Electronic Cigarettes Under Fire

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, as they are commonly called, are a fairly new innovation that many people have turned to as an alternative to smoking. Proponents of the technology sing their praises as a healthy alternative to smoking, but there are those who question their safety and even go so far as to say they are “dangerous,” and that they are a “gateway to nicotine addiction.”

So, what's the real deal with e-cigarettes?

First of all, let's establish what an e-cigarette is, and what it is not. An e-cig is a devise that heats liquid, that may or may not contain nicotine, into a vapor that is inhaled by the user. The liquid contains Vegetable Glycerine (VG), Propylene Glycol (PG), flavor and optionally, nicotine. There is no paper, tobacco or other chemicals to burn, so the user does not “smoke” the e-cigarette. They “vape.”

Cigarettes contain up to 4000 different chemicals, 43 of which are known carcinogens. Electronic cigarettes contain 4 ingredients, none of which pose any health risk. Vegetable glycerine is commonly used in food, as well as theatrical fog machines. Propylene Glycol is the primary ingredient in asthma inhalers. Nicotine is an addictive substance, but does not directly cause any health problems. Flavor is in just about every packaged food in the world.

Governments world-wide have been scrambling lately to pass some sort of judgement on the e-cigarette industry – either to approve, ban or regulate it. There is quite a variety of results in this area. Some governments have opted to allow their use, some have banned them and still more are undecided.

Agencies such as the FDA, Health Canada, have begun making statements that the safety of e-cigarettes is unknown, that there have been no definitive clinical studies done, and that they are unregulated. Perhaps that is true, however, there have been definitive studies done on the harmful effects of cigarette smoking, we know that it is unsafe and yet one can walk into any convenience store and buy a pack.

We know that several big corporations gain huge revenue from the sale of tobacco products, namely:

Governments via tobacco tax revenue Big tobacco companies Pharmaceutical companies via drugs to treat cancer, COPD, heart disease and a multitude of other diseases caused by smoking

If e-cigarettes were to become more mainstream and replace tobacco use, billions, if not trillions of dollars would be lost by these stakeholders.

So, is it about health or revenue?


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