The Current Status of Electronic Cigarettes

Posted 19 Aug 2011

Electronic cigarettes got invented in the early 20th century but the first few brands were not able to reach enough production and just lapsed for the moment. In the mid 90’s, in China, a newer version of electric cigarettes which are battery powered, were invented by Hon Lik. He got the inspiration from his father who died due to lung cancer. His invention was a tobacco cigarette look a like but smokeless so as to void out the risk to human’s health. In 2006, e-cigs were able to reach United Kingdom and United States. The growth of e-cigs marketed about %500 a year in the UK alone wherein by the 2nd quarter of 2011, almost 200,000 to 400,000 users owned the revolutionized electronic vaporizer. And in the US, growth is way uphill stronger as presently, there are 2,000,000 to 4,000,000 users.

This just shows e-cigarette’s rising popularity. Smokers tend to switch to using electronic cigarettes simply because they still can get their nicotine fix in the same behavior of puffing and at the same time, users risks to several respiratory diseases drop as e-cigs are extremely not dangerous nor harmful to human and the environment. There is nothing in the vapor that can cause cancer or heart disease since e-cigarettes eliminates combustion and smoke. An electronic cigarette is mainly composed of a battery, a cartridge, which holds the nicotine and liquid flavoring, and an atomizer, which heats the liquid element to produce the vapor users see as they puff.

A great deal of research has been carried out on e-cigarettes by a number of professors, health officials, and concerned organizations and majority state, and obviously, e-cigs are way safer than the traditional tobacco cigarettes. Having this said, e-cigs should be introduced globally as fast as possible as substitute to tobacco cigarettes because with e-cigs, thousands of lives can be saved.

At the current time, electronic cigarettes can be legally imported, owned, and used in Europe, US, and other countries.

Europe Denmark Danish Medicines Agency classifies electronic cigarettes as  medicinal or non-medicinal products depending if they contain nicotine or not. Authorization is required before marketing and selling.
  Finland Sale of nicotine cartridges is currently prohibited but nicotine free e-cigs may be sold. Finnish authorities decided that nicotine cartridges containing less than 10mg nicotine and e-liquid containing less than 0.42g of nicotine per bottle may be legally brought in from other countries for private use.
  Latvia Ministry of Health has warned the masses that electronic cigarettes can be harmful to health. However, still e-cigs are legal and can be sold via internet to non-minors.
  Netherlands Selling and using of electronic cigarettes are allowed but advertising is still pending as forbidden by Europian Union legislation.
  Norway E-cigarettes for personal use is allowed within European Economic Area or EEA.
  Sweden Same as in Denmark, Norway, and Finland, nicotine free e-cigarettes may be sold but nicotine cartridges are restricted under authorization from EU legislation.
  UK Electronic cigarettes is very legal. E-cigs can be used and sold in many pubs and can be used in most places.
US Arizona Electronic cigarettes are legal though the state is planning to ban the selling to minors.
  California E-cigs are legal in this state. As Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger stated, "if adults want to purchase and consume these products with an understanding of the associated health risks, they should be able to do so."
  New Hampshire The sale of electronic cigarette to minors is legal as of July 2010.
  Washington E-cigarette use is allowed in certain places such as bars and workplaces but selling to minors is prohibited.
Other Countries Australia Therapeutic Goods Administration said that there are no laws preventing the importation of electronic cigarettes bought via internet for personal use unless restricted by the state and territory legislation.
  Canada Import, sale, and advertising of electronic cigarettes containing nicotine are prohibited in Canada, while non-nicotines are legal.
  China Electronic cigarettes are legal but due to the low street price of tobacco cigarettes, e-cigs are not very patronized by the locals as they are expensive alternative to smoking.
  New Zealand Ruyan obtained registration as medicine thus sales is currently allowed in pharmacies.
  South Korea The use and sale of e-cigs are legal but heavily taxed.
  Switzerland The use and import of e-cigarettes are legal but nicotine containing cartridges cannot be sold in Switzerland.

However, there had been a lot of struggles as certain individuals and agencies are opposing to distribution and usage of the said product. Why else would anyone object to something that will save hundreds of thousands of lives? For some, the rising popularity of e-cigs can can cause lost of fortune, thus sadly priority is being granted to maintain the current income flow over saving of lives and even saving the environment. The pharmaceutical industry is mainly the most affected party here. With e-cigarettes, their quit-smoking medicines and nicotine replacement therapies such as gums, patches, and lozenges will not be needed or wanted by the consumers anymore. They will lose millions and billions in global sales of their products therefore to avoid this, they are fighting very eager to ban and restrict e-cigarettes. As you can notice, whenever there is an opposition to electronic cigarettes, there’s always a pharmaceutical related individual or group funding it. Come on, why buy drugs from them which are as expensive or more than smoking tobacco when e-cigarettes are available as an alternative to smoking and cost is just the same or cheaper? And in reality, most NRTs fail to work or ineffective, thus users tend to go back to their smoking habit while majority of smokers who switched to electronic cigarettes eventually kick off their smoking habits.

Many years have passed since e-cigs were invented, but there is actually no single incident of death or serious disease has been reported caused by the use of electronic cigarettes.

Image: Salvatore Vuonot

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