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Electronic Cigarettes: A Safe Smoking Alternative?

Posted Feb 23 2009 10:15pm

20080612 Electronic smoke

I mentioned in a post a short while back about Marijuana use by using a vaporizer, which simply vaporizes the THC in Marijuana. You inhale the vaporized THC instead of smoking the Marijuana, which is safer and more healthy. There is a fairly new concept right now that is exploding on to the market. Electronic Cigarettes. The products are made to mimic smoking in every way. From looking like a cigarette, tasting like a cigarette and even illuminating the tip.

Like the Marijuana vaporizer, the electronic cigarette vaporizes nicotine. Sometimes in capsules and sometimes in simple liquid drops. They market these electronic cigarettes saying; “Smoke anywhere smoking is not allowed”, which is great and everything but should this also be marketed as a possible  smoking cessation device? Andrea Janus from CTV.Ca brings up quite an argument here.

“I think that these particular devices are being marketed with the intention of keeping people smoking…They’re not smoking them to try to quit. And so I think that that’s a really big issue.”

Right now it is not an approved smoking cessation device (in the U.S.) and while they are called “safe”, many wonder just how safe they are. Nicotine is very toxic and if people misuse the liquid form of nicotine and/or the capsules then this could definitely prove fatal in may cases. They call this a “safe” alternative to smoking but it’s only safe in the cancer causing argument. Nicotine has not been shown to have any carcinogenic effect but it’s still a powerful stimulant that raises blood pressure. So how safe is this “safe” alternative to smoking. I guess if you are truly concerned about your health, this might be something to study up on if you smoke. The biggest concern is how much nicotine is being released in to the lungs of an electronic cigarette user and is it a safe amount? Approved smoking cessation devices are tightly regulated and the amount of nicotine released when properly used is known and tested to be safe. Smoking cessation products are also not made for permanent use.

So what does the FDA have to say about Electronic? They are investigating the safeness of the e-cigarettes and have seized quite a bit of the products coming in through customs. Essentially, nicotine is a drug and if it’s not regulated as a drug then there is no telling how many carelessly manufactured electronic cigarettes may harm people. I’m not so much worried about adults as I am worried about kids using these and not knowing the toxicity of nicotine. With anything, moderation is important, but knowing the overall safeness of the product is even more important.

Another thing to think about is that these products are electronic devices. Electronic devices have to be Rohs approved to only hold safe amounts of hazardous material such as lead and chromiums. These are products you are placing in direct contact with your skin and mouth, so this is another one of my concerns.

I can sympathize with smokers. I have been there and I’m still only a short way in to my smoke free life. The best way to quit smoking is to wean yourself off of the nicotine and to break yourself from the habit of smoking. It’s not an easy route no matter which way you go, but kicking nicotine is your ultimate goal. After all, that’s what got you hooked in the first place.

Until this is approved by the FDA and proven to be safe, I would not in my right mind promote or encourage use of these products. To me it seems more of a money-making products as opposed to something people are manufacturing with a real concern for people to quit smoking. They’re not concerned with health and safety, they are concerned with making money off of people’s addiction to nicotine…like any other drug dealer.

Image: Newscom

Tags: electronic cigarettes, safe cigs.

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