Electronic Cigarettes, what's in a name?
There have been many articles in the press recently with regards to banning electronic cigarettes in public places. Many people including the British Medical Association want to see electronic cigarettes included in the UK smoking ban. The UK smoking ban currently includes cigarettes, pipes, shisha and hookah, cigars and herbal cigarettes. Under this ban, smoking is referred to as tobacco and other substances in a lit form which are capable of being smoked. Electronic cigarettes do not contain tobacco and are not lit, so are not included in the ban. However, there are just as many people who oppose including electronic cigarettes in the UK smoking ban including the Royal College of Physicians who believe that e-cigarettes could lead to significant falls in the prevalence of smoking, prevent many deaths and episodes of serious illness. Electronic cigarettes, although similar in appearance to tobacco cigarettes have many positive differences. Tobacco cigarettes have been proven to contain over 4000 dangerous and cancer-causing chemicals, electronic cigarettes contain just 5 ingredients, all of which have been used in every day products for over 50 years making them a healthier alternative. With electronic cigarettes there is no burning tobacco so no nasty, lingering smell clinging to your hair and clothes. Electronic cigarettes are available with varying nicotine levels allowing you to control your nicotine intake. These are just some of the many positive points about electronic cigarettes. So it does make you wonder given the many positives, if the problem is in fact the name of the product. Would there still be calls for bans and regulations if the product name didn't contain the word cigarette? There is one product that's been on the market for quite a while that is similar to an electronic cigarette, the Nicotine Inhaler. The nicotine inhaler is a plastic tube that is roughly shaped like a cigarette. Nicotine inhalers contain a cartridge that, when used constantly for around 20 minutes provide around the same amount of nicotine as two cigarettes. Nicotine from the inhaler is absorbed through the cheeks rather than the lungs. This nicotine replacement therapy product is available to buy over the counter (no prescription required) and can be used in any public place. The nicotine inhaler is basically a non electronic version of an electronic cigarette. A quick google of 'ban nicotine inhalers' returned no results, instead the results were all focused on banning electronic cigarettes. Due to the similarities between electronic cigarettes and nicotine inhalers, it would seem to indicate that the issue is related to the name. Unfortunately, with the current surge in popularity, it's a little too late to change the name so it's down to the many electronic cigarette suppliers and associations to attempt to re-educate those calling for bans, and hopefully halt any such action until the products have been regulated in 2016.