Though e-cigarettes have emerged only recently, there have rapidly achieved great popularity and distribution. This is mainly due to a pressing need to tackle extensive tobacco use, which, being the single most preventable cause of disease, has disastrous consequences both for smokers and people exposed to second-hand smoke (NCCDPHP, 2011). Though experts and tobacco addicts acclaim the positive effects of the use of e-cigarettes rather than conventional ones, there is a growing concern in relation to their promotion.
Before the e-cigarettes appeared, the smokers were suggested to choose between quit or die perspectives. Though the harmful effect of tobacco use was proven by numerous researchers, many people did not find enough will or intention to do so or did not consider that the required losses and efforts would be justified. Therefore, e-cigarettes can aid the smokers in the two ways. First, producing a health risk 20 times lower than smoking and having no negative effects on bystanders, they can reduce the risks of smoking without elimination of sensual and ritual aspects, which are much appreciated by some people. Second, they can help people to quit smoking. The research suggests that it is 60% more effective than the use of willpower alone or the use of nicotine replacement therapies (Bates, 2015).
In the same time, there is a growing concern that promotion and wide public use of e-cigarettes may lead non-smokers to nicotine addiction. There is still not much evidence proving that e-cigarettes do not serve as gateways to smoking. Critics particularly point out that e-cigarettes use is still smoking, therefore, it may promote such practice among the uninitiated young people (Associated Press, 2010). The public acclaim of electronic cigarettes, as well as promotion of the manufacturers may also make some believe that vaping is harmless and completely safe, not simply better and less harmful than conventional smoking. Nevertheless, recent studies found many carcinogenic chemicals in the e-cigarettes and assert that vaporing can damage the developing lungs of youth (Tarantola, 2014).
To conclude, though e-cigarettes can promote public health reducing health risk and helping smokers to quit, its potential as a gateway to smoking has not been adequately researched yet.
Associated Press (2010). E-cigarettes: Fresh air or smoke and mirrors? The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://shift-files.s3.amazonaws.com/5637d2b283611d6d46c6a575/5637d2b783611d6d46c6a57d/2A_-_E-cigarettes_-_fresh_air_or_smoke_and_mirrors.pdf
Bates, C. (2015). E-cigarettes, vaping and public health: A summary for policy makers. Retrieved from http://www.clivebates.com/documents/vapebriefing.pdf
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (2011). Tobacco use: Targeting the nation’s leading killer. Retrieved from https://shift-files.s3.amazonaws.com/5637d2b283611d6d46c6a575/5637d2b783611d6d46c6a580/Tobacco_Use_a_Preventable_Death.pdf