Can e-cigarettes help make “real” cigarettes obsolete?
New York Times columnist Joe Nocera article, Two Cheers for E-Cigarettes published on December 6, 2013 is an informative opinion piece on electronic cigarettes as an alternative to “real” cigarettes.
Mr Nocera’s article begins by posing the scenario of a product which is lethal, in this case “real” cigarettes which kill over 400,000 Americans alone each year and is still to this day a thriving profitable marketplace. He then suggests “Now imagine that an alternative comes to the market, an innovative device that can help people wean themselves from the deadly product. It has the same look and feel as the lethal product; indeed, that’s a large part of its appeal. It, too, is addictive. But the ingredients that kill people are absent.”
The article goes onto suggest that the electronic cigarette is the first harm-reduction product to gain serious traction among American smokers and yet some public health officials want to see them stigmatized and restricted in the marketplace like tobacco cigarettes. The concern in doing so by e-cigarette advocates is that this will place limitations on marketing campaigns to make existing smokers aware of this relatively new alternative and therefore reduce their exposure to these products despite their prevalence in uptake around the globe over the past few years.
“Several recent studies have strongly suggested that the majority of e-cigarette users are people who are trying to quit their tobacco habit. The number of people who have done the opposite — going from e-cigarettes to cigarettes — is minuscule.”
David Abrams, executive director of the Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies was quoted in the article in relation to electronic cigarettes “It’s a disruptive technology,” he said, “that might give cigarettes a run for their money.” In his view, the anti-tobacco advocates had spent so many years arguing from “a total abstinence framework,” that they haven’t been able to move from that position. Yet, he noted, the country has long tolerated many similar harm reduction strategies, including needle exchanges and methadone maintenance.”
Mr Nocera does highlight that electronic cigarettes should not be free of regulation. Read the full article here - we also recommend you check out some of the reader comments, especially those of readers who have made the switch to electronic cigarettes where they share their personal experiences and stories.