Much has been said about electronic cigarettes and even thought the debate about their benefits or dangers continues, the truth is that they are quickly becoming part of popular culture. The public assimilation of these devices hasincreased to the point where even celebrities have been spotted using them. We all know that endorsement from highly influential personalities means a huge exposure that translates into sales. Apart from this kind of notoriety, the popularity of electronic cigarettes was facilitated by anto-tobacco laws. With more restrictions for smokers, these devices appeared as an option, not only to overcome the ban but also to avoid some of the most annoying effects of Tobacco smoking, such as the smell.
Still, electronic cigarettes have also faced criticism due to the manufacturers’ claims regarding their benefits as a smoking cessation device, which hasn’t been proven so far. The fact that they also offer flavors that appeal to young consumers, such as chocolate, bubblegum and cherry has prompted some to go as far as to affirm that electronic cigarettes may be actually driving children towards smoking.
Electronic cigarette detractors go further by saying that since “e-cigs” replicate the act of smoking (thus making people keep the habit instead of getting used to live without it), they cannot be considered as an effective way to stop smoking.
On the other hand, those who back electronic cigarettes use the same “smoking ressemblance” fact, to argue that because using ecigs is similar to regular smoking, it helps smokers to gradually leave the habit without experiencing the symptoms associated to abrupt interruption. It is hard to think about a product that is currently generating such polarized reactions.
When it comes to Tobacco products and Alcohol, it is easy to agree that they can have serious implications to our health and need to be regulated. After years of exposure to the negative effects of these substances, we are all aware of the implications of excessive drinking and the damage that tobacco can cause to our body. Hardly anybody would defend these products on the grounds of their therapeutic benefits or safety. However, they are legal and although they are controlled, they are widely available. Alcohol and Tobacco have been around for so long, that by now we have gotten used to the idea of living with them. Sure, we still trying to find ways to decrease their consumption but we have come to accept that total erradication is not a realistic possibility. Instead, we have opted to promote a responsible use.
Like any invention, electronic cigarettes were born to offer a solution to a problem. Smoking is a habit that doesn’t give signs of disappearing, in spite of the health risks and the stricter regulation imposed on tobacco. Electronic cigarettes may not be exactly healthy, but they could represent an option for people that are not prepared to quit but would prefer a “less damaging” way to continue smoking.
It took us centuries to uncover the extend of the negative impact that tobacco can have in our health. Electronic cigarettes have only been in the market for less than a decade, so it is too early to say that they are harmless but it is also too soon to rule them out as safer alternative. Regulation may be required but just as we encourage a responsible alcohol intake and we allow Tobacco products, as long as smokers are informed and understand the health risks they carry, “e-cig” users should be given the chance to make their decision. Electronic cigarettes are not a fashion and instead of condemning them, the responsible thing to do is to conduct serious, unbiased studies to understand their actual benefits and hazards.
John Travis is a writer and reviewer at http://electroniccigaretteb.com/