The Truth About E-Cigarettes: Safe, Effective, and...Fun?

 

Electronic cigarettes are a safe, effective, and fun way to prevent cancer among smokers of tobacco prodcuts - or people who want to suck down flavored water vapor that often doesn't even include nicotine.

So why are so many people - including folks at the FDA - so hell-bent on banning or heavily regulating e-cigarettes?

Reason TV's Tracy Oppenheimer cuts through the fog with the video documentary, originally released on Tuesday, October 29.

Here's the original write-up:

Electronic cigarettes are creating a frenzy among politicians, health experts, and the media. Local bans on using e-cigarettes indoors are popping up all over the country, andmany interest groups are clamoring for top-down FDA regulations, which are expected to be released in the coming weeks.

“E-Cigarettes currently exist in a complete no-man’s land,” says Heather Wipfli, associate director for the USC Institute for Global Health. Skeptics such as Wipfli worry about the lack of long-term data available because the product is so new.

But according to the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association’s Greg Conley, calls for regulation are "a perverse interpretation of the precautionary principle.” The precautionary principle holds that until all possible risks are assessed, new technologies shouldn't be allowed to move forward.

Conley points to preliminary studies, like this one from Drexel University, which confirm these smokeless, tobacco-less, tar-less products are not a cause for concern - or at least not a cause for the same concerns that accompany traditional cigarettes and second-hand smoke.

“That [Drexel University] professor concluded that there was absolutely no worry about risks to bystanders from e-cigarette vapor,” says Conley.

The ingredients of e-cigarettes certainly have very little in common with tobacco cigarettes. Nicotine, the only ingredient found in both products, is mainly used to wean smokers off traditional cigarettes and is not one of the harm-inducing ingredients associated with lung cancer in smokers. The other ingredients in the “e-juice” at the core of e-cigarettes are propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and food flavorings— all of which are used in other food products.

“All we are doing is steaming up food ingredients to create a vapor,” says Ed Refuerzo, co-owner of The Vape Studio in West Los Angeles. The Vape Studio is one of the many boutique e-cigarette shops popping up that might be significantly affected or even shut down by both local legislation and FDA regulations.

Conley says it's the currently unregulated customizability of the e-juice that allows these small businesses to thrive. “The availability of liquids is what is allowing a lot of these small stores to open and prosper because they are able to mix their own liquid and sell it to consumers without having to go through a big manufacturing process,” says Conley.

The higher costs of complying with regulations would most likely be passed on to consumers, which would impact people who are looking towards e-cigarettes as an effective way to quit smoking. 

“We’re using technology, and that’s what we do in America, we use technology to solve really complicated problems,” says Craig Weiss, president and CEO of NJOY. NJOY is a leading manufacturer of electronic cigarettes  - and a donor to Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes Reason TV. Weiss says that despite regulations, the potential of the industry is only just starting to be realized.  

“The electronic industry is growing at quite a dramatic pace. It’s more than doubled each of the last four or five years," says Weiss. "This piece of technology could have such an potential impact on the world.”  

For more on the industry and NJOY, watch this ReasonTV interview with Weiss:

 

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    E-Cigarettes, you say?

  • Irish||

    The New Yorker's Obamacare cover is awesome.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    If someone came up with a cure/vaccine for lung cancer, I'm sure they would still keep all cigarette bans in place.

    It would be awesome though to watch the control freaks explain why you still couldn't smoke.

  • squarooticus||

    My problem with cigarettes is that they smell bad and give me a headache, and you cannot help but pollute my airspace with them. Which is why I *LOVE* e-cigarettes, and wish more smokers would switch to them. From my experience they are completely and utterly benign to the people around the vaper.

  • wwhorton||

    As a casual smoker, I'm not a huge fan of e-cigs. They don't taste like tobacco, and it's more like a bong than a cigarette. And, no offense, but I do my best to be considerate of non-smokers by standing away from people who aren't smoking. It's already illegal for me to smoke in a bar in my state, so unless you're following me around outside the smoke from my cigarette will be competing with the drunk cougar's perfume and the exhaust from the street for your nasal attention.

