E-Cigarettes – Increasingly Popular With Smokers

By Lindsay Fox Posted October 26, 2012

E-cigarettes are becoming very popular these days, with more smokers rather than non-smokers likely to know about them. According to the American Journal of Public Health, around 40% of people surveyed had heard about e-cigarettes. Interestingly, it is smokers who are more likely to use these products.


These products are easily available for purchase at local retail shops (Walmart, Walgreens, Sheetz, and many gas stations across the U.S.) or online stores and there are many brands available to choose from. A customer can choose from many different flavors and nicotine strengths. Interestingly, these products are not regulated by the FDA, but don't let this discourage you from pursuing e-cigarettes.


It is very easy to see why e-cigarettes are getting very popular. They look like traditional tobacco cigarettes but they do not contain any tobacco or paper. Instead, they consist of a cartridge (cartomizer) containing nicotine solution, a mouthpiece, a vaporizer (battery), and an indicator LED light. The nicotine solution gets converted into a vapor mist when it is heated by the battery, enabling the user to inhale nicotine without any tar, carbon monoxide or the many other carcinogens contained in regular cigarettes.


Even though these products are not specifically marketed as devices to help people quit cigarette smoking, the fact is that they are immensely effective at this. Most smokers are unable to quit their habit because they are addicted to nicotine and also because they are used to physical mouth and hand actions associated with smoking. A person can reduce the nicotine strength of the cartridges over time to gradually stop the habit.


Anti-smoking groups are pushing for greater control over e-cigarettes because they suspect that they have long-term negative health effects (read about e-cigarette health benefits). They also believe that these ‘cigarettes’ help smokers feed their addiction without even trying to quit smoking. However, many doctors have a different opinion.


Michael Siegel, MD, associate chairman of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health believes that e-cigarettes have a positive effect on community health. Banning them will force people to smoke regular cigarettes because they will never switch to other smoking cessation devices such as gum, the patch etc. He also dismisses fears that they will be used as a ‘gateway’ to smoking since very few non-smokers are even interested in trying them out. Gilbert Ross, MD, of the American Council on Science and Health, also asserts that e-cigarettes are far safer than traditional cigarettes.


There is no doubt that e-cigarettes will have plenty more takers in time to come. This will have a very positive impact on public health when increasing numbers of smokers switch to their use.


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