There are concerns that electronic cigarettes could be dangerous to the health of vapers, second-hand vapers, and also to unborn babies. These concerns are being voiced by the United Nations, and there are many people who agree with their fears regarding the unknown risks of e-cigs. Not everyone feels the way they do. Those opposed to the UN’s press releases regarding electronic cigarettes, surprisingly, do not all come from the industry itself. Many opponents come from the health sector.
A contingent of health professionals argues that electronic cigarettes are saving lives: the lives of ex-smokers, ex-second-hand smokers, and babies who were being born to mothers and fathers who used to smoke. Unnecessary, early deaths attributed to cigarette smoke are in the hundreds of thousands in the United States alone.
Medical professionals see a lack of hard evidence for or against e-cigs in a different light from bodies speaking against them. In the UK, particularly, electronic vaping devices are regarded as potentially life-saving.
The E-Cig Industry
Unless you have lived in a cave for the past 2 years, electronic cigarettes are known to you even if only in passing. You might never have seen one in action, but they are sold on the internet and at convenience stores, pharmacies, and grocery stores. Not only are there disposable products you can pick up for $5 to $10 at the gas station, but you can also purchase starter kits from these shops for $50 which contain all the parts necessary for recharging batteries and adding more flavor cartridges. Brands such as V2 Cigs, White Cloud, and South Beach Smoke are commonplace with many others on shelves or sold online as well.
Besides these devices, there are bigger items which one can purchase directly from e-cig companies such as VaporFi, Halo Cig, and Volcano. Products from Chinese companies line shelves at vaping stores which were once uncommon but are now popping up in every state and all major cities.
Then there are e-liquid companies, known for their lines of sweet tasting or exotic e-liquids containing various ingredients, one of which is usually liquid nicotine. One can purchase a high-level of nicotine, wean off of nicotine slowly by 4 mg or 6 mg at a time, until all nicotine is gone but vapor and flavor remain.
Nicotine at the Center of Debate
In the middle of the hot debate about electronic cigarettes is the topic of nicotine: whether it is a killer on its own, can cause second-hand damage, or is being sold directly to teenagers. Proponents of the e-cig industry argue that none of these things is true or, if there is any truth in such arguments, data shows the toxic impact from e-cigs as insignificant.
Many doctors agree that nicotine is dangerous but not nearly as toxic as cigarette smoke and no more addictive than coffee. If consumers are inhaling some vapor from electronic cigarettes second-hand, the risks are miniscule. One would have to be boxed in a small, windowless room stuffed with vapers to experience significant negative effects.
The issue of teen vapers is one for which there is more evidence; financial data. The economic reality is that teenagers are drawn to e-cigs for multiple reasons and they are contributing to the success of these devices. The UN believes there is a high probability that teen vapers will become smokers. Scientific research cannot back up such statements and has not proven or disproved that e-cigs pose a threat to long term health.
UN authorities push for governments to ban e-cig use indoors and to ban all e-cig advertising. This is supposed to curtail interest among youth about the new and tasty technology.
But e-cig advocates believe that teens who vape would also have smoked. Any non-smoking converts (at any age) make up a small number of the global vaping community. The risks of becoming a nicotine addict are miniscule compared with how much good this industry is doing for smokers who tried to quit before but could not.
As for the sweet flavors, there is no need to vape nicotine. Almost every e-liquid on the market is sold nicotine-free.
The Bottom Line
Advocates of electronic cigarettes assert that the UN’s public declamations against e-cigs are misleading, ill-informed, and biased. Medical experts are surprised by their inaccuracy, confused as to what would have inspired such strong opinions against, as they put it, ‘a life-saving industry’.