Electronic cigarettes are making the news quite often these days. As the whole industry gains more and more notice, both for the positive attributes and negative speculation, the attention really shines a light on how popular these products have become. With millions of people using them, billions of dollars being raked in, and the tobacco industry keeping a close eye on the progress, it is a given that news is going to circulate due to the hype. Along these same lines, there is a great amount of misinformation abound, and it is rather unfortunate that such speculation, and not hard facts, can lead to a major health agency urging the community not to use products as a result.
So, with this in mind, the big news of the industry at the moment is the state of California. In specific, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced that residents of California should not use electronic cigarette products, citing that their many “toxins,” “chemicals,” and nicotine make them a health hazard. Dr. Ron Chapman, the head of the CDPH and who is responsible for this campaign, makes these statements on the behalf of the public, yet at the same time, makes declarations based on speculation (claiming that nicotine from e-cigarettes is as addictive as the nicotine from traditional cigarettes, for instance).
The problem with this is that it unfairly targets e-cigarettes as dangerous, when there is no definitive evidence to prove this. Yes, we understand the necessity for moderate and reasonable regulations, however to make a declaration that all residents avoid usage of these products that contain no tobacco, produce no smoke, tar or combustion, and very few ingredients is boldly biased.
Electronic cigarette devices are not undoing the progress the anti-smoking coalition has achieved in the past several decades, and it is a shame that the concept of tobacco-free devices continue to draw comparisons. E-cigarettes do not serve as a gateway, and nor are they really able to be compared to traditional cigarettes on the basis of what they consist of.
It is a given that anytime something becomes very popular and the trend transitions into a solidified movement that there will be negative press, however the state of California should embrace a more open view, and understand exactly how electronic cigarettes are being used.