What’s up with E-Cigarettes?
I used to be a smoker, and I loved it. I smoked Camels, and imagined I was epitome of the tortured poet, wearing black and drinking red wine with a pen in one hand and a cigarette in the other. I loved the packaging, inhaling to the bottom of my lungs, and the way that it gave me something to do while waiting for my friends to show up at the bar. But what did I love the most? I loved the next cigarette.
It would be redundant to say that cigarettes are addictive. With all of the studies in place on how dangerous it is to smoke, you would think that anyone who didn’t smoke right now, today, would never start. I mean, what are the benefits? Cancer, for one. Reeking of smoke, ruining your skin, tasting like an ashtray…the list just goes on and on. So, what’s up with the E-Cigarette? Now, let me clarify. I’m not talking about an adult who has been smoking for years and is trying to quit. I’m talking about teenagers, who don’t smoke, but start with an E-Cig because it’s “harmless”. Helloooo…the issue isn’t what they are smoking, but why.
The Electronic Cigarette was developed in China, and exported starting in 2005-2006. The FDA tried to regulate the Electronic Cigarette, citing that it was a drug delivery device, but they were overruled in Federal District Court in 2010. In 2009, however, the FDA “banned flavored tobacco (with the notable exception of menthol cigarettes) due to its potential appeal to children. Wagner says that the use of flavorings such as chocolate could encourage childhood use and serve as a gateway to cigarette smoking.” The E-Cig trade, however, doesn’t seem to have to follow those rules. My teenage source states that his friends have many different flavors, and he has even tried some. When I scold him for smoking, he assures me that it’s not dangerous. It’s only water vapor. Really?
Actually, There have been several studies done in the past few years which dispute the “healthy” aspect of the E-Cig. On the Rueters.com site, researchers did a study in Greece on the short term effects of the E-Cig:
“For the new study, Vardavas and colleagues in Athens had 30 healthy smokers puff on an e-cigarette to see how it affected their airways.
The researchers found that after five minutes, users showed signs of airway constriction — as measured by several types of breathing tests — and of inflammation.” Yup, that sounds healthy to me. Now, my source says his friends are only smoking the non nicotine versions of the vapors. But I ask you, what is the point of inhaling flavored water vapor into your lungs? I don’t care if it’s holy water and the Pope has blessed it, it’s still water in your lungs. This isn’t a humidifier we’re talking about, folks. This is a device which in essence is teaching kids how to inhale a foreign substance into their lungs. You know, like a practice cigarette.
An E-Cig is defined this way on e-cigarettedirectory.com:
“An electronic cigarette is a battery powered vaporizer (heating element) that warms up the e-liquid (propylene glcyol, glycerin, water, flavoring and optionally nicotine) to create a vapor that can be inhaled or exhaled. If you smoke, try one.”
Oh, I’m sorry. It’s not water. It’s propylene glcyol, glycerine, and water. That must be better. To be fair, I’m glad to see that last sentence. However, I still don’t see the benefit of inhaling water.
How old do you have to be to purchase an E-Cig? I looked up an E-Cig website (southbeachsmoke.com) and was very pleased to see that in the check out I was asked for my date of birth, and reminded that I needed to be over eighteen. Well, that should do the trick, then. I mean, nobody would ever dare to change the year of their birth, right? As far as we know, that’s never been done, has it? Right.
The question here isn’t -why are kids smoking, but why AREN’T they? I mean, this e-cig looks like a toy, tastes like chocolate and is being sold as harmless. Good grief, I want to start smoking again.
I’m all for the E-Cig as a method to quit smoking. Water vapor is a much better alternative than the carcinogens from cigarettes. But why do we have to make it so appealing to kids? We don’t want our kids to make the same mistakes we did, right? The message here is don’t smoke. Anything. Period.