The American Surgeon General published the first federal government report linking smoking and ill health fifty years ago. The report also demanded that the American government take appropriate helpful action to lessen the harm caused by smoking.
Ever since then the amount of Americans who illuminate has fallen from 42% to 18% and in some states the amount 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 in Australia are even healthier.
This is extremely great news because smoking causes a number of different diseases and it is the main reason behind preventable deaths in lots of countries. Indeed, smoking could have killed as many as 100m individuals the twentieth century as well as the World Health Organisation estimates the figure for the 21st century might be a mind-boggling 1 billion.
About fifty years ago another significant “smoking related” event happened: the first e-cigarette was patented. It was a product that produced vapour from tobacco without combustion. For a lot of decades “vaping” remained a minority activity. But in the last few years these not-quite-so newfangled nicotine delivery devices are becoming rather popular. And concern continues to be raised over their use and particularly uptake among younger people. While figures from Ash advise a negligible variety of wax vape pen, a newly released US-based study discovered that the proportion of middle and high school students in America who had ever used an electronic cigarette more than doubled between 2011-2012. Some analysts have even predicted that vaping can become very 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 designed to produce an aerosol. Many also include flavourings like menthol – a fact which was criticised on the grounds that flavourings could make e-cigarettes more appealing to children.
Although vaping (and passive vaping) may well be safer than smoking (and passive smoking) several toxicological analyses have shown that e-cigarettes contain many dangerous chemicals. The good thing is that e-cigarettes are primarily employed by people being a popular quitting smoking aid. But it’s far away from clear how effective e-cigarettes have been in helping individuals to give up smoking in the long run. More worryingly, some studies have shown 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 lack of evidence concerning the safety, effectiveness and ultimate impact of e-cigarettes has resulted in the adoption of radically different methods 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 susceptible to varying degrees of regulation. The EU, as an example, is taking a relatively hard line, however it is unclear at this point what impact these new rules may have.
Ethically speaking, it might seem wise to be suspicious. E-cigarettes may well not represent a modern Trojan horse, however the recent interest shown by tobacco companies in these devices should give us all pause for thought. This does not mean that vaping should be entirely proscribed. Quite aside from the fact that our liberty rights dictate otherwise, there is certainly, as noted above, good reason to consider that e-cigarettes are less dangerous than regular cigarettes and so the net influence on health (and longevity) could very well htkcbf positive.
But because of the serious risk that vaping might re-glamourise smoking, especially amongst the young, a cautious regulatory approach is warranted. This ought to incorporate a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to children along with a The Big Apple-style ban on vaping in public areas indoor spaces and private office buildings. Additionally, it seems eminently sensible to put in place regulations to ensure the marketing of e-cigarettes is restricted to current smokers.
Most will complain this too many restrictions on the sale and consumption will be counter-productive. Some experts have even claimed that quality control regulation is, pretty much, all that is needed, and this vaping might make smoking redundant. But this method seems overly lax. In the end, there’s (usually) no vapour without fire.