Electronic cigarettes are not healthy or safe. Anything that you inhale is probably not good for you….except for air…..except air in any major city in the world.
But lets compare the electronic cigarette to tobacco cigarettes. The tar, arsenic, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen cyanide in tobacco smoke is produced via combustion. The electronic cigarette produces vapor, not smoke. There have been some TSNAs (tobacco specific nitrosamines) found in some electronic cigarette liquid, but these are present in much greater quantities in tobacco cigarettes and are even found in low levels in FDA approved NRTs such as nicotine gum and the patch. More testing is needed to determine if TSNAs are actually present in the e-cigarette vapor, which is important as this is actually the method of intake, not the eliquid.
So is the electronic cigarette healthier than tobacco cigarettes? We can’t say yet without further testing. But consumers should have all the information and ask themselves questions like; if my cigarettes didn’t have tar, arsenic, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen cyanide would I rather smoke them? I think consumers can make this determination for themselves.
The problem with making specific claims about cigarettes or tobacco of any kind is two fold. First, it can give the impression that tobacco and specifically smoking, is in any way healthy, which it is not. Even relative marketing statements such as “healthier” and “safer” can give the idea that the e-cigarette is some how good for you, which it is not. Smoking is bad for you.
The second issue with making health or safety claims is that this gives the FDA a position to attempt to take the e-cigarette out of the hands of the long term smokers who use the electronic cigarette. Before you can make a health claim (or smoking cessation claim), you must have FDA approval. This means doing the testing they require and writing them a rather large check.
So it is important that marketers of the electronic cigarette walk that fine line of convincing long time, dedicated smokers to try an electronic cigarette and making claims that may lead them to believe that smoking is good, healthy, or safe in some way.
So what is our position at INSTEAD? We don’t consider the electronic cigarette a quit smoking device, as it is still “smoking” in effect. We also do not promote the e-cigarette as healthy because it is not healthy. We just think that of age people who choose the legal action of smoking should have the choice to smoke the electronic cigarette, which we believe has distinct advantages over traditional smoking. We do not make the determination of whether or not this is healthier for any particular smoker. We sell to adults and they can make that decision for themselves.