While the electronic cigarette industry is expected to bring in almost $1.7 billion this year, the dangers of the vapors in the shiny and sleek battery-operated tubes continue to raise questions and controversy.
E-cigarettes are an alternative product for smokers who want to obtain nicotine without the exposure to tobacco and other harmful additives.
The FDA analyzed e-cigarettes from two leading brands and found that the vapor contained carcinogens and other hazardous chemicals. The FDA issued a public health warning in 2009 and will decide this month whether they are going to group and regulate e-cigarettes with normal cigarettes.
Because vapors are sold in flavors such as cherry, vanilla and cookies and cream milkshake, many believe that e-cigarette companies are attempting to appeal to kids and teens. In a Sept. 24 letter which stated that no one is “ensuring the safety of the ingredients,” forty U.S. state attorney generals urged the FDA to regulate electronic cigarettes
It is legal for minors to purchase vapor for e-cigarettes that contain zero nicotine. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the use of e-cigarettes increased from five percent to ten percent amongst high school students from 2011 to 2012.
Senior Nick Martino, a user and legal buyer of the zero nicotine vapors said, “While other people at parties are smoking weed and doing other illegal things, I smoke them instead. It’s more of a social thing,”
EverSmoke, an e-cigarette company, stated in an address of common myths, “Any brand that takes pride in their products, and plans to be around for the long term will not be using dangerous chemicals such as anti-freeze in their products meant for consumption.”
While the FDA decides whether the products will be regulated the same as cigarettes in terms of sales and advertising, there are options available for smokers in need of addiction therapy.
At RHS, the Smoking Cessation Club helps students quit smoking through group discussions and activities. Students looking to join the club can contact security guard Paul White.