The e-cigarette: by any other name, still helping smokers quit?

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ByeBye-cigs-Hello-e-cigs-225x130The e-cigarette industry is now valued at about $1.7 billion, a number more than double what it was in 2012. And accompanying this growth is the emergence of many new products, not necessarily going by the name of e-cigarettes. Rather, these electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) go by names such as personal vaporizers, e-hookahs, hookah pens or vape pens. This fact may make it increasingly difficult for public health officials to measure the use of e-cigarettes, especially among young people.

Although these products use similar technology and hardware, according to Adam Querbach, head of sales and marketing for Romman Inc. which operates several websites selling e-hookahs, e-cigarettes and hookahs, a lot of the difference is branding. But young people believe that e-cigarettes and e-hookahs are completely different products. According to the CDC, many young people would not try an e-cigarette but would have no problem trying products with different names. Those collecting such data at the CDC sat they worry that their survey asking about e-cigarette use in young people was not accurate because they only asked about e-cigarette use.

Emily Anne McDonald, an anthropologist at the University of California, San Francisco said, The lack of public education about the breadth of nicotine vapor products was creating a vacuum so that young adults are getting information from marketing and from each other. We need to understand what people are calling these before we send out large surveys.

ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross had this to say: We completely agree that it is important to try to reduce miscommunication when talking to young people about experimentation with e-cigarettes and other ENDS so that we can accurately assess who is using these products: before attempting quantification, we should try to all be using the same dictionary. Furthermore, as we have said in the past, these products should be used exclusively by addicted smokers trying to quit their deadly smoking habit, and no one else. In fact, those who are selling and marketing e-cigarettes and other ENDS should make sure that their products are only sold to those addicted smokers.

He goes on. More must be done to ensure that those addicted smokers have access to e-cigarettes so they can quit smoking, as opposed to the current trend to ban, tax or restrict their usage, since in fact studies have shown that there is nothing dangerous in e-cigarette (or whatever they re called) vapor. At the same time, we must educate the public, especially young people, so that their information regarding these devices is coming from credible sources and not just the advertisements they see or their friends.