Controversy on the electronic cigarette is pitted among health professionals, e-cigarette users and even scientists against the proposed ruling of the World Health Organization to include the device as compared to that of tobacco products as harmful and threatening to life.
Over the past two years of its emergence in the market, the e-cigarettes became popular among smokers who wanted to quit the habit so they switched to the battery-powered devices. Tobacco smoking, classified as an unhealthy lifestyle or habit was set aside in favor of the e-cigarettes as it emits vapor instead of smoke and does not contain tar.
Sales of the e-cigarettes skyrocketed as more and more smokers are switching and the flavored e-liquid satisfying their taste. Even the biggest cigarette manufacturers Altria and Reynolds American Inc. have launched their own e-cigarette brands and vapor products to compensate for the tobacco cigarette loss. There is one vapor shop in Atlanta wherein it carries lots of vapor flavors to fit the different tastes and lifestyles of each e-cigarette consumer.
With the rise in e-cigarette popularity and sales, the World Health Organization is very adamant on setting a regulation on its distribution. WHO has cited these devices as a health threat and possible gateway that can start the users to substance or nicotine addiction.
Health professionals and even scientists from Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia who are doing research on the effects of e-cigarettes have disputed that these smokeless products may be a likely solution to let the heavy smokers veer away from tobacco cigarettes. These devices may well be the best way to treat smokers instead of being health-threatening to the users and could save lives if used appropriately.
Gerry Stimson, one of the scientists who organized the research and an emeritus professor at the Imperial College in London says that he finds the statement of WHO as bizarre. He also wanted the scientific and health community to be vocal on their protest before the regulation gets to be signed. Stimson is one of the scientists who wrote an open letter to Margaret Chan, WHO Director General to oppose against the smokeless community alongside the big name tobacco companies.
Another reason for the controversy is the ban on e-cigarette use at the Ohio State University which began in January because of the citation saying that the e-liquid used by the device to be turned to vapor and is inhaled by the users contain nicotine. This concerns the Dr. Peter Shields who is a deputy director at the Wexner Medical Center that e-liquids can be purchased by minors online and they can be addicted to it if not poisoned.
Shields also stated that this can also lead to the introduction of smoking to adolescents as many of those who smoke started as early as 11 years old. This is also one of the reasons being insisted by WHO that e-cigarettes serve as a product that can lead to toxic substances which are harmful to one’s health especially in young people. They are also concerned on the flavors which may appeal to children like chocolate, candy or ice cream flavors that may or may not contain nicotine.