Are E-Cigarettes A Health Product?
As the FDA continues to fine tune their regulations regarding e-cigarettes, it has left many in doubt over whether these are a health product or if they are potentially as harmful as smoking. If you ask any vaper they will usually share their opinion that these products are a godsend because it helped them quit smoking. They will also typically tell you that they feel like their lungs are healthier since making the switch. This is just an individual opinion though and there is no real conclusive evidence to support either side of this debate but looking at the way other countries control and study them could indicate the way this debate is shifting as well as the areas that are of highest concern.
E-Cigarettes in the USA
There are a huge number of studies conducted each year into the harm caused by e-cigarettes but nothing has been conclusive and a lot of these studies directly contradict one another. The American Lung Association is one body that has looked into these products. They have found that e-cigarettes contain varying levels of nicotine as well as several other harmful substances. They are concerned about the potential health consequences of these products but believe that FDA regulation is urgent in order to better understand the make-up of these products and to discover the potential effects of them over longer periods of time.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse is another organization that have looked into the effects of these products. Again they do not believe that there is enough information on these products to say that they are safer than smoking. This institute also considered the role e-cigarettes can play in encouraging children to smoke. They claim that flavors like cotton candy, fruits and more act as a way of encouraging youths to try these products before subsequently becoming hooked on them. This demonstrates the huge range of issues that surround e-cigarettes and associated products. In order to have sensible regulation of them these concerns have to be cleared up through independent studies. Several other countries around the world have taken a much more positive view of these products.
The UK is a hotbed of e-cigarette activity, there are over 2 million vapers which may not seem like a lot but in a country with a population of around 60 million of which less than 8 million are smokers, having 2 million vapers has made this country keen to find out everything they can about these new products.
The Royal College of Physicians which is one of the most respected medical research groups in the world, recently published a report on the harm and dangers of e-cigarettes and their findings were most surprising. They found e-cigarettes to be much safer than smoking but this was not all the report found. They also determined they were an important method of helping smokers quit and that e-cigarettes were not a gateway to smoking amongst young people. These three issues are some of the most concerning and it is excellent to finally have independent research that agrees with what most vapers will say from experience about these products.
Over the long term the Royal College declared that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking traditional cigarettes. This suggests that e-cigarettes are capable of reducing the level of harm caused by tobacco and that it would be a positive thing for all smokers to move across and start to use this technology.
Will We Ever Know?
Finding out the truth about these products will take time. As vapers age alongside long term use we will see if there are long term health effects. Time will also provide a better understanding of if these product act as a gateway to smoking or if they are a useful cessation tool. Many additional studies will be released no doubt arguing both sides of the fence and speculation will continue. The next real step that will allow us to understand more about the potential harm of these products is the opinion of the FDA and the recommendations they make. Until this is done all discussion of the harm caused by e-cigarettes will remain largely speculative.
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