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However, unfortunately it is not only adults who have embraced the new technology. The devices have also become very popular with minors. Between 2011 and 2015, the popularity of e-cigarettes among young people in the US increased by an incredible 900 percent. Electronic cigarettes are now even more popular among young people than traditional tobacco cigarettes.
This development raises some important questions: the first is obviously whether e-cigarettes are actually safer than tobacco cigarettes. The second is whether or not the millions of young people who currently use e-cigarettes regularly would smoke normal cigarettes instead.
How e-cigarettes workE-cigarettes are electronic devices that heat a liquid (the so-called e-liquid) to produce vapour that the user inhales. Most liquids contain nicotine, but there are also variants without a nicotine content.
Since e-cigarettes, unlike conventional tobacco cigarettes, do not burn any substances, the devices are widely regarded as safer. The majority of the toxins from normal cigarettes are released by burning the tobacco along with the paper and inhaling the smoke.
Most e-cigarettes consist of 4 components: A battery, a tank for the liquid, a vaporiser and a mouthpiece. The user fills the tank with liquid and then triggers the vaporiser at the touch of a button while inhaling the vapour through the mouthpiece.
Components of e-cigarettes
Advantages of e-cigarettesThe biggest advantage of e-cigarettes is obviously that they offer smokers a relatively healthy alternative to tobacco cigarettes, while still satisfying the need for nicotine. This is why e-cigarettes are recommended by many health professionals and institutions as an aid to smokers who want to stop smoking.
For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States concluded that e-cigarettes can provide a beneficial alternative for smokers, provided that they are not pregnant and replace smoking completely with electronic cigarettes.
The technology can also be beneficial for minors who would otherwise have started smoking normal cigarettes. As rates of young smokers have been falling sharply for years, this seems to be the case.
Dangers of e-cigarettesAs encouraging as the above-mentioned benefits may be, unfortunately e-cigarettes also harbour some dangers. The devices are safer than normal cigarettes, but not completely harmless for human health. Inhaling the liquid vapour can cause damage to the lungs. In addition, the user may accidentally swallow the liquid, which can also be dangerous for the health of the user.
Another problem with e-cigarettes is that most users use liquids with nicotine content. Since nicotine is a highly addictive substance, many health experts see a danger in trivialising the use of the devices. Pregnant women and minors in particular should therefore refrain from using e-cigarettes, as they are the most vulnerable to the effects of nicotine use.
ConclusionThere is no doubt that the e-cigarette is a positive technology. Considering the millions of former smokers who now regularly use electronic cigarettes instead of smoking normal cigarettes, it becomes clear that the devices will save countless lives in the long run.
At the same time, however, the technology should not be trivialised, since the use of e-cigarettes also brings with it some dangers. Minors and pregnant women in particular should therefore refrain from using e-cigarettes altogether. Similarly, people who do not yet smoke normal cigarettes should not use the electronic alternative.
The most sensible conclusion on the subject of e-cigarettes is therefore that electronic cigarettes are a great alternative for smokers to fight their addiction in a relatively easy way and to experience hardly any withdrawal symptoms. As long as people completely refrain from smoking normal cigarettes, they can greatly increase their chances of a healthier life.
Those who do not smoke should not start using electronic cigarettes, as they can also be harmful to health.
These prejudices lead to several problems. One is that they prevent many people from switching to e-cigarettes and thus taking a big step towards leading a healthier life. At the same time, the prejudices are responsible for the fact that users of e-cigarettes have the same bad image in society as smokers. For example, the use of electronic cigarettes in public places such as restaurants or trains is still prohibited, although it would be legally allowed.
Governments are determined to eliminate these prejudices. After all, they want the population to live as healthily as possible because diseases such as lung cancer or strokes cause high costs to society. For these reasons, the English government has now taken up the fight against the prejudices against e-cigarettes. In a new study, they aim to show once and for all that electronic cigarettes are not nearly as harmful as tobacco cigarettes.
Study shows: e-cigarettes are in a completely different leagueThe study, which was conducted by Public Health England (PHE), clearly showed that e-cigarettes are up to 95% less harmful than conventional cigarettes. These figures are so overwhelming that there really should be no more doubts that switching to e-cigarettes offers enormous long-term benefits for human health.
