Vaping – Electronic Cigarettes
Clouds of vapor soon swirled over the their heads, then vanished like ghosts. This is the world of vaping — puffing on inhalers sometimes known as electronic cigarettes or vape pens. The devices use small batteries to heat a flavored liquid until it produces a vapor. The liquid may contain varying levels of a nicotine kick, from zero (flavor only) up to 24 milligrams, but no tobacco smoke is produced.
E-cigarettes are battery operated cigarettes. They have the look and feel of a traditional cigarette, without the smell, the smoke and the harmful side effects, say the people who support them. Dr. Mike Feinstein, a spokesman for the American Lung Association said, “People are inhaling some type of chemical vaporized compound into their lungs without really knowing what’s in it.”
Vaping-A New Word
“You just inhale like a cigarette,” and began what some call ‘vaping.’ “It looks like smoke, but its water vapor.” Well, yes and no. Vaping has been around for about a decade but has recently increased in popularity. Authorities don’t necessarily know what’s inside of e-cigarettes.
The FDA tested a small sample just a few years ago and found a number of toxic chemicals including diethylene gylcol – the same ingredient used in antifreeze.
Vaping in SO-CAL
Vaping has been big in Southern California, and the trend recently spread to the Bay Area, where you can find at least a dozen dedicated vape shops in San Francisco alone, not to mention e-cig and vaping supplies available at regular smoke shops across the region. Many users also modify the devices to vape marijuana or other drugs. The Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association estimates that about 4 million Americans now use the battery-powered cigarettes, and they project sales of the devices to reach $1 billion by the end of this year.
Both public health experts and manufacturers weighed in on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s proposal unveiled Thursday for tighter regulations on electronic cigarettes.
As expected, most experts said the intended rules don’t go far enough while e-cigarette makers consider restrictions that may treat their products like regular tobacco cigarettes. Recently, the FDA announced it will begin to regulate e-cigarettes as a tobacco product. According to the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, there are four million Americans who vape, the term used for puffing on an e-cigarette device.
E-Cigarettes are Big Business
The big tobacco companies have launched an assault on the emerging so-called “e-cigarette” market as their sales figures for traditional leaf products go up in smoke, at least in mature western markets.
E-ciggies use a liquid nicotine product. Its makers say the vapour produced is harmless, so the product can be used in places cigarettes are banned. But the tobacco companies new products use a solid form of tobacco which some doctors say will be just as dangerous.
“The vast majority of these products are manufactured in bulk in China, and it’s very, very easy for someone to set up their own electronic cigarette company,” says tobacco expert Shane MacGuill.
However more and more production is coming to Europe and the USA, and slick marketing, say anti-smoking campaigners, is trying to make lighting up fashionable again. With the health implications still little-understood and the deep pockets of big tobacco hard to counter, many people are concerned.
The act of inhaling anything into the lungs is a concern, particularly if the ingredients are not known.
Doctor Robert Greene treats lung cancer patients at the Palm Beach Cancer Institute and said the product is potentially a health hazard. “There really is no information about whether they’re safe or not, and that’s part of the problem.”
He says with no real data on e-cigarettes, the three-year-old tobacco alternative may actually be more harmful than traditional cigarettes. “The doses of nicotine that you get could conceivably be higher than what you would get in a typical cigarette.”