Getting people to quit smoking cigarettes has proven to be a nearly impossible task. Even after being educated thoroughly on the dangers of smoking tobacco there are tens of millions of smokers worldwide. We've all heard of solutions like nicotine patches and gum but these influence very few smokers enough to quit. There are basically two trains of thought that are observed when it comes to dealing with addictions. Conservatives that tend to believe in an "abstinence only" type of policy. Whereas liberals are more open to "harm reduction strategies." The article uses the examples of teen pregnancy and heroine addiction. Conservatives feel abstinence from the two is the only way to treat the problems but liberals approve of things like birth control and methadone treatments.
Scientists in Italy have attempted to do more by doing less. The experimenters "recruited 40 hard-core smokers" to attempt to make the switch to e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes (electronic cigarettes) are used by inhaling a vapor that gives users a 'hit' of the nicotine their body fiends for without the usual "noxious substances" that are found in normal cigarette smoke.
After 6 months Dr. Polosa reported that "more than half" had cut their regular cigarette consumption by 50% and nearly 25% stopped smoking all together.
You would think that with results like these, e-cigarettes would be marketed as much as nicotine gum and other 'stop-smoking' products. It turns out a combination of government officials and antismoking groups, not Big Tobacco corporations, are warning about the dangers of e-cigs and are attempting to ban the sale of them.
The F.D.A (Food and Drug Administration) even took the e-cigarettes to court attempting to stop their sale. "The agency was backed by the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, Action on Smoking and Health, and the Center for Tobacco-Free Kids." They argued that not only could e-cigarettes act as a 'gateway' for young adults to try nicotine, but also they cited several chemicals that "may be harmful and toxic." The F.D.A.'s court case failed because "[t]he agency has never presented evidence that the trace amounts actually cause any harm, and it has neglected to mention that similar traces of these chemicals have been found in other F.D.A.-approved products, including nicotine patches and gum."
The chemicals that the F.D.A. detected are so minutely apparent in e-cigs that they are highly unlikely to have any affect on the human body.
It's amazing to me to see that we have a way of safely providing a nicotine 'fix' (compared to actual cigarette smoke) to cigarette smokers yet there is such an overwhelming resistance to it. The article says that the use of these e-cigs are slowly on the rise but nothing too crazy. "On a scale of harm from 1 to 100, where nicotine gums and lozenges are 1 and cigarettes are 100, he estimated that e-cigarettes are no higher than 2." With statistics like that I find it hard to believe that this alternative to cigarettes isn't being explored more in depth. Nicotine is a drug that will seemingly always be used and desired. People who smoke cigarettes are more than willing to take the risk that comes with the inhalation of cigarette smoke in order to inherit the benefits of nicotine (reduced anxiety and stress, lower weight, faster reaction time, and improved concentration).
So for once it seems as though it isn't big business keeping us from accomplishing healthier goals. It might just be fear of the unknown. Plus it seems as though most of these corporations are trying to avoid something that is so closely associated to smoking cigarettes. By calling e-cigarettes a gateway to smoking cigarettes it is apparent that these corporations feel as though e-cigs will only encourage people who smoke them to try regular cigarettes. I personally feel as though this is a chance that we have to take if e-cigs are effective at getting people to quit/reduce smoking regular nicotine cigarettes.