An electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, is a battery-operated device that simulates tobacco smoking. It is designed to look like regular tobacco cigarettes and releases vapor that resembles cigarette smoke instead of the medically proven hazards and dangerous chemicals found in cigarettes. E-cigarettes use a heating element that vaporizes liquid solutions some which contain nicotine with varied flavors.
There is still an on-going debate whether e-cigarettes are safe. E-cigarette advocates argue that the device is the perfect and safer alternative to smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes, while its defectors believe e-cigarettes pose similar dangers to its users. E-cigarettes are currently not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, which emboldens its defectors to categorically state that its risks and benefits are still uncertain. They fear that an unregulated e-cigarette industry may put users to unknown and unnecessary risks such as high levels of nicotine addiction and various forms of diseases.
E-Cigarettes: A History
The earliest record of e-cigarettes can be traced way back in 1963. Herbert A. Gilbert patented a device that heated a nicotine solution and produced steam. Gilbert described the device as “a smokeless non-tobacco cigarette,” showing precisely that it was tobacco-free. In 1967, four years after Gilbert’s patent, there were a number of companies that approached Gilbert and thought about manufacturing it. However, the would-be first e-cigarette was never mass-produced or commercialized. No record was found after that year.
E-cigarettes contemporary history is credited to Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist after inventing the first generation e-cigarette in 2003. After his father died of lung cancer due to smoking, he tried to quit smoking. He told Agence France-Press (AFP) that he used to put on nicotine patches that gave him nightmares. Ironically, it was during these nightmares that Hon hit a breakthrough.
According to the AFP report, “Hon dreamed he was drowning in a sea that turned into a giant cloud of vapor and says the nightmare inspired him to create a cigarette that produced vapor instead of smoke. After scribbling the idea on a piece of paper that very night, he spent a whole year perfecting the design. In 2003 he patented the invention and presented it to his bosses at a company called Golden Dragon Holdings, who were so impressed with the idea that they changed the name of their company to Ruyan, which literally means ‘like smoke.’” After this incident, Hon’s company made him a shareholder and the rest, as they say, is now part of vaping history.
In May 2004, e-cigarettes were introduced to the Chinese market for the first time. It was marketed as a device for smoking cessation and replacement. Ruyan began exporting e-cigarettes in 2005-2006 and received its first international patent in 2007.
Overtime, e-cigarettes have evolved since Hon’s and Ruyan’s efforts. Different parts of the newer versions of e-cigarettes were patented since the 2004 invention.
What is the typical e-cigarette look and what is it made of?
Most e-cigarettes look like real traditional tobacco cigarettes. Majority of them are cylindrical in shape although these days their shape varies. An e-cigarette is usually comprised of an atomizer, a battery, and a liquid delivery or container system more known today as a cartridge. There are e-cigarette variations that are also disposable.
E-cigarette components in detail
The Atomizer acts as the central component of e-cigarettes. It is made up of a small heating element (usually a coil) that vaporizes e-liquid. The atomizer also has a wicking component that brings the said liquid in. The wicking materials usually vary from one atomizer to the next, but they are one of the most important features that make atomizers work.
The atomizer also comes in hybrid form in which case it does not stand alone. There are what vapers (the colloquial of e-cigarette smokers) call cartomizers. These are e-cigarette components that combine both its cartridge and atomizer (hence, the word cartomizer). They are generally refillable and can be used on their own if the case needs be.
E-cigarettes and starter kits usually come with a rechargeable battery. It is usually the biggest physical component of e-cigarettes. It activates e-cigarettes when puffed and you are reminded that it still is charged each time a diode lights up found on the tip of the device.
E-liquid, is the liquid solution that produces vapor in e-cigarettes. It is comprised of the usual mix of propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol 400, and vegetable glycerin. These mixtures are usually combined with variant flavors and amounts of nicotine. often, it comes either in bottles or packaged in disposable cartridges.
Will e-cigarettes help you stop smoking?
Until now, experts and organizations from the medical community are still divided whether e-cigarettes can lead to smoking cessation. For one, all agree that an e-cigarette is a nicotine delivery instrument and nicotine is a remnant of traditional tobacco cigarette. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently said that the effectiveness e-cigarettes to help smokers stop smoking have not demonstrated scientific proof. The WHO is still wary about the possible side effects of e-cigarettes.
However, there are a number of studies that show e-cigarettes possible benefits. In 2011, a review showed that e-cigarettes are more likely to help smokers quit smoking. The study showed that e-cigarettes are relatively more effective than other traditional smoking cessation products. Even the American Association of Public Health Physicians suggested that those who find it difficult to quit smoking cigarettes should consider using e-cigarettes and other nicotine-based consumables other than cigarettes.
In another report, the British Medical Association (BMA) reported e-cigarettes possible smoking cessation benefits, although it had declared some concerns because e-cigarettes remain unregulated. The BMA’s report suggested a regulatory framework strong enough to ensure orderly distribution and the safety of its users. The BMA wanted to make sure that the quality of e-cigarettes is strictly monitored and should not be sold to minors.
Are e-cigarettes safe?
We mentioned earlier that e-cigarettes are nicotine-delivery apparatuses. For ill-informed non-smokers, nicotine is dangerous. Well, it is not. One review found that e-cigarettes deliver less nicotine than traditional cigarette smoking. Evidence suggests that e-cigarettes are far safer than actual cigarettes and can be considered as a viable nicotine replacement product. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show some evidence that e-cigarettes are safer than real cigarettes.
However, there are some organizations from the medical community that are worried about e-cigarettes. Like BMA, the see the lack of regulations and oversight can pose a threat and eventually a danger to the public at large. They were concerned about how e-cigarettes are manufactured, how quality is controlled, and how it is marketed. They also worry about the ease by which the devices can be modified.
The BMA, for example, noted the absence of peer reviews on the topic of e-cigarettes safety. They argued that the differences in e-cigarette devices out in the market may deliver different amounts of nicotine. One brand may provide small nicotine doses, while others may intentionally increase the nicotine delivered, thus, would also increase nicotine addiction. This concern by the BMA is one of the major reasons why they are asking for a more stringent regulatory framework to aid the e-cigarette industry.
Popularity of e-cigarettes
One of the most popular brands alone sold 1 Million units last year, this brand was V2 Cigs. Many believe that V2′s success is due to their never ending purchases with a V2 cigs coupon code. Because of the V2 cigs coupon, Many coupon codes are allowing customers to save 10-15% off all their orders. This is saving people a lot of money so they seem to be returning for the ecigs and dropping analogs completely. E-cigarettes have been experiencing dramatic rise in sales since its early days. In 2008, its highest sales record was only 50,000 units. Last year, the e-cigarette sector sold 3.5 million units. This surge led to the development of a subculture often referred to as the “vaping community.” Its members feel confident that e-cigarettes are the best alternative and replacement to traditional tobacco smoking.