Moreover, surveys conducted by the researchers of the study revealed that almost half of all smokers either think that e-cigarettes are just as harmful as tobacco cigarettes, or are at least not fully aware of the health benefits of electronic cigarettes.
To change this, the government, together with Public Health England, has taken steps to better educate the population about the real consequences of consuming electronic cigarettes.
Public Health England produces film demonstrating the effects of e-cigarettesTo this end, PHE has produced a film that compares the effects of smoking with those of inhaling the vapour of e-cigarettes. In the film, two of PHE's health experts, Dr Rosemary Leonard and Dr Lion Shahab, show the amounts of carcinogens that accumulate in the lungs of an average smoker in a month. At the same time, they compare the effects of consuming e-cigarettes on the lungs.
In the film, the researchers fill three glasses with wool. Three different mechanisms are connected to these glasses that continuously pump air through the glasses. One of them regularly mixes cigarette smoke into the air, the second mixes the vapour of an e-cigarette into the air, and the third pumps pure air through the glass to show what happens to the lung when neither alternative is consumed.
At the end of the experiment, the glass containing the tobacco smoke is completely brown. Both the wool and the glass, and even the rubber tube from which the smoke was pumped into the glass, are coloured brown by the tar of the cigarette smoke.
In comparison, the glass with the e-cigarette vapor is almost unchanged. The cotton has a very slight discoloration caused by the colouring of the e-liquid. No change can be seen on the glass or tube, just like on the glass with pure air, which is completely unchanged.
Professor John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at PHE, emphasized how clearly this visual demonstration demonstrates the effects of the two alternatives. Together with the results of the study, which suggest that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful, there should be no doubt about the vast differences between regular and electronic cigarettes.
ConclusionMeasures like the one described above are a great way to put an end to the prejudices against e-cigarettes. Since we cannot see what happens in our lungs when we smoke or use e-cigarettes, visual demonstrations may be the best way to show people clearly how big the differences between the two alternatives really are.
Hopefully, the prejudices against electronic cigarettes will be eliminated as soon as possible. Only then will the millions of smokers who do not switch to e-cigarettes because of the prejudices get a better chance of leading a healthier life in the long run.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — the national regulatory authority — has published guidelines on how companies should evaluate their e-cigarettes and associated products by 2021.
But does this legislative proposal come a little too late?
Dennis Herrera, one of the co-authors of the law, commented on the matter, noting that such assessments should have been conducted before the products were launched.
The FDA has now been invited to investigate the effects of e-cigarettes in studies. However, critics have been outspoken on the matter, because such a law could make it much harder for people who want to get rid of their nicotine addiction.
Are e-cigarettes dangerous to teenagers?Activists who have united against vaping criticise companies for targeting young people by offering products with tasty flavours.
And indeed, according to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of adolescents claiming to have consumed tobacco products increased by 36% from 2017 to 2018. This is mostly due to an increase in the consumption of e-cigarettes.
According to experts, some e-cigarettes are very attractive to young people, because they look chic and are available in a wide variety of colours and designs. They can be used discreetly, as they do not leave an unpleasant odour, and the liquids are available in many flavours, such as fruit or caramel, which seem to have a strong appeal amongst teenagers. They are also easy to get hold of and are much cheaper than conventional cigarettes.
In 2018, San Francisco was the first city in the United States to ban the sale of flavoured tobacco products and liquids, with the use of evaporators prohibited on playgrounds.
Juul, one of the largest and most popular producers of evaporators, is particularly troubled by this, criticising the measure by stating that while the state bans the consumption of e-cigarettes, it still allows real tobacco cigarettes to be available in stores, even though they are responsible for more than 480,000 American deaths per year.
Where is vaping allowed? — The legal situation in GermanyIn Germany, many smokers have turned to vaping as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes. Thanks to the e-cigarette, many smokers — even seasoned ones — have reduced their tobacco consumption or even stopped it altogether.
While the classic tobacco cigarette is considered to be outdated, the e-cigarette is on the rise. However, it is not clear where vaping is allowed and where it is not. There is still a widespread opinion that vaping does not do harm to anyone, and does not cause any odour issues. The law is clear in this case: the vaporisation of a cigarette is not covered by the non-smoking protection law, stated in a decision of the Higher Administrative Court.
