E-Cigs: For those who are new to these devices the Wiki definition is ” An electronic cigarette or "e-cigarette" is a battery-powered device that provides inhaled doses of nicotine by heating a nicotine-chemical solution into a vapor. It is an alternative to smoked tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. In addition to nicotine delivery, this vapor also provides a flavor and physical sensation similar to that of inhaled tobacco smoke, while no tobacco, smoke, or combustion is actually involved in its operation.
An electronic cigarette usually takes the form of some manner of elongated tube, though many are designed to resemble the outward appearance of real smoking products, like cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. A common design is also the "pen-style", so named for its visual resemblance to a ballpoint pen.
Most electronic cigarettes are reusable devices with replaceable and refillable parts. A number of disposable electronic cigarettes have also been developed. The legal status of electronic cigarettes varies by country.”
These have been around for many years in China, Europe and the UK They are fairly new to the U.S. and now there are many brands and types to choose from. My hope is to help inform consumers that plan to use these devices of recent government changes and the quality of certain brands.
There has been some controversy over these devices so I will start with these thoughts. First off I think they would be healthier than any tobacco cigarette on the market. There is no combustion so they don’t produce Carbon Monoxide nor do they have the other thousands of chemicals from tobacco, you don’t smell of smoke, don’t need ashtrays, won’t burn your house down, get stained teeth, create second hand smoke, there is a monetary benefit over cigarettes as well as the convenience. That is saying a lot. There has been a major push on No Smoking campaigns that are imposing on our civil liberties nation wide. So if these help curb tobacco smoking we should welcome them as an alternative.
There have been concerns from the FDA about certain brands of Electronic Cigarettes having Diethylene Glycol as an ingredient. The Proper ingredient would be USP Grade (United States Pharmacopoeia) non-toxic Propylene Glycol. This is used in many pharmaceutical and food products and is what manufacturers use to create the vapor. The FDA's findings were miniscule and it was from one cartridge and one brand. But make sure you are diligent and know what you are buying. Now manufacturers are looking into using Vegetable Glycerin instead of PG as an even safer alternative. This is one area where regulation may be needed. Good manufacturers are doing third party lab testing on their own.
Another concern is these can also be adapted for the delivery of medication and at that point the FDA will take control over their usage. But the biggest concern seems to be that kids will pickup on these get hooked on nicotine and it becomes a gateway device to tobacco and other drugs. Can't be a bigger scare than Nicotine Gum and the initial cost is too much for most kids to afford or want to spend and then they would need refills.
I have also read that the dose of the cartridges at the higher levels (16mg or higher) is a very strong nicotine dose. But with this delivery system it has been found that the per draw amounts are small and I think it will take each individual to test the level they require. This is something to keep in mind.
One persons take on these as cessation devices was if you are wearing the patch and continue to smoke you can get a Nicotine over dose. The Electronic Cigarette it is replacing the habit so you are only using one or the other at any given time. So using e-cigarettes would prevent the chance of getting too much nicotine. This makes sense.
With the many Electronic Cigarettes available it can be daunting to find the best product for you. My initial concern was the safety and then how realistic the feeling of the water vapor compared to smoke and would it satisfy me. I did my research on the safety and after purchasing one I discovered you get a good hit and it immediately cut my cigarette smoking in half. I also discovered while doing my research there are many types, the Pen, the Mini and the Disposable just to mention a few. Most manufacturers seem to follow a disposable cartridge design due to the delivery system and of course for a never ending revenue source. But after more reading many people still use the E-Liquid and refill their old cartridges.
Now that I have owned and used E-Cigarettes I have found a few note worthy items in their use. The first thing is as a beginner before I trained myself on the draw I would draw way to much. You may do this in the beginning as well. Once I adjusted myself to a good draw it made all the difference in the world. Now I get a good pleasant draw.
Also the older the cartridge the harder it is to draw. So you get used to drawing hard and when you change to a new nicotine cartridge you may again over draw. A low battery will also give a weak hit, so be aware of these things and you will be good. Another thing is when ordering a unit no matter what manufacturer make sure you get two batteries. Especially with the smaller models. The battery life does vary and a spare will help.
Try not to get your atomizer too hot. This can cause it to fail before it's time. In two piece systems drawing too hard may clog the atomizer before the cartridge is empty and this could waste money. Never submerge your atomizer in any fluid to clean it. It's best to blow or lightly wipe off any residue. On some models you can take off the cartridge and blow into the LED side of the battery to activate the atomizer and vaporize whatever has built up.
A) I can see them as both a cessation treatment and as an alternative to tobacco products for enjoyment. This is really user preference but some manufacturers claim their product is NOT intended for use as a Cessation tool. This may be so the FDA has no jurisdiction over them. Though the FDA is a major pain in the butt, I'm not sure this is the best approach?
B) They do need to be regulated to some degree to create a quality standard and for the fact they can have Nicotine and flavors. because there are flavors and it's a cool device can make it appealing to the younger generation. So an age limit needs to be strongly enforced. The good thing is the up front cost is more than most kids can spend.
C) As far as these being a Drug delivery system they shouldn't be classified as such until the FDA gets realistic about them. I'm not exactly sure how the FDA classes the intended cessation products out there but they seem to have an issue with these. There are a few FDA approved nicotine inhalers on the market and they are what the FDA uses as a baseline for testing against e-cigarettes. And aren't all cessation tools drug delivery systems?? The Gum, Lozenges and Nicotine Patch all deliver nicotine and some come flavored, so who is to say kids won't want to chew the gum for a buzz. These items have been FDA approved and as far as I have seen no E-Cigs or E-Liquid has been. There again as soon as these are deemed Drug Delivery Systems or True Cessation Devices the FDA will have jurisdiction. If The FDA must be involved they need to focus on the Vapor Juice/ Nicotine Cartridges and not on E-Cigarette devices themselves. They seem to be condemning these products instead of getting on board and suggesting realistic standards that manufacturers may follow.
D) It would be nice to have a Quality Standard whether you intend on switching for continued enjoyment, improved health benefits or as a cessation aid to quit smoking. Part of the problem is there hasn't been enough long term data on the use of these devices so the feds will undoubtedly take a harsh stance. And since the FDA now regulates Big Tobacco there has been some conspiracy theories about them being in bed together to kill these devices. Now the latest is that Philip Morris International is looking to buy Ruyan Group the original maker of e-cigarettes and who knows what their intension's are. So the future of these devices seems at time unclear but I say lets do the best we can getting the quality in place and go from there.