The following is a guest post by Lindsay. All opinions are those of the author.
Whatever the media, tobacco companies and anti-smoking lobbies may say, there is one thing you can’t deny about electronic cigarettes: they have the potential to help smokers all across the country quit. However, in researching e-cigarettes, you may have noticed that the vast majority of them make no claims about the potential use of e-cigarettes to help you quit smoking. It seems like with nicotine gum, patches and even bizarre inhalators being sold to help people quit smoking, e-cigarettes have a marked advantage because of the sensory similarity. So why is it that manufacturers don’t shout this from the rooftops?
The simple answer is because it’s not possible to say yet. E-cigarettes are a relatively new invention, and scientific research takes time. You can’t conclude anything either way, because without a significant number of well-conducted and clinically controlled studies, things like selection bias, statistical anomalies and unforeseen variables could influence the results. Whilst a growing body of research is supporting the idea that you can use e-cigarettes to help you quit, it’s impossible to say so definitively from a strictly objective point of view.
This isn't the entire answer, however. The FDA is notoriously wary of e-cigarettes, after having conducted a test on a group of e-cigs and finding trace amounts of diethylene glycol in one and tiny proportions of nitrosamines (which can cause cancer) in the batch. It’s been shown that you find ten times the amount of diethylene glycol in aspirin and that tobacco cigarettes have up to 1,400 times as much nitrosamines. Many people have criticized the FDA’s approach to e-cigarettes for this reason, and as more research is conducted they’ll likely have to alter their stance.
Currently, the FDA is unable to regulate e-cigarettes because they don’t make therapeutic claims. This is arguably one of the reasons that manufacturers don’t claim their products can help people quit smoking, but this shouldn't be misconstrued as a negative point with regards to their safety. Like all products which go on sale to the public, they have to conform to customer safety regulations; just not the enhanced controls that come from the FDA. Everything in e-cigarettes is approved for consumption; and it’s important to remember that the alternative is unquestionably more dangerous.
The story is far from over, though. The FDA is pursuing changes to regulations so they’d have more power with regards to e-cigarettes, but it seems unlikely to make much of a difference. Companies earn their reputation by producing quality products, and research supporting e-cigarettes is amassing rapidly, so there is no reason to think change is necessary. Most manufacturers (all reputable ones) support increased legislation anyway, because they’re interested in the health of the consumer.
Overall, the reasons e-cigarette manufacturers don’t make health claims about their products are pretty simple, but do not mean that those claims won’t be shown to be true. In the future, it seems probable that electronic cigarettes will be subject to more stringent regulation, but their benefits and the quality of their construction look likely to win through in the end. For now, e-cigarettes aren’t definitively the ultimate tool to quit smoking, but they’re starting to look like it.
About the Author: Lindsay is the editor for ecigarettereviewed's blog. “I've been vaping for almost two years. The day I quit smoking, I decided to help others make the switch to e cigs and I haven't stopped since.”