How does it look in reality? Sometimes a former smoker’s life can be made really difficult, because in many offices vaping is prohibited, and steamers are referred to smoking areas. The steamers often feel discriminated and misunderstood as they are trying to get away from smoking but there are no separate areas for them.
Although the law does not provide regulation, many institutions and companies (such as Deutsche Bahn and other public transport facilities) are now incorporating the vaping ban into their house rules. At airports and also on aircrafts, consumption of e-cigarettes is prohibited.
For the steamer who switched from the tobacco cigarette, the current situation could be frustrating, as many have favoured e-cigarettes because they felt they could vape everywhere without being disturbed.
The health effects of electronic cigarettes are still unclear, as there are no sustainable long-term studies. The current situation is likely to continue until it is finally determined whether the e-cigarette is really as harmful as critics say. However, it raises the question of just how the critics would react if it turns out that e-cigarettes really are far less harmful than classic tobacco cigarettes.
With this measure, the FDA wants to counteract the increase in the consumption of e-cigarettes by adolescents. For the manufacturers and distributors of the flavours, however, this could be a big loss.
In a further attempt to protect minors, the FDA wants to introduce stricter age verification rules for the online purchase of e-cigarettes and their associated liquids.
Fruit and chocolate flavours are popular among teenagersSamir Soneji from the Darthmouth College in New Hampshire, USA, conducted a study to discover which age groups favour which tastes. In the process, the researcher found out that offering different flavours has a much greater impact on teenagers than on adults.
Teenagers and young adults were more likely to consume e-cigarettes than older people when those e-cigarettes came with fruity and sweet aromas. More than 90% of the teenagers said they preferred vaping because of the flavours. The same question, when asked to older consumers, returned different reasons, with health and affordability being the biggest two. The study also noted that adults preferred tobacco flavours.
The government had to act, because data proved that the consumption of e-cigarettes has risen sharply, especially among young people. The FDA stated an increase of more than 75%, which FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb regarded as a ubiquitous and dangerous trend.
Why are these measures being carried out?
This growth can also be illustrated by the increase in the sales of Juul. Between 2016 and 2018, its sale of steam appliances increased from 2.2 million to 16.2 million. Last year, the government was already threatening to ban Juul and four other “trendy” brands unless they acted to prevent adolescents from using their equipment.
The biggest impact of these regulations may be the liquids available in drugstores, as they have traditionally stocked many different fruit-based and cream-based flavours.
The requirements in Germany for the protection of children and adolescents are very strict. In Germany, it is forbidden to sell vaping appliances and liquids to minors, and when buying online the recipient must first verify their age by providing identifying documents.
Protection of children and adolescents
The Professional Association of Paediatricians criticised the large-scale campaigns for e-cigarettes out of a fear that smoking could be made socially acceptable again, which could ruin years of education.
Furthermore, according to the association, e-cigarettes are definitively harmful, because in addition to attractive artificial flavours, the liquids contain aromas and nicotine as well. For this reason, the association demands a complete ban on advertisements for e-cigarettes, in line with the existing ban on tobacco cigarettes.
Another study, by the Institute for Therapy and Health Research (IFT North) in Kiel, states that vaping could make it easier for young people to switch to tobacco cigarettes. Tenth grade students were observed for half a year and researchers noted that 22% of participants started smoking tobacco cigarettes after first consuming e-cigarettes, while only 10% of non-smokers resorted to cigarettes.
However, there are still many aspects which are not fully understood yet. Many steamers do not know where they are allowed to vape and where they are not. In general, there is no law prohibiting vaping in public areas or buildings, with the individual domicile setting its own rules. Nevertheless, the prohibition of vaping in many areas has prevailed, even without the odour issues that are associated with traditional cigarettes.
E-cigarettes should not be completely vilified, because for many former smokers, it is an adequate substitute for tobacco cigarettes. Many smokers have managed to quit smoking by using e-cigarettes. Although the transition to e-cigarettes has been difficult for some people, many former smokers described how they used the e-cigarette to make quitting easier because they were still able to hold something in their hands and expel smoke from their mouths.
