Who would’ve thought that all you needed for the therapeutic sensation of smoke was a battery. It soothes your hunger for smoke while giving the taste of nicotine. This revolutionary item known as the E- cigarette is a battery operated device made to look like regular tobacco products. Some E-cigarette brands, such as Green Smoke and No Flame, when they first came out in August, 2011 claimed they could help people stop smoking.

E-cigarettes, such as this one, are said to be a safe way to smoke. Is that really true? Credit: FDA

Victoria Wilcox, a Farnsley middle school student whose mother who is currently smoking E-cigarettes, says, “I am happy my mom found a new alternative than cigarettes, but I still fear that there may be amounts of nicotine in them that can cause cancer or disease.” You can choose your level of nicotine. Whether you want the full dose or if you want to gradually step down your nicotine intake over time, it’s all up to you, says Smoketip.com, an E-cigarette advice site.

“I LOVE IT I LOVE IT I LOVE IT,” says Laura Duncan, a worker at the WTTS radio station in Bloomington, IN, on their website. “I can smoke it at work and not get called out. There’s no smoked involved and it’s a great way to relieve stress. It’s simply amazing.”

Journalist Susan Cassidy from the Discovery Fit and Health website found that because E-cigarettes have no tobacco and aren’t subject to U.S. laws, you can purchase them without being questioned about your age. Kids have now found this out and E-cigarette companies have created flavors, called E-liquids, that range from apple to blueberry, bananas, and even chocolate.

At Farnsley Middle school in Louisville KY, 135 of 187, or 72%, said they knew an adult who smoked E-cigarettes. Forty-five, or 24%, said they smoked regular cigarettes and would prefer E-cigarettes if they had the money to buy them.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to regulate the product, claiming E-cigarettes aren’t safe. The FDA investigated two popular brands and found small amounts of nicotine. They also found traces of poisonous chemicals such as nitrosamine, a compound containing the group NNO attached to two organic groups, that has the potential to cause cancer. 

The Mayo Clinic states, “Until more is known about the potential risks, the safe play is to say no to electronic cigarettes.”

 “I think the idea of the FDA regulating this product is unnecessary,” says Kathy Dwight from V2 cigs team, creators of the V2cigs website. Although a big question for the FDA is how can FDA regulate the E-cigarette without it being a tobacco product. Right now, 1 in 5 smokers use E-cigarettes, according to  oxfordjournals.org.

A 2011 study done by Dr. Gilbert Ross, from University Of California Irvine College Of Medicine, suggests that E-cigarettes are safe. Ross is certain that E-cigarettes are safer than regular cigarettes. His research included taking apart the E-cigarette and identifying all its ingredients, such as water, glycerin or propylene glycol, and vaporized nicotine at various dosages. He later determined that E-cigarettes were safer than tobacco cigarettes.

However an article in the December 2011 issue of CHEST, a research journal from the American College of Chest Physicians, reported that E-cigarettes lead to severe lung conditions, such as acute pulmonary effects, after smoking for just 5 minutes!

The risks of smoking E-cigarettes are still under investigation.

Makya Griffin Sebrysa Perkins

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