My thoughts on E-cigarettes (revisited)

Following last weeks health news there was quite a lot of up-roar on Twitter about the possible regulation of e-cigarettes, and there seemed to be some confusion over my...

Following last weeks health news there was quite a lot of up-roar on Twitter about the possible regulation of e-cigarettes, and there seemed to be some confusion over my stand point on them. So to clear it up my views are (I’ll explain them in greater detail further down the page):

  1. E-cigarettes can be beneficial in helping people quit smoking conventional cigarettes, and I think that they are healthier than conventional cigarettes.
  2. I have concerns about the lack of restrictions on marketing, and how this can impact young people.
  3. The long term health effects (if any) are not known, and so I don’t think they should be easily available until more is understood.

1. This is where I am for use e-cigarettes, anything which can help get people off smoking conventional cigarettes is a good thing in my opinion.

2. Although they are do have their benefits, I do believe that they should be more regulated, both with regards to how they are marketed and how they can accessed. There is a lot of concern that youths and young people are being targeted by e-cigarette marketing campaigns, which are not regulated in the same tobacco products are, and so are able to glamorise their use, and don’t need to be accompanied with any health warnings.

The general feel I personally get from e-cigarette adverts is that they are cool and safe to smoke, or ‘vape’ to use the correct terminology, and I am not alone in my thoughts that e-cigarettes need to be regulated. In March The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) started a 2 month consultation period to address these concerns, saying:

“Given the potential association with tobacco products and the fact that many e-cigarettes contain nicotine, it’s important we put in place strong responsibility rules to make sure that the public and particularly children are protected”.

I know that there is limited evidence to show that young adults and children are taking up vaping. One study with high school kids found that of all the children who tried an e-cigarette, only 3.2% had never smoked before. This is a very small number, many I’m sure will argue it is insignificant. I don’t think it is though, and I think it is possible that as e-cigarettes become more popular and their use become more wide-spread we will see a rise in young users. Just my thoughts, but the real problem is we don’t know, and personally I would like to see it played safe rather than see their use rise in young adults and children. (There was a paper published in the Journal of pediatric nursing titled E-Cigarette Use by Children Increasing, whilst the title suggests what the paper contains, I can’t even read the abstract do don’t know how they did the study or what the results are).

3. E-cigarettes have only been available since 2004, and their use in the UK has only become popular in recent years. As they are so recent, their impact on health is not known, particularly in the long-term. There is evidence showing that e-cigarettes can have a negative impact on users and people around them, but they likely to be much safer than conventional cigarettes. I think that because so little is known about them, their availability and advertising should be more controlled than they currently are. Yes, my opinion does verge on the side of caution, but I do think that is the best cause of action.

So I do think those who are against restricting e-cigarettes are ‘gung-ho’, if for no other reason than the long term health effects are not known. I agree that they are a useful tool to help quitting smoking, but regulating e-cigarettes doesn’t mean banning them – far from it! E-cigarettes can be made easily available to those wanting to quit. I simply don’t want to see an increase in children using them, and I don’t want to see a wave of e-cigarette health problems arise in 10 years time.

Finally, for whoever it was that said I’m a nutritionist who doesn’t value research with posts on the lemon diet, perhaps you should actually read that post instead of just the title.

Am I being too cautious? If so, what would the negative impact be in restricting advertising and access of e-cigarettes? Is there some information I am missing

Image courtesy of Lindsay Fox

I hope you enjoy the site, and like what we have worked hard to create, any feedback is very much welcome, after all this site is for you! Graduate of Nutrition & Food Science (Bsc) at Reading Uni.

    The Health Cloud was created in December 2011 by Craig and Morg who have been friends since high school. Our focus is to educate our readers with unbiased health articles and on the side we run our own online health shop. This website is for you, so drop us a comment or send us a tweet, we always take the time to reply!