Electronic cigarettes are tobacco free, allow smokers to smoke when and where they wish to and at the same time allow them to avoid the health hazard commonly associated with regular cigarettes. Manufacturers claim that they are also more environment friendly and cheaper. Many people use it to break their addiction to regular cigarettes. Major part of the experience of an electronic cigarette like the flame, smoke, ash etc. is only a simulation of a real cigarette. The only real thing is the release of nicotine in doses which can be chosen by the smoker. No in depth studies have been done as to the safety or otherwise of inhaling nicotine vapours.
From a humble beginning in 2003 when it had less than one percent of the share of the cigarette market, the electronic cigarette has shown a growth of over 100% each year. While the US has the maximum number of users, UK is close to touching the one million mark soon. What is unclear is whether electronic cigarettes are a fast selling, new product having its own niche or is it just a passing fad.
While many substitutes for smoking have been introduced in the past, each and every one has met a slow but sure death. However electronic cigarettes seem to have been able to withstand the test of time and have moved from strength to strength. This success can be assigned to the fact that they replicate the entire smoking experience from the handling of the pack, picking a cigarette, putting it to lips and taking in a deep comforting breath. Thus smokers not only gain similar physical satisfaction, but are also emotionally satisfied with the electronic cigarette. The foul smelling smoke is no longer an irritant as electronic cigarettes have an acceptable aroma.
The way electronic cigarettes are marketed is, however, a cause of concern. The Electronic cigarettes contain nicotine which itself is harmful. The safety of second hand nicotine vapours has not been well assessed. Electronic cigarettes attract many minors. While minors are not specifically targeted, the flavours like strawberry, caramel and chocolate are certainly attractive to children. No proof of age is required to purchase them and the easy availability online make them easily accessible to children. The refusal of Facebook and Google to advertise these products arouse apprehensions about their safety.