E-Cigarettes and vaping entered US markets in 2007 as an alternative source of nicotine that forgoes tobacco smoking. E-Cigarettes get their name from their resemblance to conventional cigarettes, but are in fact based on vapor and steam rather than smoke. This industry has exploded over the intervening years but they still lack official regulation from the Food and Drug Administration. Here are 10 Need-To-Know facts about E-Cigarettes and Vaping:
1) No Smoking Environment – Despite their appearance, you won’t need a lighter or a match to use an e-cigarette. They are instead powered by battery or by butane to provide a self-contained, mobile power source. After inhalation the user can then puff out the steam produced by the e-cigarette creating a second-hand-smoke free environment.
2) Health Concerns – The problem with this new product is the lack of studies regarding the effects of inhaling pure nicotine. Sure, e-cigarettes avoid many of the harmful carcinogens present in conventional cigarettes but there are insufficient studies regarding the effects of the purer form of nicotine that is being inhaled. This has created numerous concerns regarding health.
3) Unregulated Nicotine Levels – The amount of nicotine isn’t regulated. This means any imported e-cigarette may contain a mystery quantity of nicotine that may be far more potent than what you’re expecting, even more potent than what your body can handle.
4) Producers and Vendors – E-Cigarettes were originally developed in China. Today, many sources of e-cigarettes come from offshore locations meaning that occasionally the vendor doesn’t know to what specifications the manufacturer crafts their e-cigarettes. The FDA has in the past seized international shipments of e-cigarettes leading to some US merchants beginning their own production of e-cigarettes.
5) Child Accessible? – There is growing concern about the availability of e-cigarettes to children. Children in particular can be vulnerable to large quantities of nicotine to the point of it even being fatal. With many vendors operating online, it’s easier then ever for kids to anonymously order e-cigarettes online for use. Tobacco cigarettes are regulated in that no child under the age of 18 is legally allowed to purchase cigarettes, yet no such law exists for e-cigarettes due to a lack of regulation.
6) Pricey – An e-cigarette may cost you a pretty penny. This gadget-like and James Bond-worthy device comes with a tag that may surprise you. Basic starter kits can range from $60 to as high as $150. Fragile e-cigarettes may require parts to be replaced when they break leading to further expenses.
7) High Maintenance – Rechargeable batteries, battery warranties, butane refills, and filter replacements require constant attention on your part for your e-cigarette. Additionally, users should clean their e-cigarette regularly to prevent the accumulation of debris and byproducts which can affect future use.
8) FDA Regulation Pending – The FDA has yet to regulate this new product in part due to the process of first having e-cigarettes categorized as a drug-delivery device. Once labeled as such, it will be easier to regulate the industry creating standards and precepts for the usage of e-cigarettes.
9) Smoke Free Zones – No smoking areas don’t yet apply to e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes emit vapor, not smoke, creating a literal and figurative gray area regarding using e-cigarettes in public places. Regulations and rules can vary from state to state, city to city, and establishment to establishment.
10) Secondhand Issues – One of the greatest assets according to e-cigarette advocates is the protection of bystanders and children from secondhand smoke. Even though e-cigarettes don’t emit smoke, just vapor, there is a lack of any sort of conclusive evidence saying that secondhand vapor is totally harmless. Long term studies have not been conducted or concluded and simple irritation to the eyes may debunk the myth of simple water vapor as the only, and pure, byproduct.
E-Cigarettes and vaporizers are shifting the ranks slowly but surely of tobacco smokers as more and more turn to vaping. As the FDA inches closer and closer to regulating this industry, high risk e-cigarette merchants must face the prospect of their industry becoming even more high risk or perhaps a degree closer to main stream. Close monitoring of any and all new information from the FDA will be crucial to business owners, merchants, and entrepreneurs in the e-cigarette industry.
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