The American Surgeon General published the first government report linking smoking and ill health 50 years ago. The report also demanded that the American government take appropriate helpful action to minimize the damage caused by smoking.
Ever since then the amount of Americans who illuminate has fallen from 42% to 18% and in some states the amount of regular smokers can almost be counted in single figures. Similar reductions have occurred elsewhere. Almost half the united kingdom population smoked in 1974. Now, under a quarter do. The figures around australia are even healthier.
This is extremely fantastic news because smoking causes a number of different diseases and it is the main reason for preventable deaths in numerous countries. Indeed, smoking may have killed up to 100m people in the 20th century as well as the World Health Organisation estimates that the figure for the 21st century could be a mind-boggling 1 billion.
About fifty years ago another significant “smoking related” event happened: the very first electronic cigarette was patented. It was a device that produced vapour from tobacco without combustion. For many decades “vaping” remained a minority activity. But over the past several years these not-quite-so newfangled nicotine delivery devices are becoming rather popular. And concern has been raised over their use and particularly uptake among younger people. While figures from Ash advise a negligible quantity of best vape pen, a newly released US-based study found that the proportion of middle and school students in the united states who had ever used an e-cigarette greater than doubled between 2011-2012. Some analysts have even predicted that vaping may become popular than smoking inside a decade.
Modern e-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that vaporise nicotine for inhalation. They normally consist of a cartridge containing liquid nicotine and a heating element made to produce an aerosol. Many include flavourings like menthol – a well known fact which was criticised on the grounds that flavourings could make e-cigarettes more attractive to children.
Although vaping (and passive vaping) may well be safer than smoking (and passive smoking) a number of toxicological analyses have demostrated that e-cigarettes contain many dangerous chemicals. The great thing is that e-cigarettes are primarily utilized by people being a popular smoking cessation aid. But it’s not even close to clear how effective e-cigarettes are in helping men and women to give up smoking in the long term. More worryingly, some research indicates that several “never smokers” have tried vaping. This can be of particular concern because e-cigarettes could serve as a “gateway drug” to conventional cigarettes.
The relative insufficient evidence concerning the safety, effectiveness and ultimate impact of e-cigarettes has led to the adoption of radically different approaches to the import, production, sale, distribution and advertising of such devices. Some countries, such as Argentina, effectively prohibited them. But many jurisdictions allow e-cigarettes to be sold and consumed susceptible to varying degrees of regulation. The EU, for instance, has taken a relatively hard line, but it is unclear at this point what impact these new rules will have.
Ethically speaking, it would seem a good idea to be suspicious. E-cigarettes may well not represent a modern Trojan horse, but the recent interest shown by tobacco companies during these devices should give us all pause for thought. This does not always mean that vaping ought to be entirely proscribed. Quite aside from the simple fact that our liberty rights dictate otherwise, there is, as noted above, good reason to believe that e-cigarettes are less dangerous than regular cigarettes so the net influence on health (and longevity) could very well htkcbf positive.
But due to the serious risk that vaping might re-glamourise smoking, especially among the young, a cautious regulatory approach is warranted. This ought to incorporate a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to children along with a New York City-style ban on vaping in public areas indoor spaces and private offices. It also seems eminently sensible to set up regulations to ensure the marketing of e-cigarettes is restricted to current smokers.
Most will complain that too many restrictions on the sale and consumption is going to be counter-productive. Some experts have even claimed that quality control regulation is, essentially, all that is needed, and that vaping might make smoking redundant. But this method seems overly lax. In the end, there’s (usually) no vapour without fire.