E-Cigarettes becoming trendier than regular cigarettes
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/09/2012 -- Vaping, or the act of using an e-cigarette, is on the rise. E-cigarettes have no tobacco in them; thus, they are often presented as an alternative to smoking or as a means for quitting smoking.
With a shape similar to cigarettes, e-cigarettes are made out of plastic and metal.
In them, a battery heats a solution containing a food additive called “propylene glycol,” which produces a vapor that is inhaled by users—hence the verb “vaping.” This solution is disposable and it comes in a variety of flavors, with varying levels of nicotine.
Perhaps part of the charm of e-cigarettes lies in Hollywood, just like cigarettes themselves. Johnny Depp vaped in The Tourist, and Katherine Heigl vaped on The David Letterman Show.
However, just like smoking in its early days, much is still unknown about vaping. Medical experts are warning users from using e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking or as an alternative to smoking.
Dr. Gale Burstein, the Erie County health commissioner, says, “"I think people have the perception that e-cigarettes are harmless," She explains that there is not enough research or time to know much about e-cigarettes as of yet. "We don't know the long-term health effects on people who use e-cigarettes. We also don't know the effects of secondhand vapor. It's still a public health issue."
E-cigarettes are still unregulated and there is much that remains a mystery about them, but health officials are wary of the plastic cigarettes.
Richard O’Connor, an associate professor of oncology in the the Department of Health Behavior at Roswell Park Cancer Institute explains, “We don't know enough about e-cigarettes to recommend them,"
"They may be helpful to some people. The caveat to that is the absence of manufacturing standards and regulations. The other issue is there have not been any good clinical trials, which is the gold standard for knowing whether something works for smoking cessation,” O’Connor adds.
Burstein said e-cigarettes are not just attracting adult users; they are also attracting a whole new demographic: underage smokers.
"Just the marketing of something electronic is very attractive to children and teenagers," she said. "As a pediatrician, I'm worried this may be another venue for teenagers to start inhaling something that may be toxic."
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