ore steam for the anti-vaping movement: A French consumer magazine, National Consumer Institute, reported Monday that e-cigarettes feature “a significant amount of carcinogenic molecules” in their vapor which have so far gone undetected.
E-cigarettes, those batterypowered devices you see folks smoking inside, use heat to vaporize liquid nicotine, but include no tobacco and generate no smoke, and hence evade anti-smoking regulation.
Using a brand new system of testing, researchers found that in three out-of the ten e-cigs analyzed, the level of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, came close to the number in cigarettes. Moreover, an extremely toxic molecule called acrolein was detected “sometimes at levels even higher-than in conventional cigarettes,” said Thomas Laurenceau, chief editor of the journal.
“This is not a reason to prohibit them, but to place them under better control,” he said.
Laurencea’s opinion is echoed by vaping skeptics around the pond, where the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is chewing on a set of possible regulations due out this fall, including a prohibition of on-line sales to stop sales to minors and limitations on marketing. Meanwhile, Michael Bloomberg, New York’s health-conscious mayor, is regarding a strategy that, among other things, would outlaw e-cig flavors like bubble gum that look designed to pull children.
The problem, say e-cig’s detractors, is that without more long-term studies and tests, we don’t know whether they’re the safe alternative to regular smokes that their proponents claim they are.
“The little studies which have been done so far suggest at both pros and cons; one found that smokers reduce real cigarettes after attempting the electronic sort, while another found particles of steel and and silicates in e-cigarette vapor that may cause breathing problems,” says the Bangkok Post. “It would be fantastic if e-cigarettes turned into the breakthrough that gets people to give up smoking tobacco. Meanwhile, we must all be careful that e-cigarettes not perpetuate a custom that society has arrived a long way toward snuffing out.”
On the opposite end, vaping advocates are offended by the rush to condemn a breakthrough which could save hundreds of thousands of lives annually. “The anti-smoking movement is really a victim of its success,” says Nick Gillespie at The Daily Beast. “This time, the buttinskys are trying to douse the dreaded e-cigarette, a device that supplies a safe nicotine hit to the consumer without bothering or endangering anyone else.”
“[T]he prohibitionists are accepting e-cigarettes because… because… because… smoking tobacco is terrible for you. And they don’t believe you must decide how exactly to live your life,” he says.
The thought is that e-cigs should not be as bad as regular cigarettes. And if regulators get too rule-happy, they could prevent actual smokers from becoming faux smokers.
“Permitting anti-smoking ideology to order e-cig laws would condemn smokers to using ineffective quitting strategies or dying premature, tar-sodden fatalities, but evidence-based regulation that prioritizes public health would cause a revolution in tobacco harm reduction,” claims Lindsay Fox, an e-cigarette promoter, at The Ny Times.
Whilst the debate rages on, the e-cigarette sector is gaining momentum. The market is forecast to reach $1 billion this year, and analysts say sales could top $10 billion within the next five years. Without regulation, the cigarette business could be outgrown by the e-cigarette business by 2047.