E-cigarette sales have exploded, from 500-million dollars in 2012 to an estimated one-and-a-half billion dollars in 2013. With that kind of money up for grabs, Big Tobacco has created its own brands of
e-cigarettes and is spending big bucks on commercials.
Consumer Reports has been watching this new product closely.
Jenny McCarthy is the celebrity spokesperson for the leading
“I get to have a Blu without the guilt, because there’s only vapor, not tobacco smoke!”
The commercials promote e-cigarettes as a better alternative to smoking. But just what’s in them?
“E-cigarettes hold a replaceable cartridge that contains nicotine, solvents, and flavorings. When that’s heated up by the battery, it atomizes the solution and creates an inhalable vapor.” said Kopf.
Many people have turned to e-cigarettes to help kick their smoking habit.
“I liked it right away. It had a flavor. It was a low-nicotine. From the day I started using it, I did not smoke another cigarette. It worked, it took away that oral thing, and there’s no smell, there’s no matches, there’s no smell in your hair, your clothes, your car.” Said Nina Weinberg-Doran, an e-cigarette user.
While some e-cigarette users actually do quit smoking cigarettes, the numbers are low. In a study conducted last fall, only about seven percent had stopped after six months.
And are e-cigarettes really safe?
“Like in the early days of tobacco cigarettes, it’s just not clear yet what the long-term effects of using these products are going to be.” said Kopf.
Another concern — many come in enticing flavors with names like Peach Schnapps, Cherry Crush, and Vivid Vanilla. And since
e-cigarettes do contain nicotine, they may lead young people to step up to cigarette smoking.
“Our advice is don’t start with e-cigarettes just for fun. And if you’re trying to quit smoking, stick with approved and better-studied methods, like nicotine gum, patches, and counseling.” said Kopf.
The Food and Drug Administration is in the process of trying to regulate e-cigarettes. In the meantime, some states and cities have banned e-cigarettes in public places where tobacco smoking is also prohibited.