E-Cigarettes: A Smoker’s Easy Way Out?

Laura Cafasso

Originally patented in China and just four years old in these United States, E-Cigarettes are a new “treatment” many smokers are trying to wean themselves off the real thing. They are electronic and operated by batteries, that are essentially vaporizers using flavored liquids to deliver smaller doses of nicotine, according to the Boston Globe.

One common idea thought by many E-Cigarette users is that they are a healthier option that regular cigarettes, and that they will prevent many illnesses that smoking causes.

But many public health organizations and tobacco control officials are claiming now that they are unregulated by the federal government and do not have policies for manufacturing or marketing. So last week, the Boston Public Health Commission voted to ban the use of these cigarette alternatives in the work environment, and also other zones where smoking is banned. Also, now minors cannot buy these electronic cigarettes.

According to the Boston Globe, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital named Dr. Paula Johnson had to say this, “This is a device that is delivering a toxic, addictive substance. We need to treat it as such.” She elaborated that although these products are still for sale for adults that can buy them, more research is “critical”, considering the long-term use of the vaporized liquid made of propylene glycol. One of the more recent studies, since there are few to none in this category, was conducted in the journal BMC Public Health. It found that out of 40 regular smokers, 55% cut their cigarette use by half in 6 months. But only 9 stopped smoking altogether.

These products may cost from $40-$100 for start up kits, in varying colors, sizes or battery lives. But these is not up for debate or even a source of tension among consumers. What has burdened many of these companies is the back lash from many top US Administrations.

For example, the Boston Globe went on to explain that last September, the US Food and Drug Administration contacted E-Cigarette distributors that they were violating federal law and that these electronic cigarettes would have to go through clinic trials before they could be sold. This would hold them back a couple of years. However, this allegation fell through earlier this year because Food and Drug lost a lawsuit against a E-Cigarette manufacturer than won because they said that they never said their product had “therapeutic benefits.”

So what does Franklin High think of smoking in society? Many agreed that teenagers experiment to look “cool”. “Teens either think it looks cool or they are imitating parental figures,” says sophomore Allyse Zajac. Jeffrey Roy, who is also a sophomore, had this to say, “I think that people smoke for social reasons and also because it’s a habit that individuals develop based on their environment. Teens particularly may smoke because they think they have to in order to be cool or “in”.”

Kelly Hanley, sophomore, had a slightly different opinion, “I think teens would do it just to try it out or to relieve stress.”Erin McGinley agrees, “I think when it comes down to it, it’s all about peer pressure. High school is filled with so much stress it’s easy to eliminate the social aspect of it by smoking.”

Kirsten Cerce, the head of FHS’s Health Department, was very vocal about how addictive cigarettes are and that they are “arguably the most addictive drug out there.” She recommends that to quit, smokers should try “Nicorette gum, Nicotine Patch, professional help, cold turkey, hypnosis. . .everyone is different and different quit methods work for different people.”

On the topic of society’s impact on teens and smoking, Ms. Cerce said “Companies market to teens and young adults because they know they are vulnerable and easy to lead on. . .teenagers are impressionable and want to do things to fit in. . .cigarette companies capitalize on this.”

So what is your opinion Franklin High on E-Cigarettes? Why do you think Smoking is so prevalent in today’s society?