A bitter struggle is underway between parties for and against e-cigs. They have good reasons of their own to feel the way they do: negative past experiences with cigarettes, e-cigs, or companies not being honest about their products. Neither side trusts the other.
Their struggle makes it appear that all people in either camp are irrational. It’s not always that simple. Here are their sides reduced to a summary. These summaries in no way represent the whole story or the personal elements involved in debating this hot issue.
Quit Smoking, or Not
Although companies cannot legally make this claim (as then e-cigs would be classified into a medical product category), numerous vapers say e-cigs are all they use now, and no longer smoke tobacco cigarettes. Brands are unable to promote this benefit, as in something that helps people quit smoking, but customers can comment on the fact that they stopped smoking after they tried vaping and they do so often in written and on-camera testimonials. You can do your own research into this to find out for yourself.
But the other side argues this is misleading. What if smokers did not have e-cigs? Who is to say they would not have quit smoking on their own? Ex-smokers say they know gum wasn’t working. Hypnosis failed too. Vaping was the only alternative that worked for them and it saved them from a slow, painful, and early death.
Nicotine: the Bad Guy?
Once you get rid of the smoke, e-cigs and cigarettes still share at least one poison in common: nicotine. Your e-cig does not have to contain this drug, so at least nicotine is an option. Yet, most disposable electronic cigarettes contain at least 1.2%, usually more, and sometimes more than 4% nicotine.
This is an addictive substance which can cause heart problems the way caffeine can over-stimulate the heart. In susceptible individuals, nicotine is lethal. Not only do vapers put themselves at risk, but they might also be causing risk to second-hand vapers.
At its root, the biggest issue here is ignorance. How many people expose their bodies to nicotine, not realizing what it is? Do vapers or bystanders always recognize the risk? Some e-cig fans believe the danger of nicotine is overstated. Medical professionals, however, believe consumers are not willing to hear the truth.
Nicotine addiction potentially leads to another problem: more serious drug dependency. Vapers believe this is rubbish: most smokers are not tempted to try cocaine because they smoke and are addicted to nicotine. Researchers say they have evidence to prove this can happen.
Are Teenagers Tempted?
Lots of teens smoke. That’s nothing new. Having the choice to vape or smoke is the only new fact, but e-cigs are not causing teenagers to smoke. That’s what e-cig advocates say. Anti-vaping voices cry that sales of electronic cigarettes among young people have increased too much for e-cig companies to hide their heads in the sand.
Vapers say these teens would have smoked anyway, and at least they are not exposing themselves to carcinogens (or at least not as many). If e-cig sales are increasing among youth, the tobacco market is losing customers they would have had.
Methods of Advertising
It’s not just the result that worries parents and anti-smoking campaigners; they aren’t happy with methods used to attract customers, some of which appear to be directed at a young audience. They promote vaping with the help of semi-naked bodies, scenes of people partying together, suggestive imagery, and the idea that vaping is “trendy.” You have to vape if you want to fit in.
Besides, e-juice tastes great. You can vape chocolate-dipped strawberries, lemon meringue pie, or your favorite breakfast cereal without gaining a pound. E-liquid is a dieter’s dream.
Vapor companies respond that if they could promote their devices as smoking cessation products, they would not be forced to use naked bodies. That’s not entirely true since a number of firms take a different tack, approaching from the green angle instead. As for the flavors, those are advantages of producing vapor instead of smoke.
Promoting Green Products
Whether a brand has the word “green” or the color green in their advertising or chooses another approach entirely, e-cigs are environmentally more responsible and friendly than cigarettes. For every cartomizer a consumer empties, he would have smoked a pack or more of cigarettes. Batteries last for months before they are disposed of, and companies encourage recycling. A few even welcome the return of empty cartridges and batteries, sometimes issuing loyalty points as a reward.
E-waste is a concern: batteries are dreadful for the planet, especially if they wind up in landfills. Yet, cigarettes produce many more poisonous butts than e-cigs produce batteries in the same time frame.
Are e-cig companies dishonest about their flavors, or are they merely protective of their recipes? It is argued by many that e-liquid firms choose not to label their juices for fear that other companies will copy their recipes, but the problem is customers really need to know what they are consuming. Certain ingredients can cause allergies.
What about food and drink? Is every ingredient labeled by the manufacturer of your favorite cookie or soft drink? Usually not, but the public is far less critical of these companies and does not push for greater transparency. It would be best if food, drink, and e-liquid companies all disclosed their ingredients and if customers pursued that knowledge as their right.
Cases of burns and explosions are real and devastating. They have caused customers to lose property, confidence, and even a life. These losses are significant, but their numbers are small.
Usually, such tragedies are avoidable if consumers follow directions. They mustn’t assume a battery and charger are protected against overcharge. They must not try to insert a battery into a charger for which it was not designed. Admittedly, certain instances have resulted from incompetent manufacturing, but even these types of incidents are incredibly rare compared with lives lost due to smoking and lives or property lost as a result of smoking-related fires.
The Money Trail
Numerous people who are pro-vaping sense an agenda with the seeming negative headlines about e-cigs. They think that there is a threat to big corporations who benefit from the sale and taxation of tobacco products, and that e-cigs are a threat to them, as well as other corporations who benefit from the costs of medical expenses and medications, in that pro-vapers deem e-cigs to be healthy, therefore sending less money towards medically based corporations.
Then there are those who vape who save a lot of money by just using e-juice, and those who’ve gotten into the e-cig/vaping business, and they say that hefty restrictions will cost the consumer more, and potentially put many small businesses out of business, and therefore, they say that e-cigs are better for the economy for the little guy, and not so much for the ‘big guy’.
Clearly there are many various entities involved, all whom hold strong beliefs about their part, and are intent on spreading the word, of their speculations or findings, and it makes for a seeming endless debate where both sides have their points, and some lean on the edge of ridiculousness, whilst many provide worthy points, and this perhaps explains part of why categorization and regulations have not happened overnight, as there is much to study, and millions of voices to be heard.