The Truth About E-Cigarettes
There’s plenty of smoke around the e-cigarette debate and few hard facts (Photo: iStock)
There’s plenty of smoke around the e-cigarette debate and few hard facts (Photo: iStock)

The Truth About E-Cigarettes

It’s easy to quit smoking, I’ve done it hundreds of times.
– Mark Twain

And that’s absolutely true.

Only 10% of smokers who try to kick the butt can actually do so. Perhaps that is why, practically overnight, vaping has become the new “in thing” for young adults world over.

If you think the e-cigarette is only an American phenomenon, then suck on this: in the last 3 years, the e-cigarette market has shot to a $ 3-4 billion industry and US contributes to only a quarter of it.

I like it. It tastes and feels like a real cigarette and has no ash. The regular bar I go to allows me to sit inside and smoke this because it’s not the real thing. It’s way more cooler.
Ankit, 20, Regular Vaper

20-year-old Ankit (name changed to protect identity), is a second year grad student in Pune. He is aware of the risk of smoking and in a bid to get out of his 4 fags-a-day habit, he picked up the metal stick loaded with a battery, metal coil, propylene glycol, glycerine and nicotine!

He still smokes and vapes almost all the time he is away from parental scrutiny.

So do they help smokers quit or simply make it easier for them to light up? Not much is known.

E-cigarettes are at the centre of one of the most fierce debates in public health. Given that these Chinese products were launched towards the end of 2012, there is very little scientific data on them.

Also Read : Here’s What Happens When You Quit Smoking

Is Vaping Safer Than Smoking?

E-cigarettes have made smoking cool again. If the press coverage and intense marketing is anything to go by, e-cigs are the new black!

And to think they are advertised as an effective tool to help smokers quit. Now since there are hardly any cessation tools not even effective medication, electronic cigarette manufacturers are exploiting this gap.

E-cigarettes have got the look, the feel but contrary to popular perception, it even has the nicotine. It is a known fact that nicotine is as addictive as heroin, and that is why e-cigarettes can scientifically never help you wean off smoking.
With intelligent marketing like this, e-cigarette companies are making sure vaping is the future of smoking (Photo: iStock)
With intelligent marketing like this, e-cigarette companies are making sure vaping is the future of smoking (Photo: iStock)

So how are they any safer? Advocates argue they don’t have the other 4999 chemicals including ‘tar’ which cigarettes have.

Now here’s the catch: Even if e-cigarettes are less lethal than cigarettes, it is not the same as saying they are safe. And with ads like the one below, it is glamorising smoking and blurring the notion that “Smoking Kills”.

Health campaigners have attacked the bevy of e-cigarette ads for making smoking seem sexy (Photo: bluNation Ad Campaign)
Health campaigners have attacked the bevy of e-cigarette ads for making smoking seem sexy (Photo: bluNation Ad Campaign)

20-year-old Ankit got hooked to it because it’s made to look cool. More than half of his batchmates have vaped at least once.

In house-parties, everyone’s talking about what you vaping on. What flavour is in there. I like mint, tobacco and banana cinnamon.
Ankit, 20, Regular Vaper

From Hollywood celebrities to our very own Sonam Kapoor who supported e-cigarettes and Sanjay Dutt who made an appeal to vape inside the Yerawada jail, e-cigs make addiction look sexy.

Also Read : We’re Not Telling You How Bad Smoking Is, We’re Showing It To You

Vaping: The Future of Smoking?

Debate around e-cigarettes gets cloudier but the trend is not only here to stay but catch up (Photo: iStock)
Debate around e-cigarettes gets cloudier but the trend is not only here to stay but catch up (Photo: iStock)

At the current rate, e-cigarette sales will surpass those of traditional cigarettes within the next decade! And it’s a global story.

Though big tobacco may have this propaganda of selling this as a cessation tool, do you think they would really want anyone to quit smoking?

E-cigarettes were first advertised as pop-ups on porn sites. A perfect way to target the 15-40-year-old horny men. These sticks come in a bunch of flavours: strawberry, pinacolada, blueberry-sour, mint, tobacco, honey-dew etc. In the US, one popular e-cigarette brand used sexy American models in red boxers to pass out free samples in front of colleges. That video went viral last year.

Is that how you market smokers to help them quit or attract teenagers to get them hooked young?

The biggest problem is, e-cigs are available to anyone, anywhere at the click of a mouse.

<b>Left:</b> Screen grab from Flipkart <b>Right:</b> Screen grab from Amazon.co.in. E-cigarettes are freely available on most online portals in India to even minors
Left: Screen grab from Flipkart Right: Screen grab from Amazon.co.in. E-cigarettes are freely available on most online portals in India to even minors
A new drug is being freely and openly being sold to people and that drug is nicotine. We don’t know how healthy or unhealthy these are over the long term. But the question is this: if in the next 5 years, we find out these are as deadly as cigarettes for your health, what happens then?
Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Oncologist, Tata Memorial Hospital

Big Tobacco has not revealed what kinds of chemicals there are in the vapour liquid.

And that is concerning.

Health experts don’t trust them. Nobody should trust them. Their only motive is profits. As I said before, are you naive enough to think that big tobacco firms want to help smokers quit?

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