One of the most fast growing trends to emerge in the last few years has been electronic cigarettes. Hailed by many as a solution to smoking traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes use vapors rather than smoke, and while they are filled with nicotine, they do not contain many of the same carcinogens that are in cigarette smoke. Cigarettes are a popular form of stress reduction in the recovery community mainly in that they are used as a means of comfort and as a coping mechanism to deal with the mental stress of getting clean and sober. Enter the e-cigarette, which appears to be a form of smoking with less physical consequences than those that tobacco bring to the table.
Treatment centers encourage patients to learn how to lead healthier lives, which includes quitting cigarettes. The use of e-cigarettes are not solely relegated to the recovery scene, they have gained in popularity in pop-culture. Because of this, many bars and other businesses have gotten into the practice of allowing e-cigarette smoking (sometimes referred to as vaping) in their establishments.
This decision has also been met with some controversy, however, as many opponents of e-cigarettes argue that the vapors expelled by e-cigarettes are also harmful and that the devices should not be allowed indoors. In both Los Angeles and New York City, for example, e-cigarette use has been categorized the same way as traditional cigarettes, and is not allowed in public indoor spaces.
Dangers of E-Cigarettes
Opponents of e-cigarettes warn that while many view the devices as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, the reality is that there have not been a sufficient number of studies conducted to determine the impact that e-cigarettes have on one’s health. In Los Angeles, for example, where the city council recently joined cities like Boston and Chicago in treating e-cigarettes like regular cigarettes, health officials warned that the dangers of e-cigarettes simply are not known at this time.
Many officials have cited the fact that in the early days of tobacco use, smokers and even their doctors were unaware of the dangers of cigarettes, a fact that led to what many officials agree to be the largest single cause of preventable death in American history. Others point out that e-cigarettes are not currently regulated by the FDA and that the substance used in e-cigarettes is highly toxic and could be harmful and even lethal if left in the hands of the wrong person.
E-Cigarette Users Disagree With Bans
The decision to ban e-cigarettes has upset many e-cigarette users, many of whom claim that e-cigarettes have helped them cut back on or quit traditional cigarette consumption. E-cigarette smokers point to the fact that e-cigarettes do not use tobacco as a reason for their relative harmlessness.
Many e-cigarette users believe that since the devices use vapors rather than smoke that the dangers of second-hand smoke are relatively small. These users believe that the ban on e-cigarettes is unfounded, and point to the lack of research as a reason that the decision to ban the devices should be reconsidered.
Future of Vaping Unclear
As the decision currently stands in cities where bans are in place, individuals who like to vape face the same restrictions as those who consume tobacco cigarettes. Vaping is no longer allowed in bars or restaurants, for example, and can only legally be partaken in at designated vaping lounges, where customers who are specifically there to try different types of vapor products may sit indoors and vape. It remains to be seen whether further research about vaping will bring about more or less restrictions.