The Ongoing Debate
We've all heard it, the two cents given on our use of an electronic cigarette device. Some input is positive and supportive, some is pessimistic and negative. Some of this negative input is thought provoking and some seems close minded. There is so much information out there and some is well researched and some is just opinion - allow me to give you a little bit of both.
One of biggest and very valid points brought into the spotlight lately is the effect of eCigs on the younger population. We have very strict rules and guidelines within the eCig industry as to how we can advertise and sell our products. Same as regular ol' cigarettes we cannot sell to minors and we have so many restrictions on how we can advertise so as to not even appeal to minors. While I totally agree with this, I think the thought process of some is a little confounded. It is the opinion of some, including the Campaign for Tobbacco-Free Kids, that non-cigarette flavored eCigs are specifically designed to glamorize eCigs and draw in young people. The Campaign for Tobbacco-Free Kids believes the only way eCigs can be successfully advertised and on the market is to be regulated by the FDA. I don't know about you, but from what I've gathered in the FDA forums and my own personal thoughts, when we adults stop smoking cigarettes, we don't want to continue to suck on tobacco leaves and dirt. Yea, sure - some people have that acquired taste and love it with their coffee, beer, or cocktail - these folks are generally in the minority. As someone choosing to cease use of traditional cigarettes, I'm looking to curb my nicotine addiction, I want to do so with whatever pleasant flavor my neighborhood shop is offering. Our hands are tied in the advertising realm with this as well. eCigs are not to be promoted as cessation devises... so isn't that kind of trapping the industry to promote the product to new users and people that just want to give it a try? aka: youngsters who will try anything once! Let's face it - the older population is typically the one that has a harder time making changes. Typically people in general won't make a change unless they are threatened to do so ie: illness. If you're anything like my extended family you can smoke your whole life and you're somehow immune to lung cancer, yet there are poor souls out there who've never first hand smoked a day in their life and they get the curse - if you're the former, why would you make a change? If as an eCig industry we were allowed to advertise as a cessation devise, we could highlight all the amazing things and the ease of making the switch, putting an end to appealing to young, non-smokers. I myself "tried to quit" for about 9 out of the 10 years I smoked. I tried everything... that's not what this post is about, but I collected a lot of the same type of testimonials during my research on the FDA open forum. They say that eCig use among minors is up, because they are appealing to youth and the ease of access, but the inverse is true of tobacco use. So essentially, the same kids who were sneaking smokes or obtaining them illegally before 2011 are now doing so with eCigs. If these "try anything once" kids are going to do one or the other, it is my opinion that eCigs are the lesser of two evils. There is still the risk of nicotine addiction, which sucks, but at least they aren't pumping all the other chemicals into their systems. That may sound close minded, but kids will be kids, right? There is hardly anything we as a society can do to curb rebellion, it's natural.
What are your thoughts? Do you think the FDA ties the hands of this growing industry? Do you think tasty treat flavors are too appealing to teens? Do you want more restrictions on tobacco products in general? Do you want less? Do you as an eCig user think we need the variety in both flavor and device?