I was in our local Mall the other day and ran into an electronic cigarette kiosk. Curiosity killed the cat as the old saying goes, so I stopped in to hear what the salesperson had to say.
The first thing that caught my attention was the claim that one could quit smoking with the electronic cigarette. Throughout the two plus years we have been blogging about the e-cig, we have hashed this one out over and over. There is no scientific proof that the electronic cigarette helps the user quit smoking. Also, the action of smoking is still there and can you really quit an action if you are still participating in that action? While you might be eliminating the effects of combustion by switching to a vaporizer, you are still getting nicotine and according to the Center for Disease Control, nicotine addiction is the disease, not necessarily smoking. We understand why the pharmaceutical companies and the “public health” organizations (who get their money from the pharmaceutical companies), want to call it a quit smoking device….so they can be the only ones to sell it. What we don’t understand is why e-cigarette suppliers want to make the quit smoking claim just to try and sell a few more kits while misleading the public and putting our entire industry at risk. We believe it is a smoking alternative, pure and simple.
The second claim I heard was that the electronic cigarette is the healthier way to smoke. While we firmly believe vaporization is superior to combustion for a whole host of reasons, there are currently no clinical studies on the long term effects of electronic cigarette vapor. You may read from other dedicated e-Smokers that they see huge differences in their own health, but there is still no evidence of what the long term effects might actually be.
Another statement that jumped out was the ingredients that are claimed to be in this particular brands liquids; nicotine and water. This is not true…..or at least not completely true. Pure water needs a much higher temperature in order to vaporize so the base of all current e-liquids is either propylene glycol or glycerin or a combination of both. Propylene glycol is used widespread through many products currently on the market and the closest comparison would be for inhalation medicines like asthma inhalers. The idea that we are simply blowing out water vapor is untrue. What was interesting is that this company referenced Dr. Laugesen’s original study on the electronic cigarette vapor, yet missed the important fact that the vapor is not just water.
While wandering around the kiosk taking in all of the information, I ran across a handout compiled by the company to appear as a report from the FDA. According to the wording on this flyer, the FDA proved through recent testing that the e-Liquid was in fact 1400 times safer than tobacco cigarettes. This is not true. It is also not true that they determined e-cigarettes to be dangerous. In fact, the FDA testing was so poorly done it is hard to draw any relevant conclusions.
When it was all said and done, it was apparent the salesman was regurgitating what he had been told to say. For instance, he was completely unaware of the fact that ecigs have been in the US for almost three years now (he told me 4 months!). He also mentioned all other brands were knock-offs. Also not true. There may be many brands available, but very few have been on the market as long as the INSTEAD Electronic Cigarette (Established 2007).
I will give this kiosk one thing; Instead of putting kits, liquids and cartridges out on the kiosk counter, the only thing within reach were videos and flyers. All product was kept in locked drawers that consumers could not see into. The one sample was in a locked glass case directly in front of the cash register where the salesperson sat. If a supplier is going to go the kiosk route, this is the way to go. It makes it impossible for those young teen hands from grabbing stock and running.
We wrote this blog post not to discredit any particular company or method of sales, but rather to battle some of the misinformation being presented to the public. These falsities mislead consumers, misrepresent the industry, and give electronic cigarette opponents more ammo to recklessly shoot.