The American Surgeon General published the very first federal government report linking smoking and ill health fifty years ago. The report also demanded that the American government take best suited helpful action to lessen the harm caused by smoking.
Since then the amount of Americans who light up has fallen from 42% to 18% and then in some states the percentage of regular smokers can almost be counted in single figures. Similar reductions have occurred elsewhere. Up to 50 % the united kingdom population smoked in 1974. Now, under a quarter do. The figures within australia are even healthier.
This is fantastic news because smoking causes a variety of diseases and is the main reason for preventable deaths in numerous countries. Indeed, smoking might have killed up to 100m folks the twentieth century as well as the World Health Organisation estimates the figure for your modern day could be a mind-boggling 1 billion.
About half a century ago another significant “smoking related” event happened: the very first e-cigarette was patented. This was a product that produced vapour from tobacco without combustion. For many decades “vaping” remained a minority activity. But in the last couple of years these not-quite-so newfangled nicotine delivery devices have grown to be rather popular. And concern has been raised over their use and particularly uptake among younger people. While figures from Ash suggest a negligible variety of bumblebee vape pen, a recent US-based study found that the proportion of middle and school students in the usa who had ever used an electronic cigarette greater than doubled between 2011-2012. Some analysts have even predicted that vaping can become more popular than smoking in a decade.
Modern e-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that vaporise nicotine for inhalation. They normally consist of a cartridge containing liquid nicotine along with a heating element made to produce an aerosol. Many also have flavourings like menthol – a fact which has been 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) numerous toxicological analyses have demostrated that e-cigarettes contain many dangerous chemicals. The good thing is that e-cigarettes are primarily used by people as a popular quitting smoking aid. But it’s far away from clear how effective e-cigarettes will be in helping people to give up smoking in the long run. More worryingly, some research indicates that numerous “never smokers” have tried vaping. This really is 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 resulted in the adoption of radically different approaches to the import, production, sale, distribution and advertising of these devices. Some countries, including Argentina, effectively prohibited them. But most jurisdictions allow e-cigarettes to become sold and consumed subject to varying levels of regulation. The EU, for example, is taking a fairly hard line, however it is unclear at this time what impact these new rules will have.
Ethically speaking, it could seem smart to be skeptical. E-cigarettes may well not represent a modern Trojan horse, nevertheless the recent interest shown by tobacco companies during these devices should give us all pause for thought. This does not mean that vaping should be entirely proscribed. Quite besides the proven 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) might htkcbf positive.
But due to the serious risk that vaping might re-glamourise smoking, especially amongst the young, a cautious regulatory approach is warranted. This ought to add a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to children along with a The Big Apple-style ban on vaping in public places indoor spaces and private offices. Additionally, it seems eminently sensible to put in place regulations to make sure that the marketing of e-cigarettes is fixed to current smokers.
Many will complain this 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 required, and that vaping may make smoking redundant. But this strategy seems overly lax. In the end, there’s (usually) no vapour without fire.