E-cigs may provide healthier option

By Luke Sullivan | Staff Writer

In this day and age it seems as if cigarette use amongst teens is decreasing. Overall tobacco use among middle and high school students last year — 6.7 percent and 23.3 percent, respectively — was about one percentage point lower than in 2011, mostly due to a decline in teens smoking cigarettes, according to the CDC’s analysis of the 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey. Reasons for the decline include the reputation, smell, health problems and even the cost, but there may be another reason.

In the last few years electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs for short, have been increasing in use and popularity. An electronic cigarette is a portable, handheld device that works as a pseudo cigarette. It works by using its battery to heat up flavored liquid in its tank, which  emits a vapor from the mouthpiece that users can inhale. The liquid may or may not contain nicotine, depending on the user’s preference. There has been no official ruling on the danger of the liquid used by electronic cigarettes.

Not only are teens jumping to e-cigs, but long-time cigarette smokers also are now using e-cigs as a safer alternative to smoking tobacco.

“I started smoking cigarettes when I was 13 and have smoked all my life,” a Pearce mom said. “Electronic cigarettes help me control my cravings for a cigarette. I really enjoy the taste, and it works as a good alternative for me, not to mention its convenience.”

Electronic cigarettes are prohibited by RISD and scientific opinions have been mixed regarding their safety. Doubters believe they will plague this generation just as cigarettes have plagued previous generous. Some believe that they will ultimately increase tobacco use. Without condoning their use, it can be said that e-cigarettes seem to produce more good than bad due to a possible role in preventing tobacco use.

Categories: Opinion

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