has not been definitively linked to vaping e cigarettes.
Health research groups
Research groups like the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) are holding off on official recommendations for use of the e cigarette. Despite the large body of research that has spanned decades and conclusively links cigarettes to lung cancer, medical experts say there is not enough information to recommend e cigs as a favorable replacement for smoking combustible tobacco. Health research groups are hoping to galvanize public support for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation of electronic cigarettes by stressing the potential risks and uncertain benefits of their use. Yet the information provided by organizations such as the AACR only seems to obfuscate e cigarette users. They interpret the lack of consensus to mean that there are no long term health effects and show blithe unconcern for potential risks.
The FDA and other lawmakers are unsure how to regulate electronic cigarettes and they have stalled action until credible research studies are available. The response of lawmakers to this time sensitive issue has angered opponents who see it as a public health crisis. The FDA, however, is unsure how to classify e cigarettes. The New York Times summarizes the problem in a recent article on e cigarette production in China, “As in the West, China’s tobacco authority — which acts as both regulator and dominant, state-controlled producer of cigarettes and tobacco products — has been caught off guard by a product that is neither a food nor a drug and perhaps not necessarily even a tobacco product.” It seems that the fate of electronic cigarettes depends on how they are viewed by government officials, and this can only be determined by evaluating the opinions of vehement activists, research conducted by respected scientists, and self reported improvements from credulous consumers.