The e-cigarette and its benefits
Obviously, it is better to stop smoking or vaping completely, but the e-cigarette is a good option for those who want to quit smoking.
A quarter of the smokers say that they did not want to try vaping because, in their opinion, it’s just as harmful as traditional cigarettes. A Yorkshire Cancer Research study surveyed 844 smokers and 1,156 former smokers and found that many were suspicious of electronic cigarettes.
The study also noted that the average smoker had been smoking for 22 years and had unsuccessfully tried to quit four times. The reasons for this repeat failure were many and included stress, peer pressure, and lack of support.
The National Health Service recommends that smokers seek help from a smoking cessation service, which can increase their chances by 400%, but 44% of smokers said they preferred just to go it alone, often opting for the “cold turkey” method.
It was also found that one out of ten former smokers managed to stop smoking by vaping, saving an average of £337.80 a year as a result.
Why do many want to quit smoking?The participants also discussed what caused them to quit smoking. 43% said that smoking was too pricy, and they wanted to quit for financial reasons. 30% were concerned about their health and they wanted to change their lifestyle.
For 23%, a key motivation was pressure by friends and family, while 20% had become parents or grandparents and wanted to set a good example. The death of a family member or a close friend was the trigger for 16% of the respondents.
Yorkshire Cancer Research confirms: Vaping is less harmful than smokingDr. Kathryn Scott, the head researcher in the aforementioned study, said that the electronic cigarette was an excellent way to quit smoking, adding that vaping was 95% less harmful. However, less than half of all smokers are actually aware of this fact.
Every person is different, but Scott recommends acquiring additional support as part of a smoking cessation program.
In Germany, however, experts are currently divided over the matter of the benefits of e-cigarettes. The German Cancer Aid and the German Medical Association commented critically on vaping and emphasize that the consumption of the e-cigarette was also critical.
Vaping is a viable alternativeIn Germany alone, around 10 million people want to quit smoking. However, only 3 out of every 100 smokers are actually able to cease smoking permanently, with many relapsing at some point.
There are plenty of things that can tackle nicotine addiction, including nicotine patches, nicotine gum, and certain hypnosis techniques. But can these really help, or could the e-cigarette be the only viable alternative?
It is helpful to first realize the difference between smoking and vaping, which all boils down to the way the product is heated. An electronic cigarette works with an evaporator, which heats the liquid and turns it into a vapor.
There is no burning process like there is with a cigarette, and since no combustion takes place, fewer pollutants are released. However, critics note that they still contain nicotine, which is a poison that causes physical and mental addiction.
The facts cannot be ignored: By burning a conventional cigarette, 4,800 pollutants, including tar, ammonia and benzene, are produced. All of these enter the body. But with vaporization, only nicotine and excipients are inhaled
Peter Hajek, who works as a clinical psychologist at Queen Mary University of London, said that vaping is a safe alternative and a great way to become smoke-free. He warns against the misinterpretation of evidence used to warn smokers against e-cigarettes, seeing it as a wasted opportunity to save lives.
Whether vaping is a viable alternative to smoking or not is up to the individuals who want to stop smoking. The e-cigarette has already helped many smokers in this transition, but ultimately success is dependent on the will and self-discipline of the smoker.
The interesting thing about these reports is that none of them were based on even the slightest bit of actual science. After all, there were no studies on the long-term effects of the use of electronic cigarettes at the time. Likewise, the stories about exploding e-cigarettes were not much more than scaremongering. In the few cases that circulated through videos on the internet, users had either modified their devices or used the wrong chargers. The risk of an e-cigarette battery exploding is no greater than that of cell phones or other devices that use lithium-ion batteries.
However, in contrast to all these irrelevant reports, we now have the results of several studies that have been conducted by established scientists and institutions. Almost without exception, these studies showed positive results. For example, a report published in 2017 proved that electronic cigarettes are not nearly as harmful to human health as normal cigarettes.
Study proves: levels of various toxins are significantly lower in vapers than in smokersThe study was conducted by University College London and examined three groups of participants (all smokers) over a period of more than 6 months. The study was conducted by University College London and examined three groups of participants (all smokers) over a period of more than 6 months. The first group used nicotine patches, chewing gum or similar aids to combat their addiction. The second group used e-cigarettes, while the third group continued to smoke and used e-cigarettes and other aids at the same time.
