The electronic cigarette industry has seen immense growth within the past decade with electronic cigarette sales in the United States poised to reach the 1.7 billion dollar figure. This figure should not be taken lightheartedly since electronic cigarettes were invented fairly recently in 2000. Despite the industries large presence, many regulatory agencies have taken great measures to attempt to regulate or ban the tobacco cessation device. Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that these organizations are acting in the best interest of tobacco companies, it should be known that they are also responsible for the tax hikes and strict regulation of tobacco cigarettes.
Hon Lik and the modern day e-cigarette
Now what exactly makes up an e-cigarette? Chinese pharmacist, Hon Lik designed the modern day electronic cigarette after losing his tobacco-smoking father to lung cancer. His device consisted of 3 main parts. The battery was responsible for powering the atomizer, which acted to vaporize the e-liquid. The e-liquid was contained in a vessel, called a cartridge. E-juices are made up of propylene glycol, nicotine in solution and flavoring.
Value Proposition of the Electronic Cigarette
Electronic cigarettes are a very appealing proposition to seasoned tobacco cigarettes users that are often ostracized from society by being forced to smoke in limited areas. The ability of e-cigarette users to enjoy the sensation of nicotine anywhere they please is certainly attractive. The negative effects on health related to smoking tobacco, is another area that pushes cigarette smokers towards tobacco-less electronic cigarettes. In addition, there’s the fiscal allure of electronic cigarette since they cost considerably less to use than tobacco cigarettes. This is due in part to the high taxes imposed on tobacco products in the United States. Some reports even mention that 20-a-day habit tobacco smokers will save as much as 80% after switching to electronic cigarettes.
Tobacco versus e-cigarette
Advocates of electronic cigarettes mention the high human and financial cost of tobacco products. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tobacco cigarettes are responsible for 443,000 deaths each year. Furthermore, the CDC also states that over $96 billion is spent annually on the care of cigarette smokers in the United States alone. Anything to potentially ameliorate these figures is very appealing to both the government and its affected population. In the beginning, electronic cigarettes seemed to be the solution to these atrocious statistics.
Electronic cigarettes are for adults
However, a growing amount of controversy has since surrounded electronic cigarettes. Concerns raised by healthcare professionals, is often the lack of research on the long-term effects of electronic cigarettes on the human body. Recently, the National Institute of Health (NIH) provided a grant to a UC Riverside graduate student to study the effects of electronic cigarettes on cells. Other areas of concern include the flavoring of electronic cigarettes, which some say targets young children. These flavors include chocolate, strawberry, pina colada, as well as a slew of others. Electronic cigarette companies are quick to point out that their products are designed strictly for adults only.
E-cigarette and the regulatory landscape
The electronic cigarette UK health regulatory agency, the MHRA has recently announced that it will regulate electronic cigarettes as medicines in 2016. European Union leaders are proposing similar mandate on the popular smoking device. Canada has completely banned the use of nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes within its borders. Unfortunately, this is a trend towards prematurely banning and regulating electronic cigarettes before the necessary research has been conducted. With the high cost related to tobacco use, these measures are likely to cost a significant population at the very minimum a few years of their life.