Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Are they or are they not? I’m talking about the E-Cig. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, controversy has come to the fore with various experts giving their opinions.
Kate Moss is a fan, as is Leonardo DiCaprio. With an estimated seven million users in Europe alone, electronic cigarettes are definitely on-trend. They are also proving controversial: last week, a Mothercare worker was suspended after “vaping” in front of customers. Vaping, yet another new word introduced into the English language meaning ‘smoking’. Health sharply divided about the e-cigarette, with some arguing they could substantially cut deaths from tobacco – of which there are 100,000 annually in the UK – while others warn they will only glamorise smoking, especially among the young. Euro MPs added to the confusion last week by throwing out a European Commission proposal, supported by the UK’s regulatory authority, to treat e-cigarettes as medicines.
An E-Cig comprise a battery, atomiser and a cartridge containing nicotine, suspended in a solution of propylene glycol (the stuff from which theatrical smoke is made). When the user inhales, the solution is vaporised (hence “vaping”), delivering a nicotine hit to the lungs without the tar and toxins that would come from conventional cigarettes. Some e-cigarettes have an indicator light at the end which glows when the user inhales, to give an added touch of realism. And, unlike standard nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as gums, patches and sprays, they offer “the cigarette experience”, notes Jeremy Mean, from the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA). “Rituals such as having something to hold are very important in addiction,” he says. “E-cigarettes may help some people more than standard NRT.” A local paper on the Costa Del Sol ran a headline story that Spanish medics are warning electronic cigarettes could be just as dangerous as the real thing, despite being marketed as a healthier alternative. Spains Association of Pneumology and Thoraicic Surgery tested the effects of e-cigarettes on the lung function in non-smokers, healthy smokers, and those with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The medics found the vapour in the devices caused lungs to react in exactly the same way as with regular cigarettes. A comment by one of the papers readers said that ; This is a debunked study. The exact same reaction can be observed on entering a steam room or being at a theatre with a fog machine. Big pharma and tobacco propaganda. Please research before printing. One study of 657 smokers, published in The Lancet last month, found that e cigarettes worked as well as nicotine patches in helping people stop smoking within six months. With an average quitting rate of about 6 per cent, neither method worked brilliantly, but e-cigarettes were also better at reducing conventional cigarette use among those who did not give up totally. “We cannot say they are 100 per cent safe because there isn’t enough evidence,” says Amanda Sandford, research manager at Action on Smoking and Health (ASH). “But in comparison to tobacco products they are safer by several orders of magnitude.” Unlike with passive smoking from conventional cigarettes, the effect on others from the vapour exhaled is thought to be negligible. So there you have it. Make up your own mind.

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