The success that the e-cigarette manufacturers have attained over the past year has been tremendous. With $2 billion in sales, there seems to be no stopping the proliferation of e-cigarettes. However, the big question remains—can it replace tobacco smoking? This seems to be the question everybody is waiting to be answered. Will it be able to help smokers quit or become a device that just maintains a smoker’s habit?
Since e-cigarettes have been around only for quite some time, there is only a limited amount of information available to consumers. The e-cigarette is a product that is legally available but has not been fully studied. The following questions remain unanswered or has not yet been backed by sufficient evidence.
- What are the risks and side-effects of e-cigarettes when used as instructed?
- How much nicotine and other potentially harmful chemicals do users inhale when using the product?
- What are the actual benefits of using e-cigarettes?
- Does e-cigarette lead individuals, particularly young people to try conventional cigarettes (with actual tobacco), which has been known and scientifically proven to cause various diseases, aggravate medical conditions, and may even lead to premature death.
E-Cigarettes and FDA Regulations
There are currently e-cigarette products that are marketed for therapeutic applications, which are regulated by the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. On the other hand, the FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) is responsible for regulating tobacco products such as the following:
- cigarette tobacco
- smokeless tobacco
- roll-your-own tobacco
FDA has recently informed the public of its issuance of a proposal that seeks to extend the tobacco authority to include e-cigarettes and other innovations that meet the legal definition of a tobacco product. The need for regulation is being pushed by both non-profit organizations and medical experts due to the apparent lack of supporting evidence for the benefits of e-cigarettes.
Do E-Cigarettes Really Help Smokers Quit?
Let’s highlight a key health benefit derived from smoking e-cigarettes. According to pulmonologist Rima Gidwani of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, e-cigs are not only less addictive, they also have less carcinogens than the conventional cigarette. This means the risk of developing a form of cancer is lower when vaping. It could play a big factor in smokers who want an alternative with less health risks. They could abandon smoking tobacco for vaping, but there is no evidence to support that yet.
It seems that there is more hope and optimism than actual scientific evidence to support the idea that e-cigarettes can help smokers quit. They are an attractive to smokers because it offers the same hand-to-mouth motion that has become a habit, something that nicotine patches and gums cannot offer. Perhaps the best answer to the question right now is that despite having limited knowledge about e-cigarettes, the danger of tobacco cigarettes is too high to not give e-cigarettes the advantage. It is clearly still a better option than smoking tobacco.
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