E-cigarettes have made quite a splash; companies are raking in the millions, A-list celebrities are openly sporting the nifty invention and various health professionals deem it the ‘healthier’ option when it comes to smoking. One brave professor even crowned it ‘the greatest health advance since vaccines’. So what is all the fuss about? In terms of health, it is supposedly better than the traditional paper cigarettes due to omission of the harmful substance- tobacco. Yes, there is still the nicotine, so yes smokers continue to receive their desired ‘hit’. However, the nicotine levels can be bought at varying levels so you control how much you take. Fortunately, the ‘highest’ nicotine versions still harbour a significantly small amount when compared to the conventional cigarettes. You can even purchase zero nicotine versions. Theoretically, these make electronic cigarettes perfect for smokers trying to quit as they can gradually reduce nicotine down to zero. Health-wise, they seem to trump the popular Marlboros…

Electronic cigarettes promise to work out cheaper in the long run, as one e-cigarette can last as long as twenty. They can be utilised indoors, including public places (although it’s still probably better to ask first), meaning no more standing out in the freezing cold whether Britain never fails to deliver. A smell does not cling to your hair or clothes and the little invention can be tucked away in your purse or pocket, allowing an overdue reduction in those ugly cigarette butts that are always decorating our pavements.

Unfortunately, electronic cigarettes aren’t without their problems. Whilst they can provide benefits for the individual smoker, they can be quite harmful to society. Stalls selling electronic cigarettes can be seen all around the UK in shopping centres. They are nearly always shrouded with huge signs promoting deals, the cigarettes are normally shown in their stylish varieties (red, black, pink) and there is always a sales person lurking about, ready to pounce on interested smokers. So what is the problem? This is normalising electronic cigarettes and even glamorising it. You would rarely see this occur with traditional cigarettes; we have ‘smoking kills’ plastered on every packet. Sure, maybe electronic cigarettes are ‘safer’ and ‘healthier’ for non-smokers, but this does not exonerate them from the fact that they do contain nicotine and various chemicals and should not be made to look enticing for the healthy person or the smoker.

Using e-cigarettes could really impinge upon society in a negative fashion. If people are seen to use them in public, particularly within social situations, further normalisation will take place. The inconspicuous nature of the electronic cigarette could also sway young people into taking up the habit. The lack of smell and the discreet ability to tuck it away in your pocket provides an opportunity to try something harmful with a much smaller chance of being caught by parents or figures of authority. At the end of the day, it needs to be remembered that although these electronic cigarettes may be considered ‘healthier’ for smokers, they are certainly not a good option for non-smokers. Electronic cigarettes certainly provide a convenient way for smokers to quit, however, if you do choose to begin using electronic cigarettes, it’s important to bear in mind the impact they can have.

Serena Gainda


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