    Maybe you could meet me halfway and keep your airspace away from my airspace, or just accept a less-than-perfect situation in the interests of peaceful coexistence. After all, I'm already making the sacrifice of standing outside in a corner to avoid blowing smoke in your face, despite the fact that I'm paying just as much for drinks as you are.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    I've thought about how the gov will 'fix' e-ciggs, keeping in mind the goal of the gov doing anything is to serve political markets - which right now include Big Tobacco, which is basically a vice operation that pays more $$$ to the government than anyone else. So how does the gov kill this off? I think I know the gist of how this will go down:

    E-cigg fuel, as noted in the article, is a mixture of nicotine and common food products. The nicotine is purchased in vials of a chosen concentration, then heavily diluted with the food products. The vials of nicotine are quite potent; I purchased a 30mg bottle myself, and computed how much nicotine it contains, and it worked out to something like 800 Marlboro Lights. If one were to chug that vial of nicotine I'm not sure what would happen, though the results I'm sure would not be pretty.

    So I think the scenario works out like this: Eventually somebody does chug one of those vials, and what happens to that poor fool will be turned into a contrived media storm, then the FDA moves to regulate the pure nicotine itself (actually, more likely the DEA).

    That should kill the mom-and-pop e-cigg business nicely.

  • IDPNDNT||

    http://www.inchem.org/document.....rtTitle:7. TOXICOLOGY

    I would say it would take 2 vials to put someone down, but I wouldn't underestimate the stupidity of some individuals.

    I would akin the current backlash to those of energy drinks which can be lethal in high dosages.

  • JefNC||

    It wouldn't hurt them, other than maybe a small headache or tummyache, because they would vomit it right up.

  • Insert clever name||

    Conley says it's the currently unregulated customizability of the e-juice that allows these small businesses to thrive. “The availability of liquids is what is allowing a lot of these small stores to open and prosper because they are able to mix their own liquid and sell it to consumers without having to go through a big manufacturing process,” says Conley.

    The higher costs of complying with regulations would most likely be passed on to consumers, which would impact people who are looking towards e-cigarettes as an effective way to quit smoking.
    ----------------------------------

    So the problem is that small stores are making money, when it should be the large, politically connected corporations that profit from e-cigs...

    Got it.

  • SOS||

    Great article!! They are definitely much safer, by far, than conventional cigarettes.

  • JefNC||

    I was a 30+ year smoker who puffed my last cigarette on January 12th, 2011... at noon. Every since then I have been a vaper. I am free.

    The real problem for the government is that there is absolutely NOTHING in an e-cig that cannot be made with stuff purchased at local stores. Vapers have been making their own personal vaporizers (e-cigs) for years in the never ending quest for a better product. I've seen them made from flashlights, bic lighters and wooden boxes. The fancy ones you can buy are great to look at but generally not as powerful or long lasting as the homemade kind. Batteries, candle wicks and wire are all readily available.

    Except for the nicotine, the liquid is made from things you can easily buy at Walgreens, and places where you buy cake decorating supplies. Even the nicotine can be extracted from tobacco leaves if one has the plants, time and a recipe.

    This genie is out of the bottle and YouTube has all the DYI instructions. It's too late for the govt to ever stop it completely, so they will just regulate and tax it as much as they can.

  • NoTrust.Gov||

    It's like the "Woman's Temperance League" has never gone away, always trying to in force their views on everyone else... like they claim religion does. But it's all just a lie, I am not forced to church, but I dam sure better conform to their beliefs or be fined or worse spend time in jail.

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  • Car Scanner||

    This is an interesting article, I like it.

  • Mike Morgan||

    Electronic cigarettes are just a market reaction helping consumers avoid tobacco, odor, second-hand smoke and reduce nicotine, and likey no worse than the energy drinks that seem to be everywhere, so see E Cig Werks http://ecigwerks.blogspot.com/ for more.

  • KarrenMahoney||

    my co-worker's sister-in-law makes hourly on the laptop. She has been out of work for 5 months but last month her payment was just working on the laptop for a few hours. pop over to this web-site........ http://www.works23.com

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