The results of the study are astonishing: after only 6 months, the participants in the group with e-cigarettes had up to 97% lower levels of the toxin NNAL in their system. NNAL is a toxic chemical compound that plays a major role in the development of cancer cells in the human body.
Alison Cox, head of cancer prevention at Cancer Research UK, said about the findings that cancer accounts for about one third of smoking-related deaths in the UK. The use of e-cigarettes could therefore save millions of lives in the long run.
Only quitting smoking completely can really reduce the riskThe second important finding of the study is that even occasional smokers still have a relatively high cancer risk. Only those who completely abstain from smoking cigarettes can significantly accelerate the reduction of carcinogenic substances such as NNAL.
According to Professor Kevin Fenton, national director for health and well-being at Public Health England, the study provides further evidence of the importance of e-cigarettes in tackling the enormous health problems associated with smoking. The best thing that smokers can do for themselves and their fellow human beings, he says, is to stop smoking immediately and forever. E-cigarettes are already the most popular method for quitting, and together with stop-smoking services, they offer by far the most effective way to quit.
A spokesman for the UK Vaping Industry Association stressed how popular the devices have become in the UK in recent years. Today, more than 3 million people use e-cigarettes in the UK alone. He therefore calls on governments to recognise this huge opportunity for public health and to encourage more smokers to switch to electronic cigarettes.
Further studies required to finally dispel doubts in societyIn the end, only concrete results from scientific studies will ensure that society finally recognizes the true advantages of e-cigarettes. Many other technologies, such as microwave ovens, have faced similar preconceptions. Just like this technology, it will probably take a long time for e-cigarettes to be fully accepted.
Unlike the microwave however, the spread of e-cigarettes is a matter of life and death. The sooner more smokers switch over to electronic cigarettes, the sooner millions of lives that are lost every year as a result of smoking can be saved.
The reason for this is persistent prejudice against the long-term health consequences of consuming e-cigarettes. However, the interesting thing is that these prejudices have already been more or less refuted by several long-term studies. Many experts suspect that e-cigarettes are up to 95 percent safer than regular tobacco cigarettes.
The controversy surrounding e-cigarettes is perfectly illustrated through the diverse legislations around the world. In countries like Germany, England or the United States, the devices can be purchased legally in stores. The consumption of e-liquids is also completely legal, both with and without nicotine content. In other countries such as Brazil, Thailand or Singapore, however, both the sale as well as the consumption is prohibited. And yet other countries like Australia currently have a ban on liquids containing nicotine, while devices and liquids without nicotine may be purchased freely.
However, even if electronic cigarettes are legal in a country, their use in public is often subject to the same restrictions as smoking normal cigarettes. Vaping is strictly prohibited in most restaurants, bars and forms of public transport. Users of e-cigarettes therefore have to go outside along with the smokers and may only use their devices in the designated smoking areas.
Politicians wish for e-cigarettes to be treated differently than tobacco cigarettesThe continuing ban on the consumption of e-cigarettes in public places has now prompted a number of politicians in England to take action. The Commons Science and Technology Committee recently pointed out that the false assumptions regarding the dangers of e-cigarettes could in the long run cost the lives of many smokers.
Since e-cigarette users are treated in the same way as smokers in public, the risk for many of them to switch back to normal cigarettes is much higher than it should be. The image of vapers in the public eye is often the exact same as that of regular smokers. Another factor that increases their risk of falling back into old habits is the constant contact to smokers when vaping in public.
As an alternative, politicians urged the owners of restaurants or other public institutions, the operators of public transport and also employers to reconsider their attitude towards the use of electronic cigarettes. With regard to public transport, for example, there could be a special compartment where electronic cigarettes may be used.
What are the reasons for the bans on e-cigarettes in public places?The reason for the continuing bans on e-cigarettes in public places is above all a false assumption regarding the dangers of second-hand liquid vapour. According to the committee's chairman, politician Norman Lamb, the vapour from e-liquids is “unpleasant”, but not necessarily dangerous. Since not even direct inhalation of liquid vapour has shown any real dangers to human health, the dangers from inhaling passive vapour should be negligible. In addition, some of the devices are designed to produce huge clouds of vapour that look much more dangerous and dramatic than they really are.
