E-cigarettes: Smoke without fire?

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended tighter regulation and control of E-cigarette use in the home and around children.

The E-cigarette has fast become an attractive alternative for people who no longer wish to smoke, or find the smell and taste of traditional cigarettes unattractive.

It is not uncommon nowadays to be surprised by the sight of somebody smoking in a public place, before realising that they have an E-cigarette in their hand, and that they are exhaling not tobacco smoke, but a combination of nicotine and water vapour.

WHO has published a report, however, which may contradict common-held beliefs on the safety of E-cigarettes.

The tough regulations that WHO wants to see in place include banning indoor use of E-cigarettes and selling flavours which could be attractive to children.

WHO also recommend that sellers stop advertising that E-cigarettes help smokers to quit until there is evidence to support the truth behind the claim.

Up to now, there has not been enough research into the supposed benefits of switching from normal cigarettes to their electronic cousins, but WHO suspects that far from being a healthy alternative, the vapour exhaled by the smoker could raise levels of toxicants and nicotine in the air around them.

The report and its recommendations have drawn criticism from some, including tobacco companies.

A spokesman for the British American Tobacco company, speaking to the BBC, said: “We have always said that given nicotine is addictive, minimum age laws of 18 for the sale of e-cigarettes should be introduced.

“However, if overly restrictive regulations are introduced hampering innovation or adult usage, then this could simply stifle the growth of new products and prevent smokers from being aware of and having access to them – this can only be bad thing for public health.”

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    • Terence Nolan

      26 August 2014 • 18:45

      The subject line in my case should read: Are e-cigs an alternative to a nicotine addict. Smoked for 50+ years consuming around 1 pack per day and suffered the results of said addiction. Too many to list. Over years tried patches, gum, hypnosis, cold turkey, counseling, prescribed nasty drugs, 2 weeks of self imposed isolation in the woods, religious commitment, nothing helped. I know I am a nicotine addict who likes to blow smoke. That’s it in a nutshell. I’ve seen and heard of e-cigs, thought they were bull. Friend came by smoking one – said he hasn’t felt the urge for cigs for 6 months. Tried one at a e-cig store and immediately found that the level of nicotine satisfied me along with the motion and mechanics of blowing smoke from my penny whistle, as I call it. I have never looked back over 5 months I’ve used an e-cig. Stopped hacking, coughing almost immediately. Mentally and physically I feel much better. Family ecstatic.

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