Government should not ban sales of e-cigarettes

Over the past couple of weeks, new studies analyzing the implications of e-cigarettes have been popping up. The Economist reported that the tobacco industry is wrestling with this new alternative. E-cigarettes serve as a great option for smokers looking to kick the habit and do less harm to the environment. The Food and Drug Administration should not ban this alternative for smokers. An e-cigarette is a battery-operated nicotine inhaler that contains a rechargeable battery, a cartridge and an LED light that glows to indicate the burn of tobacco. They are, in essence, miniature vaporizers; a heating element boils liquid until it creates a vapor.

Though invented in the 1960s, e-cigarettes really began to spark public interest about a decade ago. The Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association estimates about 4 million Americans currently use e-cigarettes.

Primarily, e-cigarettes have proven just as effective as the nicotine patch, if not more. A study presented at the European Respiratory Society demonstrated that smokers using the patch “[abstained] from smoking in equal proportions after 6 months.” In comparison to the 21 milligrams of nicotine found in the patch, the e-cigarette contains slightly less at 16 milligrams.

Critics argue that the e-cigarette contains a high concentration of nicotine when compared to the average cigarette, which contains about 1.5 milligrams, but the smoker does not smoke the e-cigarette as regularly as the cigarette. Since the e-cigarette mimics the action of smoking a regular cigarette, the device can wean the smoker off consistent smoking more than a nicotine patch could, according to USA Today.

Yes, nicotine dependence is still involved in the process, but as Dr. Chris Bullen says in an article from Medscape Medical News, “At least it is better than having the person continue to smoke.” ProSmoke, an e-cigarette brand, says that smokers need high levels of nicotine to help them quit, otherwise their bodies react to a drastic nicotine level drop.

ABC News states that researchers also found a significantly low number of toxins in e-cigarettes. The FDA reported nine contaminants in e-cigarettes, as opposed to the 1,000 found in traditional cigarettes.

Furthermore, encouraging the use of e-cigarettes as opposed to regular cigarettes prevents innocent bystanders from inhaling dangerous fumes. The vapor from e-cigarettes is not the same as secondhand smoke.

Only a handful of states have excercised limitations on e-cigarette usage, but others are starting to jump on the regulatory bandwagon. The FDA should not ban the sale of e-cigarettes because of their proven benefits, but if the FDA is going to regulate the sale of e-cigarettes at all, there should be an age restriction to prevent minors from abusing the product.

Since the dawn of the e-cigarette craze, minors have picked up the habit as a trend, rather than a cure for cigarette addiction.

Advertisements should not glamorize the product as a fun toy with different flavors. Ads should strictly promote the product as a mechanism to quit smoking, and companies should limit the variety of e-cigarette flavors. The more flavors e-cigarette companies promote, the more likely it is for smoking to become a leisurely way to inhale flavored tobacco.

Reducing e-cigarette regulations would also help promote sales of this alternative to regular tobacco. Restricting sales ultimately harm those looking to end a nasty habit and aid the tobacco industry.

In the end, this innovation could be one of the few things that help smokers break a life-threatening habit.


Hallie Roth is a sophomore majoring in policy, planning and development.

Follow us on Twitter @dailytrojan

7 replies
  1. SOS
    SOS says:

    Many states refused to revise age restrictions for vaping, preferring instead to demonize for sin tax gains. They then rushed to the FDA to push them into deeming them as tobacco products, pleaded to have them regulated as hard as cigarettes, so they can start collecting their excessive taxes.
    Big Pharma is coaching towns how to ban them.

    Cigarette sales have plummeted. ECigs sales have sky rocketed. Do the math.

  2. Ras
    Ras says:

    I recently bought some flatware and the forks and knives did not come with any warning that stabbing myself in the eyes with these utensils can cause harm. Why isn’t the govt on that! Don’t they know they must continue to grow in size so they can continue to treat citizens like idiots and save them from themselves by over regulating every single decision we can or may make in our lives? I want to lower the bar on what we consider a reasonably intelligent citizen and have every product on the store shelves to come with millions of dollars worth of studies, warnings and disclaimers.

