Quitting smoking frequently tops the list of New Year’s Resolutions. However, kicking the addictive habit isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially once withdrawal symptoms set in. According to the American Heart Association, nicotine addiction has historically been one of the hardest habits to break.
Nicotine is the addictive element of the cigarette. An average cigarette yields about 1 mg of absorbed nicotine. Nicotine is an alkaloid found in the nightshade family of plants that acts as a stimulant. This stimulant effect is the main factor responsible for the dependence-forming properties of tobacco smoking. In high amounts, nicotine poisoning can be fatal.
Research has found that tobacco manufacturers have surreptitiously increased the amount of nicotine in their products, incrementally over the years, because the business of tobacco is continued addiction.
If someone is unable or unwilling to go it cold turkey, the market is full of quitting smoking aids like pills, gums, and patches which promise to help hamper cravings. Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) have emerged in the market in recent years as the latest thing in the fight against smoking. Instead of igniting a cigarette and inhaling thousands of carcinogenic chemicals, the intent behind the e-cig is to inhale “e-smoke,” generated within an atomizer which transforms the “e-liquid,” laced with varying intensities of nicotine, into vapor.
People like to mimic the experience they have with a traditional cigarette. E-cigs often resemble the “real thing” in design. Companies attempt to recreate the look, heat, taste, smell, and feel of smoking tobacco. However, there are other types of “personal vaporizers” that vary in size, color, and style. Unlike regular cigarettes, smokers are often able to use their e-cigarettes in areas like restaurants and bars that have bans on regular smoking.
Ideally, the goal of the e-cig is to break free of both the physical and psychological traps of traditional smoking, by lessening exposure to other chemicals as well as gradually reducing the intensity of nicotine.
There has been controversy over the e-cig in regards to its effectiveness, health benefits, and if they are potentially being marketed in attempts to lure non-smokers to smoke vapor in lieu of taking up smoking, under the misperception that e-cigs are completely harmless. Currently, e-cigarette products are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the same way traditional tobacco products are. That will likely change in the near future.
“Big Tobacco” is a pejorative term applied to the tobacco industry, particularly to the “big three” tobacco corporations in the United States: Philip Morris/Altria, Reynolds American (RJR), and Lorillard. Big Tobacco has noticed the growing e-cigarette trend. As CNBC News reports, the electronic cigarette market brought in $400 million to $500 million in sales in 2012 and will “at least” double in 2013.
Bonnie Herzog, at Wells Fargo, projected that:
“We’re actually predicting that consumption of e-cigs could surpass consumption of traditional cigarettes in the next decade.”
The traditional tobacco industry giants are quickly moving into the manufacturing and sale of electronic cigarettes. Last year, Lorillard paid $135 million to buy Blu, and RJ Reynolds has plans to create its own product in house.