E-Cigarettes: The Debate Heats Up – A Healthy Alternative to Cigarettes?
The hot new trend is e-cigarettes; also known as vapor cigarettes or 'vaping'. Several of our staff have taken up 'vaping' as a replacement for cigarettes and I can personally say I am thankful. I have been smoke free for over 3 years now and about 3 to 6 months into my non-smoking journey I apologized to every non-smoker I had been around my entire smoking life. I had no idea I smelled THAT BAD!
Now the health debate has heated up about e-cigarettes. Are they a healthy alternative to smoking? The health community is divided according to the New York Times.
The essence of their disagreement comes down to a simple question: Will e-cigarettes cause more or fewer people to smoke? The answer matters. Cigarette smoking is still the single largest cause of preventable death in the United States, killing about 480,000 people a year.
I can see both sides of the argument. If I'm not getting all the other harmful chemicals in my e-cigarette as I am in a tobacco cigarette it must be better for me. In that case will I smoke more? Am I taking in MORE nicotine than I did when I was smoking cigarettes? Since it's not "as harmful" as regular cigarettes then can I take up smoking again. Or, since I don't have to get up from my work area and head outside in the freezing cold will I smoke more?
Are there any harmful chemicals in the vapor? Everything I have read says it's just water vapor which I am going to choose to believe. One thing I do know it is a heck of a lot cheaper to "vape" then it is to buy cigarettes.
The average cost of a pack of cigarettes in the state of Oklahoma, according to TheAwl.com is $5.19 a pack. If you smoke a pack a day that calculates out to $1,894.35 a year; 2 packs a day it calculates to $3,788.70.
Now, the average cost of an e-cigarette according to V2Cigs.com is just $7.50 for FIVE packs or $1.50 a pack. Total cost a year $547.50.
Most of the cost of a traditional cigarette is the state and federal taxes. According to taxadmin.org the state of Oklahoma imposes $1.03 state tax on every pack of cigarettes. According to AP News - Federal tax is $1.08 (Obama proposed an additional $.94 but I don't find where it has passed yet). So, for every pack of cigarettes you buy in Oklahoma you are paying an additional $2.11 per pack in taxes. E-cigarettes do not fall under these two taxes for now! According to the Boston Globe lawmakers are still trying to figure out how to regulate and tax these new devices.
E-cigarettes represent a new market still developing, with policymakers scrambling to catch up, the way that laws on cellphones and other comparatively recent technological advances are still taking shape.
The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate e-cigarettes the way they do traditional tobacco products. Product advocates and some health professionals say that e-cigarettes can help with smoking cessation and might inflict less health damage than other nicotine products.
I have traveled to other states and e-cigarettes are not as prevalent in the Dakotas and Minnesota as they are here. I'm not sure about other states. What have you found? Do you see more people "vaping"? I personally would prefer that more people would. I think going out in public would be a lot more pleasant.
Just out of curiosity (and for no other reason then my curiosity) Will you take a moment and finish this survey?