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The Hot New Smoking Trend

It seems that smoking has been part of human history for as long as we can remember.

The earliest cigarettes, made from reeds and smoking tubes, date back to the 9th century in Central America. Since then, this pastime has continued to grow in popularity. It is especially prevalent in developing countries. However, as cigarette use has soared, the opposition to it has as well. Now, with so much medical proof regarding the health hazards of cigarettes, advertising campaigns are now turning to a new smoking product, the electronic cigarette, also known as the e-cigarette. And people are flocking to it en masse, especially young people. But is this new trend any safer or healthier than the tobacco-rolled products of yesteryear?

What are e-cigs, anyway?

The battery-charged cigarette was first conceptualized in the 1960’s, but didn’t become mainstream until recently, within the last decade, and especially in the last few years. Traditional smokes were receiving too much negative publicity, at least in America. Additionally, cigarettes are always the target of higher taxation, and tighter advertising laws. This has left the door wide open for marketers to push e-cigs.

The electronic cigarette does not contain tobacco. Therefore it is not governed by the same stringency as traditional cigarettes. However, the e-cig still contains nicotine in a cartridge. When this cartridge is heated via battery, it releases a nicotine vapor that is inhaled and exhaled. The nicotine cartridges may contain even more nicotine than a cigarette!

Are They Safer Than Cigarettes?

Electronic cigarettes are still very new in the mainstream marketplace. Because of this, very few tests have been performed to test the safety of these devices. However, their unregulated nature should be enough to cause concern.

In 2009, the FDA performed an analysis of two leading e-cig brands. The results showed carcinogens and diethylene glycol, a main ingredient in antifreeze. The FDA is concerned about quality control. They indicate that some manufacturers may not be disclosing all the chemical ingredients in their products.

Many people believe that e-cigarettes are less hazardous than cigarettes. They are marketed as a way to quit traditional smoking. It seems people are buying the message. One recent study stated that 45% of smokers believe that electronic cigarette could help them quit smoking. Another study found that 53% of young adults thought e-cigs were healthier than traditional cigs. However, there is little evidence to back up such claims.

Marketing to Kids

Since these products are not regulated, there is no age restriction for purchasing them. Laws don’t prohibit the advertising of e-cigs, and companies are spending over $20 million annually on advertising. Of course, these companies deny marketing to kids. Yet they offer fun flavors like cherry, bubble gum, and cookies and cream milkshake. Additionally, most manufacturers sell their products online. This makes it easy for anyone to get a hold of them. Additionally, e-cigs are not taxed like tobacco products, making them more affordable.

There are many unanswered questions about electronic cigarettes. Yet they are selling like hot cakes. A Center for Disease Control and Prevention study found nearly 1.8 million young people have tried e-cigarettes, and the number of U.S. middle and high school student e-smokers has doubled between 2011 and 2012. Advertisers are pushing hard, but don’t just buy into what they tell you!

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