Thursday, July 25, 2013

E-cigarettes : Friend or Foe?

WAMC News Radio
Dave Lucas
July 25, 2013

A decade after Clear Indoor Air Act severely limited indoor smoking in New York, the focus has turned to e-cigarettes —  battery-powered devices that deliver measured doses of vapor to the "smoker" when inhaled.

Sales of e-cigarettes are rising amid a big push by tobacco companies: Marketwatch is reporting that America's number three cigarette-maker Lorillard, which acquired an e-cigarette brand last year, saw blu eCigs boost the company's second-quarter profits by 10 percent.

But there's debate as to whether the devices are harmful or helpful.

Elaine Keller is the president of   CASAA, Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association, a non-profit clearinghouse for information about alternatives to smoking.

"The main virtue of electonic cigarettes is the fact that so many smokers have found it to be an acceptable substitute for sucking smoke into their lungs from burning cigarettes. There's a growing body of evidence that shows that it can be very useful for that purpose," Keller said.

"Then you have the other effects of the fact that people who are using an e-cigarette are not throwing cigarette butts down on the ground, so there's less litter. Since nothing is set on fire, the fire hazard is reduced greatly, as well. There's also no second-hand smoke. Vapor is not smoke. Vapor doesn't contain the in it the chemicals that cause the lung disease and cancer and cardiovascular disease that's associated with smoking. It may or may not contain nicotine, but nicotine does not cause these diseases - it's the other elements in the smoke," she said.

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