  3. John Q. Public
    John Q. Public says:

    “Reducing e-cigarette regulations would also help promote sales of this alternative to regular tobacco. Restricting sales ultimately harm those looking to end a nasty habit and aid the tobacco industry.”

    I’m not sure that a product that allows you to freebase nicotine is properly called a tool for reducing a tobacco habit. After all, it’s the nicotine that’s addictive in the first place. With nearly no studies done on the health effects of e-cigs and barely any regulation on the Chinese-made cartridges, I’d think twice before advocating for a potentially-dangerous method of drug consumption.

    • James Donnelly
      James Donnelly says:

      The certainty that ecigarettes shouldn’t be utilized due to a “lack of studies” is alarming. There are issues to be studied; but to deny another method that smokers can utilize to rid themselves of cigarettes would be foolish. Life isn’t about the elimination of risk—it’s about the reduction of risk.

      The question is whether electronic cigarettes are more safe than their “physical” counterparts: the answer is a very strong ‘yes’.

    • Jeff Hundley
      Jeff Hundley says:

      E-cigarettes have saved my life. I smoked at least two packs of non filter cigarettes everyday for 36 years, from the age of 16 to the age of 52. My health was in decline, and breathing freely was getting harder each day. I tried to quit using various methods including cold turkey, nicotine patches, nicotine gum, nicotine inhalers and even hypnotism. Nothing worked until I tried e-cigarettes last October. I have stayed away from regular cigarettes for almost a year now, with no withdrawal symptoms. I no longer have the phlegm and lung congestion that had developed over the years. My smokers cough is gone completely. I can run and exercise without getting out of breath. I can smell a smoker from twenty feet away now, and it stinks. I’m ashamed to have subjected family, friends and strangers to that smell for so many years. I have gone from the highest nicotine level that is available from e-cig manufacturers, to the lowest. My next step is the 0 nicotine content vapor, and then to quit completely. This is my real life study of the health effects of E Cigarettes, and the only one that counts for me.

      Almost one year, and I cannot even entertain the idea of going back to tobacco products. See, that’s the thing. These are not tobacco products. Nicotine is the main addictive ingredient in tobacco, but also occurs naturally in many plants and foods. Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is also known as Nicotinic Acid and nicotinamide.

      As for the sweet flavored liquids let me say that at the age of 53 I still like candy, cake, ice cream and a host of other flavors that you suggested were only enjoyed by children. These flavors are marketed towards taste buds that we all have, young and old alike. Are Ecigs advertised in teen magazines or alongside Saturday morning cartoons. No, of course not. I personally think that they should not be advertised on TV or in print ads except in the case of adult oriented shows and publications, and I’m not talking about porn either. I think when other smokers see the success of their vaping friends then the product speaks for itself. I think that official age restrictions are a good idea too, but all of the retailers that I know of already have voluntarily put these in place anyway.

      Don’t ruin this for everybody else just because somebody didn’t raise their children correctly. Shifting blame away from oneself is an epidemic in this day and age. The blame goes to the parents for not instilling lasting values in their children, and then to the children who do what they know they shouldn’t do, and then to those unscrupulous enough to buy this product for minors, and then to those unscrupulous enough to sell to minors, and then to marketers who would market to teenagers. Do not blame manufacturers who make flavors that EVERYBODY loves. I’m 53 and I love sweet flavors. Don’t take away what I love because people won’t control their kids.
      Make laws prohibiting use of, and sale to minors, and make examples out of those who break those laws, but don’t take it away from adults. Minors apparently need a full time nanny, but adults do not.

      I only buy all of my liquids and cartridges from American manufacturers. I agree with not buying Chinese made liquids or cartridges. I personally do not purchase anything that I know has some Chinese connection. We’ve had lead paint in children’s toys, poisoned drywall, poisoned pet treats, and SARS that have all come out of China, so forgive me if I’m leery of Chinese products.

    • ArcherB
      ArcherB says:

      “…Nearly no studies done”? Do you know the difference between the nicotine that is in patches, gum and lozenges and the nicotine in e-cigarettes? Do you have any idea how long all those other nicotine replacement therapies have been studied? How many millions have to die while the FDA spends another 30 years studying something that has already been studied for 30 years, just so you can be satisfied that it is OK for OTHERS to use a product that you have no interest in using?

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