E-cigarettes. Are they a good thing? Are they a bad thing? Do they keep kids away from cigarettes? Do they provide a gateway to cigarettes? These are all great questions, and up until now, the answers have been more than mixed. The e-cigarette – or vaping – industry has touted the benefits of e-cigarettes, telling consumers that they are not harmful, that they provide a nicotine alternative without the cancer-causing agents that are found in conventional, tobacco cigarettes. However, those on the other side of the e-cigarette aisle say that not only are e-cigarettes not actually safe to smoke but that they get kids and teens hooked on nicotine which leads to the usage of conventional cancer-causing tobacco cigarettes.
So who is correct?
Well, the study of the week comes from the UK Center for Substance Use Research stating that e-cigarettes – or vaping – is “playing an important role” in the decline of smoking tobacco among teenagers. As a result of the study, the majority of the respondents indicated that e-cigarettes have lessened the possibility that they would go on to smoke tobacco products and have also lessened the likelihood that those around them would smoke tobacco.
“There was very little indication amongst the young people interviewed that e-cigarettes were resulting in an increased likelihood of young people smoking. In fact the majority we interviewed, including those who were vaping, perceived smoking in very negative terms and saw vaping as being entirely different to smoking.”
At present, the newness of e-cigarettes is such that the long term harmful effects of vaping – if any – is at this point, unknown. However, while the Center for Disease Control in the United States remains on the fence when it comes to the topic of e-cigarettes, Public Health England has gone on record as saying that e-cigarettes are 95 percent less harmful than conventional cigarettes.
There has been tremendous awareness about the harms of tobacco. But it has been noticed that still there are some youngsters who remain confused about the status of e-cigarettes as to whether they are harmful or not.
While some health experts would like an overall ban on tobacco and vaping, many of them have to concede that e-cigarettes do not hold the same detrimental health effects that conventional cigarettes do. Still, the controversy continues despite this latest research study.
Perhaps the final question is, is the use of e-cigarettes or vaping worth it in the long run? That question may seem simplistic, and it probably is. When it comes down to it, the use of alcohol is largely detrimental to the health and well-being of all, and yet, it is used widely. Can the same be said of e-cigarettes? No, vaping is not necessary, it is not essential, and yet it is something that young people – and, to be fair, older people as well – are coming to in droves. Is it a fad? Will it go the way of clear beer and Zima? Twenty-five years from now, when a television show looks back on the second decade of the 21st century, will e-cigarettes and vaping just be looked back on as a strange footnote fad the way we now look at bell bottoms from the 1960’s and 70’s?
What do you think? Are e-cigarettes good or bad? Is vaping here to stay, or is it just a fad?
[Feature Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]