Standing in support of modern cigarettes, better known as electronic cigarettes, a group of 53 leading scientists from across the world has warned the World Health Organization (WHO) not to categorise e-cigs as tobacco products, claiming it to be the solution to the smoking problem.
According to the scientists from Europe, North America, Asia and Australia, putting electronic cigarettes under the tobacco category would jeopardize a major opportunity to slash disease and deaths caused by smoking.
The scientists have written an open letter to WHO Director General Margaret Chan arguing that low-risk products like e-cigarettes were ‘part of the solution’ in the fight against smoking. They should not be considered as part of the problem, the scientists stressed.
“These products could be among the most significant health innovations of the 21st century – perhaps saving hundreds of millions of lives. The urge to control and suppress them as tobacco products should be resisted,” the scientists wrote in the letter.
A leaked WHO reports has suggested that the health agency views e-cigarettes as a ‘threat’ and wants them to be classified under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in the same way as regular tobacco products are done.
In April, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided to regulate the use of electronic cigarettes among minors by banning them, besides making approval for new products and health warning labels mandatory.
Apart from this, the federal body had also proposed extending its authority to regulate cigars, hookah, nicotine gels, pipe tobacco and dissolvable tobacco products.
How far your E-cigarettes safe?
How far these e-cigarettes healthy are a matter that needs to be addressed. There’s a little research on how safe they are and their efficiency on kicking the smoking habit is also doubtable.
A survey says more people are giving e-cigarettes a try every day. About one in five adult cigarette smokers in the US had tried electronic cigarettes in 2011, nearly twice as many as in 2010. Sales reached nearly USD 500 million in 2012 and are expected to double to USD 1 billion this year. An estimated 43.8 million people, or 19 percent of adults, in the United States smoke cigarettes.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., accounting for more than 440,000 deaths annually.
About 6% of all US adults and 21% of adult smokers said they tried them in 2011, double the 2010 rate, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also found six in 10 were aware of them in 2011, up from four in 10 a year earlier.
What is E-Cigarette?
Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are a smoke-free alternative to the traditional paper cigarette. It is comprised of a liquid cartridge attached to a white cylinder containing a battery. The liquid is a mixture of propylene glycol (a common chemical used in many in food products), vegetable glycerin, flavoring and nicotine. The battery heats the liquid into a vapor that the user inhales. Instead of the tradition term ‘smoking’, having e-cigarettes is called “vaping.”
E- cigarettes range from around USD 10 to as much as USD 70 depending upon the manufacturers. Although prices of the complete set of electronic cigarettes vary, pre-filled liquid cartridges usually cost a few dollars. These cartridges usually last about as long as a pack of regular cigarettes. Flavoured e-liquid are also available for the vaping lovers at a price ranging from a few dollars to more than USD 10 depending on size.