Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Are e-Cigarettes HealthyButJuicy?

So I'm sitting at Starbucks and out of the corner of my eye, I see a long cloud of smoke wave by me. I'm sitting two seats down from an expansive window and think maybe there's someone outside smoking. But no. Instead, it's the guy sitting next to me who is. Clarification: I'm sitting INSIDE Starbucks. What gives?

The guy is holding a pen-like device— kind of looks like a flat-ended stylus pen or a slim flashlight. With every major wave of cloud— it was a huge, extended puff of smoke, and thereby classifiable as a cloud in my humble opinion!— my heart continued to drop, my body angled itself as far away as it could from the source, and my hand even attempted to shield any inhalation by covering my nose. [I don't even wear shoes in my house, let alone voluntarily breathe in smoke!] After several dirty looks and fidgets, they guy finally let. Needless to say, I Googled 'electronic cigarettes'.

Apparently, e-cigarettes are pretty popular— about to hit $1 billion in sales, in fact. Since I'm clearly oblivious, I had to actually look up what it is. It's basically an alternative for tobacco smoking that utilizes vapor instead. The vapor might release nicotine— the drug that makes tobacco smoking so addictive— or it might just release flavors.

Now, more importantly perhaps, are e-cigarettes a healthier alternative to tobacco cigarettes and should they be allowed in public areas, like restaurants? After all, the smoking ban in most public areas has been a significant leap toward a healthier lifestyle, cleaner air we breathe, and exposure of just the image and act itself (especially for our very naive and easily-influenced children, our future). Because e-cigarettes are a relatively new product, the debate is heated and research lacking. Some claim they don't produce the negative side effects of second-hand smoke, don't contain tar or tobacco, and can possibly help with smoking cessation. But Jeffrey B. Lane of the HuffPost eloquently describes the situation and writes:
Today one in six Americans already have the disease of addiction -- that's more than the number with heart disease, diabetes or cancer. Another 80 million engage in substance use in ways that threaten health and safety. Addiction and risky substance use is the largest preventable and most costly health problem in the U.S. today. Given the history of cigarette marketing in this country and the horrific health consequences and costs that resulted, common sense requires immediately regulating and taxing e-cigarettes as cigarette products while developing a solid knowledge base about the content of these products, how they are used and by whom, their short- and long-term health consequences and the anticipated market for new users. After we have the facts, we can then build a sound regulatory structure around them. Let's not make a hasty decision to add another addictive product to the consumer market that could well sacrifice the health of another generation. Read the full article!

I, personally, could not agree more with Mr. Lane but what do YOU think?. Are e-cigarettes HealthyButJuicy? And should they be allowed in public places like Starbucks? Share your thoughts below or Tweet us, we'd love to hear! :> xoxo

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