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An e-cigarette also known as an electronic cigarette is an option to any smoking device or tobacco smoking. Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist, in 2003 invented the modern design of the electronic cigarette. Normally portable and the size of a ballpoint pen, the invention aims to give the real feeling of smoking with great reduction, if not total elimination, of the negative effects on health usually due to tobacco smoking. Despite the overly stated declaration of its safety, issues are still brought up regarding other health risks in using the product, and the possible attraction of minors, even of children, brought about by its novelty and flavorings.
There have been ongoing debates and pending legislations in many countries regarding the issues of the adverse effects and health benefits of these reusable and disposable models. Because of its comparatively latest creation and just-growing popularity in the market, organizations and researchers have not yet establish a controlled study on electronic cigarettes. But here are ongoing studies on the long term health effects of inhaled nicotine vapour and second hand vapor.
What the Food and Drug Administration Found Out
The Pharmaceutical Analysis Division of the Food and Drug Administration in the USA (USFDA) tested the contents of 19 different electronic cigarette cartridges produced by two vendors in May 2009. The test showed that one of the cartridges by one of the manufacturers has diethylene glycol. Also, known cancer-causing carcinogens and tobacco-specific nitrosamines, were seen in most cartridges. In line with this, the printed labels on the cartridges did not show the actual amount of nicotine it contains, while some cartridges which claim to be nicotine-free aren’t really as free as it should be since there are traces of nicotine. After two months of study the FDA gave a press release stating discouragements of the use of e-cigarettes due to the lack of health warnings and gave more emphasis on its previous statements related to concerns that the product can be marketed to young people.
What the World Health Organization Suggests
In September 2008, WHO stated that as far as it is concerned, “no rigorous, peer-reviewed studies have been conducted” to prove that the e-cig is a harmless and efficient nicotine replacement. Further, “WHO does not discount the possibility that the electronic cigarette could be useful as a smoking cessation aid”. Claims saying that the e-cig can give smokers a hand in quitting the habit needed back up clinical studies and toxicity analyses with proper regularity framework, according to Douglas Bettcher, the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative director ad interim. He also said that until those are fulfilled, the organization cannot regard electronic cigarettes to be a proper nicotine replacement therapy.
Why the American Association of Public Health Physicians Encourages the Electronic Cigarette
AAPHP urges that the FDA reclassify the electronic cigarette. By doing so, the organization thinks that the effects of second-hand smoke will relatively decrease through the use of the e-cig. This is why AAPHP encourages the use of electronic cigarettes. In their statement, an e-cig user can reduce his or her risk of “future tobacco-related deaths by 98% or better” by resorting to a “low risk smokeless tobacco product” and further cut such risk by almost 100% by using a “nicotine-only” product such as an electronic cigarette.
Certain facts are shown in studies. However, the option to buy e-cigarettes still lies in the prerogative of the consumer. That is why it is still best to be vigilant before trying out any product, be it a pharmaceutical or a tobacco-related invention.