Health advocates believe that the tobacco companies cannot be trusted to produce products that provide a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes. Therefore, there is a great deal of controversy on this subject.
As a framework for public health, harm reduction places its focus upon the reduction of harmful consequences of the recreational use of drugs. It does not necessarily focus on the elimination of the use. Some examples of the results of harm reduction are needle exchange programs for drug users and designated driver programs for drinkers. Although smoking cessation products, such as patches and prescription drugs, have been accepted by the tobacco control community, recreational options have not been.
While omitting tobacco, the electronic cigarette does contain nicotine and generate a vapor which appears quite like tobacco smoke. The e-cigarette is a pleasurable option since it gives you the sensation of handling and puffing on a regular cigarette. And, since the electronic cigarette is not an item made or sold by tobacco companies, the harm reduction aspect is re-examined here, as it should be.
Both harm reduction and the safety of the use of electronic cigarettes is reviewed by a researcher with the Department of Community Health Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health, Michael Siegel and a representative of the Department of Political Science at University of California at Berkeley, Zachary Cahn.
You have the feel and appearance of puffing on a regular cigarette since battery-operated e-cigarettes turn nicotine into a steamy vapor. Electronic cigarettes are usually shaped like old fashioned tobacco cigarettes. With an electronic cigarette, the user mimics the act of smoking by inhaling and exhaling a flavored vapor containing nicotine. Called “vaping”, smoking e-cigs has been found, initially, to be less unhealthy than smoking because of the absence of tobacco and tar, and the much smaller amount of chemicals compared to tobacco cigarettes.
Electronic cigarettes address both the addiction to the act of smoking and the addiction to nicotine.
The hand to mouth action of smoking provides a great deal of the behavioural addiction involved. More than just an addiction, smoking is a habit. Electronic cigarettes address both the habit and the addiction of smoking tobacco cigarettes.
Electronic Cigarettes Study: In the study of electronic cigarettes, 16 investigations were shown that explained the components in the e-cig liquid and vapor. Here are the results of the studies: The main components of electronic cigarettes are nicotine, glycerin and/or propylene glycol. Tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) and diethylene glycol (DEG) were the other detected ingredients which may jeopardize health according to the FDA. TSNAs in far lower levels than those found in tobacco cigarettes were identified in two of the studies.
Out of 18 cartridges tested, just one was detected to have DEG. The chemicals found in electronic cigarettes have negligible health risks, especially as compared with the great multitude of chemicals (up to 100,000) found in tobacco cigarettes. It is quite evident that electronic cigarettes are a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes. Not much contrast in health risks is found when it is compared to other nicotine replacement products.
There are two published studies that have examined the effectiveness of electronic cigarettes on the reduction of cravings.
There have been no studies examining the effectiveness of electronic cigarettes as devices for smoking cessation. The findings were that electronic cigarettes deliver nicotine both more quickly and more effectively than nicotine inhalers. Additionally, even though electronic cigarettes deliver a smaller dose of nicotine than tobacco cigarettes, they effectively reduce cravings. Bullen and his colleagues noted this in their studies. Electronic cigarettes have been proven to reduce the urge to smoke within 10 minutes of use. This effect seems to be independent of nicotine absorption. In fact, even zero nicotine cartridges produced this effect.
Truths and arguments of harm reduction include the notion that providing a safer alternative will prevent the cessation of smoking and attract young people and non-smokers. Actually using an electronic cigarette is not necessarily a form of smoking cessation. Instead, it is more like nicotine replacement therapy in the long-term. As well, no evidence exists that non-smokers use the product, and the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors is prohibited by law.
One argument is that it is not possible to compare combustible tobacco products with non combustible electronic cigarettes via a machine measured method. In fact, because there is no tobacco in electronic cigarettes, there is also no combustion.
Another worry is that nicotine replacement devices look ugly and do not work. The fact is that the reason for this is the design of products for nicotine replacement. Electronic cigarettes were designed expressly for replicating the smoking act sans tobacco.
One argument is that you cannot trust tobacco companies to market or produce an alternative to smoking tobacco that is safer. In the past these companies have introduced some products and touted them as being safer; however, these claims have proven untrue. For this reason, people wonder if electronic cigarettes might also be dangerous. Actually, tobacco companies have nothing to do with the marketing and production of electronic cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes are up against tobacco companies, and David Sweanor, an adjunct law professor says that they are the very thing that tobacco companies have feared for all these years.
As smoking cigarettes is the chief reason for death in the United States, the “main objective of tobacco control is to lower mortality and morbidity arising from tobacco use.” Made to replace or diminish the smoking of ordinary cigarettes, the electronic cigarette is a safer choice. Researchers have concluded that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than regular ones since they have far fewer chemical ingredients.
There are a number of agencies which, unfortunately, support the FDA push to ban electronic cigarettes in the U.S. Among them are the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, Action for Smoking & Health and the American Heart Association. Disallowing electronic cigarettes will only harm the customers, “unless it is proven that the harms exceed the advantages.