E cigarettes stir controversy. It’s something that has been known ever since they first came about. After all, a product that vaguely resembles a cigarette and tends to be marketed towards smokers has absolutely got to be manufactured in a nicotine laced pit of hell and all who use them are most likely demonic minions or poor misguided sheep. At least that’s what staunch e cigarette critics would have you believe. A lot of effort has gone into making e cigarettes look bad over the past couple of years and critics have used a number of different weapons to try and paint them in a negative light.
One of the first things that was done to try and herd smokers away from e cigarettes was to use appearances. The argument was made that a product that looked like a cigarette, even if the resemblance was only a vague one, would only encourage others to go out and smoke. It’s still a common argument to this day, a common argument made by people who seem to lack common sense. Apparently the argument is that people are stupid enough to run out and try real cigarettes because they saw someone using an alternative to the real cigarettes. The fact is that these are products that were created for people who are already smokers. They are designed to get smokers away from regular cigarettes. If the goal was to get smokers to use real cigarettes then Big Tobacco would have invested in them on Day One and we would be having entirely different conversations about e cigarettes.
After that argument didn’t quite work out the argument that they could have a second hand smoke effect came about, like many probably guessed it would. The argument was that the nicotine in e liquid would have the same effect as second hand smoke and could potentially get people. Then of course a series of studies comes out from various reputable environmental groups, universities, and other such scientific entities. But of course their findings are often ignored because they aren’t the high and mighty FDA who has displayed a very public bias against e cigarettes from day one because of the alleged potential for the products to be marketed to children…hold on a second, children?
Apparently there is a belief that e cigarettes will be exploited and advertised to children as a result of the fact that not a whole lot of places in the US have bans on selling e cigarettes to minors even though NRT’s cause many nicotine poison cases each year in children, but this is never mentioned. Well, since states haven’t banned them yet then that MUST be a sure indicator that kids are the target for these dastardly devices, right? Never mind the fact that they were, once again, created as an alternative to real cigarettes rather than a means of attracting people to them. Because e liquid comes in an assortment of flavors the argument is made that this makes them appealing to children. Of course condoms and alcoholic drinks come in an assortment of flavors as well but we’ll probably crack down on that after these evil e cigarettes have been dealt with because of course flavored condoms and alcohol are a big deal…except they aren’t.
When one factors in the sociological ramifications of believing e cigarettes are appealing to children the argument starts to make even less sense. Anti-smoking advertisements are seen by kids on a daily basis and even use the same ingredients in e cigs to make the commercials they show them while calling the e cigarette a hazard. If you were to ask any random kid what they think of cigarettes there is an extraordinarily high chance that they’ll tell you that smoking is nasty. You have about the same chance of finding a kid who thinks smoking is appealing as Shaquille O’Neal had of making a free throw in his hey-day. Kids these days are conditioned by society to hate cigarettes and smoking in general so the thought that e cigarettes would be appealing is kind of ridiculous.
Let’s talk about nicotine poisoning, shall we? One of the biggest arguments that experts (and the term is being used very loosely here) have tried to make against e cigarettes where all other logic fails is that a person could, in theory, use the product enough to get nicotine poisoning. And you know what? They’re right, nicotine can poison people…if people were to just straight up drink it. So unless you are drinking e liquid by the bottle you don’t really have to worry about overdoing it with your e cigarette. And if you are drinking your e liquid then there is probably nothing that this article can do for you and you probably need to see a doctor immediately.
Now that we’ve thoroughly dissected the criticisms levied at e cigarettes here comes the part where we let you know just who backs up e cigarettes. The following groups have all done independent tests which had end results that concluded that e cigarettes were as harmless as a de-clawed kitten if used as intended: Boston University School of Public Health, Health New Zealand Ltd., University of East London, CHANGE LLC from the Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY , and there are numerous others. There is probably one group you are noticing as absent in that list: the FDA.
The FDA has yet to publicly say in any definite terms that e cigarettes are dangerous. When they are confronted with the numerous positive findings that suggest that e cigarettes are harmless their response is usually to the tune of ,”We need to do more tests before we can know if e cigarettes cause harm or not.” This brings up the question of just when and if those tests are even being done. More and more smokers are coming forward saying that their experience with e cigarettes has been positive and more and more studies are coming out with findings that very strongly suggest that e cigarettes are harmless. If these studies from independent research organizations are turning up some form of result then why isn’t the largest pharmaceutical/medical watchdog on the planet able to draw up any definitive conclusions?
One would think that if they are concerned about the safety of an alternative to the product that is proven to be the root of the number one cause of preventable death in America that they would at least put all findings for or against it under the most detailed of microscopes. Unfortunately the ball is in their court right now and until the FDA says otherwise it still remains to be conclusively seen if e cigs are a help or hazard. In the meantime e cigarette users will have to continue to live under the same flag of vilification that people who smoke regular cigarettes live under.