Is It Time to Ban the Electronic Cigarette?

by Christina Toomey on March 25, 2014


Smoking cigarettes has been the cause of around 6 million premature deaths each year. The health risks of smoking tobacco are associated with the tar, chemicals and other substances that are added to the cigarettes, rather than the addictive nicotine that most people associate with health disturbances. Since the addition of the electronic cigarette, which only uses nicotine and avoids tobacco smoke, many individuals believe that this product is a healthy alternative.

Within the United States, the electronic cigarette industry has grown to around 2 billion dollars. Since e-cigarettes seem to avoid traditional health concerns about smoking and are creating large revenue for the US, officials have avoided making restrictions on the e-cigarette. This idea had not alarmed many individuals until recently as the European Parliament created rules that would limit the usage of these cigarettes. Among these rules included the banned advertisement of this product, childproof packaging that includes safety warnings and a limitation of 20 milligrams of nicotine that is added to item. In response to these regulations of the e-cigarette, the US decided to declare some of their own rules. Some of these included restrictions on using cartoon characters in advertisements, having celebrity spokespeople and having flavored cigarettes. These rules have been described as barely scratching the surface since they not only do not mention any rules on safety, but they also do not regulate the nicotine amounts that go into the product. Reactions to these “rules” have been very unfavorable and many have called upon the Food and Drug Administration to stop lagging behind and create some formal regulations.

Public health experts are also very alarmed with the lack of action the FDA is showing since they greatly desire a set of rules and also want to conduct clinical trials on the safety of the contents in e-cigarettes. Although the e-cigarette is described to be the safe alternative to regular tobacco cigarettes, health officials cannot guarantee any health outcomes because they do not know the long-term effects of this technology. Scientists are also concerned because they do not know the effects this product could have on individuals who are around this product but are not using it themselves. Other issues that seem to be brought up include not helping individuals to quit smoking but just giving them an alternative, and glamorizing smoking to younger audiences. Since the 1960’s the trends in smoking for adults has been decreasing from around 42% to around 19% in 2011. With the addition of this new product, officials are worried that this trend could begin to increase once again since health effects are no longer a concern and the new e-cigarette looks highly appealing.

Since individuals are face with two very different sides to this issue, it leaves many wondering whether or not this can truly be a safe alternative. The media portrays this technology as a cool, attractive and beneficial alternative for individuals who are concerned with quitting. On the other hand, public health professionals and health care workers are very cautious about this product. The unknown consequences as well as the high concentrations of nicotine that are used within the cigarette are something that consumers should be aware of and concerned about.


  1. “Time to Stub Out Misguided E-cigarette Regulation, Experts Say.” Science Daily. Sage Publications, 04 Feb 2014. Web. 1 Mar 2014.
  2. Gray, Eliza. “Europe Sets New Rules for E-cigs While the U.S. Drags it’s Feet.” Time U.S.. N.p., 27 Feb 2014. Web. 1 Mar 2014. <>.
  3. “Smoking and Tobacco Use.” Center of Disease Controls and Prevention. N.p., 14 Nov 2013. Web. 1 Mar 2014. <>.
  4. Fenner, James. E-Cigarettes Versus Nicotine Patches: Study Compares Efficacy . 2013. Photograph. Liberty VoiceWeb. 25 Mar 2014. .

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