What are the committee's proposals?In addition to relaxing the ban on e-cigarettes in public places, the committee has a number of other proposals that it believes would improve the acceptance of the devices by the public:
Removal of the limits on nicotine levels in liquids, as they may discourage heavy smokers from using the devices.
More comprehensive licensing of e-cigarettes as medical products, so they can be used by more people as a cessation aid.
Relaxation of the sometimes very strict advertising regulations for e-cigarettes in order to highlight the health benefits associated with using the devices.
Ensuring taxation reflects the relative risk of e-cigarettes compared to normal tobacco cigarettes.According to the committee, these measures could mark a major step towards social acceptance of electronic cigarettes. The committee also said that the concerns of many other politicians about the dangers for young people are relatively unfounded. For instance, the share of e-cigarette users among young people is no higher than the share of young smokers in the past. In contrast, however, the number of underage smokers is at its lowest level for many decades.
However, anyone who has ever made a serious attempt to finally stop smoking knows that it is far from easy. The first few weeks will leave you moody, stressed and almost constantly feeling the urge to smoke. Not to mention the almost inevitable weight gain. And even if you really manage to go for a few weeks or months without a cigarette, you're still in constant danger of a relapse. Even one cigarette during an evening with friends has turned many non-smokers into smokers again.
So quitting smoking is really hard - but maybe it doesn't have to be anymore today. For some years now, there has been a new aid in the form of e-cigarettes. And in contrast to nicotine patches or chewing gum, it not only satisfies the physical addiction to nicotine, but also the mental desire to drag on a cigarette and inhale the smoke. Or in this case at least the vapour.
New study confirms how effective e-cigarettes are as a cessation aidA new study by The New England Journal of Medicine recently confirmed how effective e-cigarettes can be as an aid to stop smoking. The study observed nearly 900 smokers who were finally trying to overcome their addiction. They were randomly divided into two groups.
The first group was treated with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). This primarily included the use of nicotine patches in combination with short-term aids such as chewing gum, inhalers or mouth spray.
The other group received a refillable e-cigarette and several bottles of e-liquid. In addition, they were taught how to use the devices. The members of this group were then encouraged to buy more liquids in their desired strength. In addition, both groups received personal support in face-to-face meetings during the first four weeks of the study.
The results of the studyDuring the initial phase of the study, the participants of both groups used their assigned tools almost on a daily basis. After a while, however, a strong trend became apparent between the groups. Of the participants who smoked again after one year, about 4 out of 10 people in the group that received e-cigarette were still using the devices, while only about 4 out of a 100 people in group 2 still used their cessation aids. Among those who were still smoke-free after one year, 80 percent still used the e-cigarettes and only 9 percent used the other aids.
Of those participants who still smoked after one year, at least some managed to reduce their smoking by around 50 percent. Among e-cigarette users, this number was almost twice as high as among the other group (13 percent vs. 7 percent).
The results of the study are therefore extremely encouraging. The use of e-cigarettes helped significantly more participants to finally quit smoking. However, there is also a small problem here: after all, most of these people still used the devices after a year. The e-cigarette is therefore only really useful as a cessation aid if the technology is actually safer for your health than normal cigarettes.
The health consequences of using e-cigarettes are becoming more and more knownSince the technology has been available on the market for quite some time now, we already have countless results from studies on its effects on human health. One study in the past suggested that the use of e-cigarettes is only about 5 percent as harmful as smoking cigarettes. Moreover, a new study found almost no health risks for participants who had been using e-cigarettes for more than 2 years.
This clearly shows that e-cigarettes are much better for your health than normal cigarettes. Although it is still best to avoid both of them, the new technology offers smokers an effective and healthier alternative.
With the new law, China's Special Administrative Region is joining a number of other states and countries where e-cigarettes and similar products are also illegal. Alternative products to tobacco cigarettes are banned in 39 jurisdictions around the world, including Brazil, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. In other countries, such as Australia, some products are regulated. In these cases, only liquids for e-cigarettes without nicotine content may be purchased and used.
What is behind the new law?
