Electronic cigarettes are here to stay, according to USA report
Electronic cigarettes are picking up steam -- and not surprisingly, especially among smokers. That is the main message that comes from a new study in the American Journal of Public Health.
About 40% of individuals reported they had heard of e-cigarettes, and awareness was highest among smokers – the most likely users of e-cigarettes.
Individuals knew them by a variety of names including e-cigs, electric cigarettes, vapors, and nicotine vaporisers.
E-cigarettes resemble traditional cigarettes. They have a cartridge, a mouthpiece, a vapouriser, and an indicator light. Here's how they work: You inhale, and the vapouriser converts a nicotine-containing solution into a vapour mist. The smoker then inhales this vapour. When the vapouriser runs out, you can purchase refill cartridges.
The report stated that according to many harm-reduction advocates, their main selling point is that they only contain nicotine, not all of the other hundreds of other chemicals found in tobacco and this suggested that they may be a safer cigarette, though the report was candid in acknowledging that research into long-term effects had not taken place – unsurprisingly as they have only been available commercially for less than a decade.
The new findings suggest that smokers are interested and have tried e-cigarettes as cessation devices. E-cigarette manufacturers do not market their products as such. But "the word on the street is that these are cessation devices and should be used as such," reports Researcher Jennifer Pearson, PhD, MPH
Michael Siegel, MD is the associate chairman of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health. He states electronic cigarettes have an important role to play as a quit smoking aid, he says. "Taking them off of the market would be a disaster because essentially all of these smokers would be forced to go back to cigarette smoking," he predicts.
"They feel like a cigarette, look like a cigarette, and you smoke it like a cigarette and see vapour when you exhale," he says. This is appealing to a smoker who is often as addicted to the nicotine as the actual act of smoking a cigarette.
They are not attracting new smokers, he says. "Very few never-smokers are using these products, so all the concerns that kids and nonsmokers are going to use them seem unfounded," Siegel says.
Gilbert Ross, MD, agrees. He is the executive director and medical director of the American Council on Science and Health, a New York City-based consumer education/public health organization.
"E-cigs contain only water vapour, safe [diluents] such as glycerin, and nicotine, in a cigarette-like delivery device, and [are] highly likely to be much less harmful than inhaling combusted tobacco smoke."