The American Surgeon General published the very first federal government report linking smoking and ill health half a century ago. The report also demanded that the American government take best suited remedial action to lessen the harm caused by smoking.
Since that time the amount of Americans who light up has fallen from 42% to 18% and then 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 around australia are even healthier.
This is extremely great news because smoking causes a variety of diseases and it is the primary reason for preventable deaths in many countries. Indeed, smoking might have killed as many as 100m people in the twentieth century as well as the World Health Organisation estimates the figure for that modern day can be quite a mind-boggling 1 billion.
About 50 years ago another significant “smoking related” event happened: the initial e-cigarette was patented. This is a device that produced vapour from tobacco without combustion. For a lot of decades “vaping” remained a minority activity. But over the past few years these not-quite-so newfangled nicotine delivery devices are becoming rather popular. And concern has been raised over their use and particularly uptake among young people. While figures from Ash suggest a negligible quantity of vuber vape pen, a newly released US-based study learned that the proportion of middle and school students in the united states who had ever used an electronic cigarette greater than doubled between 2011-2012. Some analysts have even predicted that vaping could become popular than smoking within a decade.
Modern e-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that vaporise nicotine for inhalation. They normally consist of a cartridge containing liquid nicotine and a heating element made to produce an aerosol. Many also have flavourings like menthol – an undeniable fact which was criticised on the grounds that flavourings could make e-cigarettes more attractive to children.
Although vaping (and passive vaping) may be safer than smoking (and passive smoking) numerous toxicological analyses have revealed that e-cigarettes contain many dangerous chemicals. The good news is that e-cigarettes are primarily utilized by people as a popular smoking cessation aid. But it’s far away from clear how effective e-cigarettes are in helping people to give up smoking in the long run. More worryingly, some research indicates that a number of “never smokers” have tried vaping. This really is of particular concern because e-cigarettes could work as a “gateway drug” to conventional cigarettes.
The relative lack of evidence about the safety, effectiveness and ultimate impact of e-cigarettes has led to the adoption of radically different approaches to the import, production, sale, distribution and advertising of such devices. Some countries, including Argentina, effectively prohibited them. But most jurisdictions allow e-cigarettes to get sold and consumed subject to varying levels of regulation. The EU, as an example, has brought a somewhat hard line, however it is unclear at this point what impact these new rules may have.
Ethically speaking, it would seem a good idea to be skeptical. E-cigarettes may well not represent a modern day Trojan horse, nevertheless the recent interest shown by tobacco companies during these devices should provide us with all pause for thought. This does not mean that vaping should be entirely proscribed. Quite aside from the proven fact that our liberty rights dictate otherwise, there is, as noted above, valid reason to think that e-cigarettes are less dangerous than regular cigarettes and so the net effect on health (and longevity) may well htkcbf positive.
But given the serious risk that vaping might re-glamourise smoking, especially among the young, a cautious regulatory approach is warranted. This should incorporate a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to children along with a New York-style ban on vaping in public indoor spaces and private office buildings. It also seems eminently sensible to set up regulations to ensure the marketing of e-cigarettes is restricted to current smokers.
Many will complain that 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 this vaping could make smoking redundant. But this approach seems overly lax. In the end, there’s (usually) no vapour without fire.