The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that it is taking steps to regulate electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as tobacco products, acting under its authorities in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009.
That’s got everybody talking about these rather strange devices, which have become increasingly popular over the past few years.
E-cigarettes resemble a standard cigarette but use a battery and an atomizer to heat a solution which, when inhaled, delivers vaporized nicotine to the user. They have been described both as a miracle answer to the devastating effects of cigarette smoking and as a grave danger to public health.
As with so many highly celebrated, or reviled, products, their true nature likely lies somewhere in between. Let’s consider what many are saying about these devices.
Those who favor e-cigarettes list as benefits:
- Their ability to deliver nicotine to the user without many of the other 7,000+ chemicals in a regular, burned cigarette;
- Their absence of secondhand cigarette smoke;
- Their resemblance to regular cigarettes, which provide the tactile and visual sensations – holding them in a certain way, a glowing tip, blowing smoke, etc.