Ban on E-cigarette Smoking May Be Warranted
Recent news reports tell us that Wales could very well become the first in the United Kingdom to extend the ban on smoking in public places to include the controversial electronic cigarettes - also known as e-cigarettes.
According to information from a special report by Consumer Reports on Health, such a ban may be warranted in light of lack of any proof demonstrating that e-cigarettes are truly safe and may be harmful not only to smokers, but people exposed to e-cigarette secondhand vapor as well.
On the 7th anniversary of their public smoking ban, government officials in Wales are concerned about the dangers of e-cigarettes and its potential impact on public health. They believe that e-cigarettes will undermine the public cigarette smoking ban and will lead to increasing numbers of people becoming addicted to smoking.
According to statements attributed to Health Minister Mark Drakeford by the BBC News:
"I have concerns about the impact of e-cigarettes on the enforcement of Wales' smoking ban. That's why we are proposing restricting their use in enclosed public places."
"I am also concerned that their use in enclosed public places could normalize smoking behavior."
"E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive, and I want to minimize the risk of a new generation becoming addicted to this drug."
As it turns out, concerns of nicotine addiction are warranted with e-cigarettes due to that e-cigarettes remain a nicotine delivery device as it is with their predecessor pre-ban tobacco cigarettes. However, e-cigarettes differ markedly in that they reportedly do not result in exposing the smoker or a passerby to carbon monoxide or particle pollutants that are carcinogens in the smoke.
How e-cigarettes work is that as a user puffs on one end, a tiny electronic device in the e-cigarette becomes activated and heats up a nicotine cartridge. The contents of the cartridge become atomized into a vapor that is then inhaled and thereby supposedly only exposing the smoker to nicotine. The remaining vapor evaporates away without any smoke exposure to others.
But are these benefits to e-cigarettes really real?―asks Consumer Reports on Health. According to their special report, their findings reveal the following two facts and concerns:
E-cigarette Fact #1: E-cigarettes do not appear to help break a smoking habit
Consumer Reports on Health discusses two studies concerning the effectiveness of e-cigarettes on helping smokers quit smoking.
The first study is one from New Zealand involving 657 smokers that showed that there were only minor differences in effectiveness comparing e-cigarettes with nicotine patches or with non-nicotine placebo e-cigarettes.
The second study was performed by researchers at the University of California in San Francisco who looked at data from 75,643 South Korean teenagers and found that those who used e-cigarettes as a way to stop smoking were less successful and wound up actually smoking even more tobacco cigarettes while trying to quit.
E-cigarette Fact #2: E-cigarette smoke and secondhand smoke (vapor) may not be as safe as touted
In a comparison of exhaled vapor from 3 brands of e-cigarettes with exhaled tobacco smoke, researchers found that e-cig vapor contains only 1/10 of the nicotine and no carbon monoxide or particle pollutants.
However, many other brands of e-cigarettes do contain more nicotine than tobacco cigarettes. Furthermore, earlier research cites other pollutant concerns from e-cig vapor that includes the solvents propylene glycol and formaldehyde.
On top of the organic solvent concerns, manufacturers are not required to list what Consumer Reports on Health label as “mystery ingredients” that could be harmful as well.
The experts from Consumer Reports on Health close their special report with the recommendation that until more is known regarding the safety of e-cigarettes that they should be avoided and that smokers wanting to quit smoking should employ other proven smoking cessation methods such as behavioral counseling, nicotine replacement products and prescription non-nicotine medication with counseling from a physician.
For an informative article about the 5 most common e-cigarette problems, click on the titled link, “Consumer Reports Warns Buyers about the 5 Most Common E-Cigarette Problems.”
Image Source: Courtesy of PhotoBucket
BBC News Wales: “E-cigarettes face curb in public places in Wales”
Consumer Reports on Health: “Clearing the Air about E-cigarettes” April 2014 issue