Usage of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs/e-ligs, has grown to several million worldwide. Here are some facts and possible reasons why Australia, Canada, Israel, and Mexico have banned electronic cigarettes and why many parents and lawmakers are wary of them:
- E-cigs have a battery operated mechanism that heats up liquid (usually liquid nicotine) in a cartridge. Smokers inhale and exhale this vapor.
- According to the American Heart Association, nicotine addiction is one of the hardest addictions to break, as it involves both physical and psychological dependence.
- Because they contain no tobacco, e-cigs are not subject to U.S. tobacco laws which means they can be purchased without proof of age, especially online.
- Manufacturers of e-cigs target teens, selling nicotine cartridges in appealing flavors such as chocolate and bubble gum.
- E-cigs encourage nicotine addiction and are thus likely to lead to smoking regular cigarettes. Someone dependent on nicotine and accustomed to holding an e-cig will probably accept a cigarette to satisfy a nicotine craving.
- Even though some claim that e-cigs can be useful in trying to eliminate nicotine dependence as the amount of nicotine can be gradually reduced, the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association say that they have not been adequately tested for safety.
- The FDA is concerned that some manufacturers may not adequately disclose all the chemical ingredients in their e-cigs and that the amount of nicotine listed on a label may not match the actual amount in the cartridge.
- The secondhand vapor expelled from e-cigs is not proven to be safe for everyone, including children, the elderly, and people with certain medical conditions.
Says Project SAFE teacher Joshua Meltzer, “While it’s true that users can use a cartridge with no nicotine, one must ask the question, ‘If there’s no nicotine, why are you doing it?’ The answer most kids will say (or not say) is: to look ‘cool’ or to fit in with other kids.”
Project SAFE teacher Yossi Sirote adds, “If the concept of ‘cool’ is equated with something that is unhealthy and rebellious, it should be questioned and not be encouraged.”
Meltzer continues, “Parents should be aware that the desire to smoke an e-cig is a decision that is not coming from a having a healthy self-image, and it can lead to other bad choices.”
Some of the information in this article was taken from The Mayo Clinic.