According to the Hong Kong government, the reason for the ban is to protect young people from e-cigarettes. Protecting young people is deemed more important than providing a healthier alternative for smokers. According to Antonio Cho-shing Kwong, chairman of the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health, e-cigarettes are marketed as trendy products for young people who do not yet smoke. Since the share of smokers among secondary school children is less than 2.5%, products that attract these children are very dangerous.
What are the pros and cons for banning alternatives to tobacco products?
In reality, however, these statements should be put into perspective. For instance, it’s impossible to determine how many e-cigarette users would have started smoking without the new technology. The percentage of underage smokers is lower than ever before - and it continues to fall every year.
As important as the protection of minors is, a complete ban on e-cigarettes is unlikely to be the best solution. In addition, it is very possible that the protection of minors is not the main reason for the ban. There have been several cases in the past where political reasons (e.g. lost tax revenues from tobacco products) were the real reason for bans on e-cigarettes.
Whatever the exact reason for the ban, it’s no question that there are better solutions. Governments could impose stricter requirements on e-cigarette manufacturers in regards to marketing their products. A complete ban on the use of e-cigarettes is likely to only have two consequences: either the sale and use of e-cigarettes will be driven underground, or users will switch back to normal cigarettes. In the long run, both alternatives are decidedly bad for both the population and the government.
But as most smokers will know only too well, quitting is anything but easy. First of all, there is the physical addiction to nicotine. It is much stronger than most people would expect. According to some experts, the addiction to nicotine is as strong as the addiction to hard drugs like heroin or cocaine.
But even if you satisfy the need for nicotine - for instance through chewing gum or patches with nicotine - you still have a psychological addiction to smoking that cigarette. Depending on the person, it can be almost as hard to beat as the physical addiction. Long-term smokers in particular have developed psychological connections over time that cannot be broken so easily. Examples for these connections are the cigarette with coffee or after a meal.
Quitting smoking is therefore not only difficult, but almost impossible - or is it not? For a few years now, smokers have finally had access to a new technology that makes it relatively easy for them to escape their addiction. Since the e-cigarette was introduced, there have been countless reports from people who were finally able to quit smoking with the help of the vapour-based alternative.
Advantages of e-cigarettesThe great thing is that many former smokers reported how easy it was for them to quit with the help of electronic cigarettes. Many people did not experience any serious withdrawal symptoms. The reason for this is that the e-cigarette not only satisfies the nicotine addiction, but also the mental craving for a cigarette.
In addition, e-cigarettes are relatively cheap compared to other aids. Once you have bought the device, you only have to buy liquids and new vaporizers, both of which are very cheap to buy. Even those who vape regularly shouldn't spend more than 10 to 20 pounds per month.
Study shows: vapers have a lower risk of starting smoking againIn addition to the known advantages of e-cigarettes, a new study from Sheffield Hallam University now revealed more promising findings. The study examines the benefits and risks of e-cigarettes as an aid to quitting smoking. The study is funded by Heart Research UK, who are interested in the effects of the use of e-cigarettes on the cardiovascular system.
The study is monitoring former smokers over a period of 6 months after switching from normal to electronic cigarettes. The participants are divided into 3 groups: One group receives e-cigarettes with nicotine, the second group receives nicotine-free e-cigarettes and the third group receives support through nicotine replacement therapy from a facility in Sheffield to help smokers quit.
All participants also receive the same form of therapy to help them quit. This is to ensure that the difference was really only achieved through the use of e-cigarettes.
The first findings of the study show that people from one of the groups with e-cigarettes are much less likely to start smoking again. After the study is finished, the researchers will examine the participants more closely. The groups will be divided into successful and unsuccessful participants in order to find the reasons why only some of them were able to overcome their addiction.
But are e-cigarettes actually healthier?A common prejudice against e-cigarettes is that they are just as unhealthy as normal tobacco cigarettes. However, these prejudices have already been almost completely refuted by several long-term studies. For example, Public Health England has reported that electronic cigarettes are about 95% less harmful to human health.
Even if truly long-term studies are still lacking, it is already safe to say that e-cigarettes are a far "healthier" alternative to normal cigarettes. Of course, the goal when stopping should always be to use the new technology as a temporary help and then stop using e-cigarettes as well. However, even if a person vapes for a lifetime, it is likely to be much better than smoking cigarettes for the same period.
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