Electronic cigarettes are becoming more and more popular around the world as an alternative to traditional tobacco smoking. Although we’re just starting to hear about electronic cigarettes now, the very first electronic cigarette was invented in 1963 by Herbert A Gilbert. Gilbert’s device warmed a nicotine solution which was then inhaled as a heated vapor.
There has been a great deal of information stated both for and against electronic cigarettes. The cigarettes have been marketed both as a way to quit smoking, but also as a way for people to smoke in places that are now designated as smoke free. Much like the ads for cigarettes that have since been banned, electronic cigarettes are also being marketed to younger people, especially since there are not currently any age restrictions on the product’s use.
Because the long term benefits or risks of electronic cigarettes aren’t yet known, there is a lot of concern, especially for young people. Although electronic cigarettes have been marketed as safe, there are currently no regulations regarding their use as there are with tobacco products. The product also still contains the addictive drug nicotine, though some people have stated quitting altogether by using e-cigarettes.
Regulations for electronic cigarettes are currently being debated in several countries, as well as The World Health Organization. They have stated that consumers should not use electronic cigarettes until a nationally recognized and reputable body has deemed them safe for the public. The smoking cessation site provided by the United States Government also recommends not using any electronic cigarette products to aid in quitting tobacco products.
Despite marketing by electronic cigarette manufacturers that claim the product helps with smoking cessation, a number of users have stated that they still smoke traditional tobacco products. However, another review states that they may be more effective than nicotine patches or gums. The review went on to state that there have been no studies yet to prove this claim one way or another.
For people that are not willing to give up on tobacco products or who cannot quit with available pharmaceuticals, The American Association of Public Health Physicians has stated they should consider a non-tobacco product including electronic cigarettes. The British Medical Association has only expressed concerns that electronic cigarettes do not have the same regulations as other non-tobacco, nicotine containing products, such as patches and gums. Most organizations would like to see the safety of electronic cigarettes proven, and regulated, so they’re only available to adults.
Despite these warnings use of electronic cigarettes are on the rise. A report states that use among American young people is up by 10%. The same report suggests that usage by American adults is up by 4.3%.
In the United Kingdom use of electronic cigarettes has also skyrocketed. In 2012 usage was around seven hundred thousand people. This number rose in 2013 to around 2.1 million people using the product.
It’s very confusing because there is so much conflicting data. Some people have reported quitting smoking altogether, well some continue to use the electronic cigarette. Others have reported that they continue to use both electronic cigarettes and traditional tobacco, which could be because the electronic cigarette does not deliver as much nicotine to the blood stream as traditional cigarettes.
The benefits of electronic cigarettes is that they may possibly help long time smokers with smoking cessation, and they provide a way for smokers to smoke in public places without endangering the people around them. The risks could be possible accidental nicotine poisoning, or burning from the product’s heating element. Because the all the benefits and risks of electronic cigarettes aren’t yet known, it’s best for consumers to review all the information available and make an informed decision for themselves.