The debate surrounding e-cigarettes shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon, and indeed it probably won’t until evidence on long-term effects begins to roll in. However countless studies have already been conducted on electronic cigarettes, looking at everything from how addictive they are to their qualities verses traditional cigarettes.
With much of the evidence weighing in favour of their benefits, not to mention their growing popularity in the UK, it seems that those seeking a ban on e-cigarettes currently have little ground to stand on.
Little Risk to Non-Smokers
Much of the hype that has surrounded e-cigs has involved concerns that these devices will hold an appeal to non-smokers, with children and teens a particular focus. Opponents of vaping believe that e-cigarettes carry a status symbol, much like tobacco did 50 years ago, and that this will entice those who have never smoked before to take up the trend.
However much research has shown that the appeal is extremely limited to non-smokers. Action on Smoking and Health has found that 1/3 of users are ex-smokers and 2/3 are current smokers – a negligible number of never smokers have even tried vaping. Regarding children, only those who have been previously exposed to smoking tend to try e-cigs, and yet numbers are reassuring low.
A new ruling was brought into effect in October 2014 that allowed e-cigarettes to be advertised on TV, which caused something of a stir in the media. However the condition that only ads appealing to current smokers should make it onto our screens has been followed appropriately; three adverts that failed to fully adhere to this condition never made it past the screening stage in December.
Helping People Quit
With studies confirming that the primary target audience for electronic cigarettes is those who are currently smokers or have given up tobacco, any stance taken towards the devices should be seen in this light. Tobacco is packed with toxic chemicals that are released in smoke, and whilst e-cigarettes do have certain chemicals within the e-liquid, including nicotine, they are a much safer alternative to traditional cigarettes.
Lung cancer causes thousands of deaths in the UK every year, and as e-cigs have been found to help tobacco users give up more successfully than other methods http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2014/08/29/the-promise-and-challenges-of-e-cigarettes-the-story-continues-to-unfold/, these products hold a huge potential for reducing the risk of lung cancer and disease. Allowing smokers to give up tobacco whilst getting a nicotine fix and a pleasurable ‘vape’ experience, they have become popular cessation aids and have already attracted 2.1 million users in the UK. Although the long term effects of vaping are not known the facts remain that they do help to give up traditional cigarettes and that is good news.
In light of the benefits and target audience of these devices, e-cigarettes should not be banned in the UK. A popular and effective way to help people quit smoking, legislation should instead focus on regulating the quality and exposure of these devices to protect the general public.
This article is written by Kelly Gilmour Grassam, a freelance copywriter from Yorkshire. You can follow her on Twitter at @KellygGrassam. This article has been written with helpful information from Prestige Vaping.
Photo by – Lindsay Fox