If you have been reading the news lately, e-cigarettes have been getting a bad rep. They’re not just ugly, tacky, and overpriced say critics, but they are also dangerous. On the other side of the coin, advocates say e-cigarettes are healthier, cheaper, and more social than traditional cigarettes.

But supporters of e-cigs are slowly losing a battle against the critics who are backed by the media, which seems intent on publishing any story about a house fire, explosion, or poisoning case that involves an electronic cigarette.

When electronic cigarettes first appeared a little over a decade ago there were very few people who criticized them. For all intents and purposes, they were an alternative to tobacco, which itself was demonized by the Government and media a little over a decade ago. They were a way for smokers to smoke without any of the nasty side effects. In fact, one advocate said, “The [e-cigarette] market is producing, at no cost to the taxpayer, an emerging triumph of public health”.

So what changed?

A decade on, we’ve got ourselves in a big huff about smoking. It’s dirty and dangerous say critics which are something I can personally agree on. But, nobody has the right to tell somebody else what they can and can’t do – smokers can smoke if they like, and they will, even though the Government has banned indoor smoking and made it as difficult as possible for a human being to sneak out of the office and have a crafty cigarette without somebody looking down their nose.

The thing is, electronic cigarettes are neither dirty or dangerous. They are incredibly simple in their design and the only components that can cause a health risk are the cartomizer (if you swallow the liquid inside) and the battery (if it isn’t charged or stored properly). E-cigs don’t smell, they aren’t passive, and they will not burn holes in carpets.

So what’s the truth about electronic cigarette health?

This – electronic cigarettes are far, far more healthy than traditional cigarettes and they do not have any of the drawbacks of a cigarette, such as harmful chemicals and toxins. The only thing inhaled by the user is nicotine and water vapor and the only thing that comes out of their mouth is the water vapor – this means they are not passive and yes, that means they aren’t harmful to children.

The biggest challenge e-cigarette advocates face over the next 12 months is to show that e-cigarettes do not entice younger people to start smoking. This is the biggest concern the Government wants to address and it is the biggest dilemma for health regulators. E-cigs are already banned for under-18s, but the non-harmful nature of e-cigs means that younger children may be more tempted to try it.

Whatever the case, for the time being at least, e-cigs are something we can enjoy.

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