Frequently Asked Questions About Electronic Cigarettes
Frequently Asked Questions About Electronic Cigarettes
A lot of people have questions about E-cigs – and in this FAQ, we’re going to attempt to answer some of the most common ones. E-cigs are definitely new to some people, so hopefully this information will help to dispel some negative misconceptions about them that have made their way through the ‘rumor mill’ and into the minds of people who just haven’t heard otherwise. Maybe, upon learning some of these facts, you’ll feel a little bit better about this safer, healthier alternative to traditional tobacco smoking.
Are E-cigs intended to get people hooked on tobacco?
No, definitely not! It is true that the tobacco industry has tried to make its own way into the E-cig industry – but the number of electronic cigarette companies owned by the mainstream tobacco industry (about 5) is pretty small in comparison to the number of independent enterprises that have sprouted up over the past two decades (about 500).
The simple truth of the matter is that the tobacco industry might be in trouble because of E-cigs. As electronic cigarettes get more popular, people are smoking fewer and fewer analog cigarettes – which means that tobacco companies are making less money. E-cigs are almost always used as a safer alternative to analog cigarettes – and for good reason. They’re much cleaner, and contain far fewer chemicals. They also utilize no open flame, contain no tar, and offer an experience very similar to smoking that’s truly ‘tobacco free’.
Hopefully, major tobacco companies will eventually switch over to E-cigs and embrace them as a safer, more modern alternative – but there is very little evidence to show that E-cigs actually cause people to start smoking. Most vapers are ex-smokers who are trying to quit.
Is it true that E-cigs are completely unregulated?
A lot of people are concerned about how E-cigs are regulated, and for good reason. They do, after all, contain nicotine – so it would make sense that people would want to make sure that they were being manufactured and distributed in a safe and health-conscious manner.
With that being said, it might make you feel better to hear that there are currently over twenty one different European and UK directives/regulations that apply to E-cigs. This is fantastic news, because better regulations help to make the industry better! Unfortunately, some of these regulations (such as The Tobacco Products Directive, which will be brought into force in the spring of 2016) might actually make E-cigs a bit more difficult to obtain and use for those who are trying to quit smoking – but for the most part, the regulations that are in place in the UK are safe, healthy, and promote better products and trading standards!
When you vape to stop smoking, aren’t you just switching from one addictive habit to another?
This is an understandable question, but vaping is definitely in a different category than smoking. First of all, smoking is dangerous. It’s estimated that the effects of smoking kill over 400,000 people each year in the US alone. Vaping, on the other hand, has been shown to be up to 95% less harmful than regular analog tobacco cigarette use.
While it is true that E-liquid contains nicotine, it’s also true that it’s not nearly as dangerous – so wouldn’t it be better if people vaped instead of using cigarettes?
Yes, in the long run, it would be better if nobody was addicted to anything. But it’s also true that vaping companies don’t tend to market to people who haven’t smoked before. Vaping has always been considered an alternative to smoking, and has helped to provide a lot of people with the means to give up cigarettes.
So, when you really think about it, being addicted to E-cigs is much different than being addicted to cigarettes. E-cigs are easy to obtain, cheaper to buy, and safer. Plus, with E-cigs, you can purposefully scale back your nicotine intake by buying E-liquids with lower concentrations of it. This could possibly assist you in quitting nicotine altogether, despite the fact that E-cigs aren’t technically allowed to be sold as ‘smoking cessation devices’.
Are electronic cigarettes a gateway habit for tobacco?
We’ve actually published an article on our blog dealing with this exact same subject, which you can find here: https://ecigsuk.org.uk/most-vapers-are-young-heavy-smokers-who-are-trying-to-quit/. The simple answer to this question seems to be no, in almost every case. According to studies, it seems that the vast majority of E-cig users are people who have either tried cigarettes in the past, or who are currently smoking and looking for an alternative.
There was actually an awesome article on this same subject posted on Fortune.com recently. It addressed two recent studies that are said to prove an association between E-cig use and the beginning of a cigarette habit in young people, though it turns out that this evidence is not quite as clear-cut as many E-cig opponent’s like to say it is.
You can view the Fortune article here: http://fortune.com/2015/09/24/e-cigarette-use-vaping-gateway-regular-cigarette-use/. It’s titled
“Why vaping is not a gateway to smoking”.
What is the E-cig industry doing to better itself and provide better answers for issues and concerns?
In Europe, ECITA has been doing an incredible job of improving the standard of excellence for the E-cig industry among manufacturers and consumers. They published their Industry Standard of Excellence in 2010, and since then have made a number of other contributions that have helped to improve the market and raise the overall quality of the E-cig manufacturing atmosphere in-general.
They also perform audits on member and paying non-member companies to make sure that they’re following not only applicable laws, but also to make sure that they’re producing products and doing business in ways that will benefit both customers and the industry itself. As standards are raised in this fashion, the overall quality of the products and the standard of excellence for the businesses increases – thus making the market safer and offering more value for consumers.
Should E-cig advertising be banned?
Unfortunately, under the TPD, all E-cig advertising will be banned (much as it is for cigarettes and other tobacco products), though these regulations are also expected to be reviewed after one year to determine whether or not they should be continued. The Committees of Advertising Practice published new rules for E-cig advertising in October of 2014, which are enforced by the Advertising Standards Agency.
At the moment, it seems that to ban advertising on E-cigs might not be completely beneficial, as it would make it more difficult for smokers to be aware of alternatives that could help them to stop using tobacco products. Hopefully, in the future, fair and responsible advertising will be allowed to help make E-cigs better known to the general public – especially for smokers and their friends/family members.
Should customers and companies be included in a discussion about the future of the E-cig industry?
Yes, and this is why. Unfortunately, electronic cigarettes have been very overshadowed by their analog counterparts. Too many people fear E-cigs for the same reasons that they fear tobacco products – despite the fact that E-cigs are much, much safer.
Information! It will take consumers, companies, and government action to help equalize the E-cig industry playing field. Customers need access to quality products, companies need to be able to do business and sell well-made merchandise, and the government needs to regulate trade and advertising standards in a way that will be fair, balanced, and good for both the individual and the economy.
It’s going to take all three to make the E-cig industry a market where a top-notch standard of excellence and trustworthiness reigns supreme – but hopefully, together, we can all make this happen.