The BBC offered this diagram of an e-cigarette, an “electronic nicotine delivery system” (ENDS). Reminds me of a tiny bong.
E-cigarettes supply a hit of nicotine with each inhalation. Some nicotine, along with potentially toxic byproducts and contaminants, are released to the environment during use. The visible smoke is mostly water vapor.
Their long-term safety has not been established. However, nicotine is physically addictive (“may be as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol“), contributes to heart disease and diabetes, and may function as a cancer promoter.2
The World Health Organization just published a lengthy report on e-cigarettes saying they should be banned in public places:2
In fact, exhaled aerosol is likely to increase above background levels the risk of disease to bystanders, especially in the case of some ENDS that produce toxicant levels in the range of that produced by some cigarettes.
They are being promoted as a smoking cessation tool. The WHO says that should be stopped:
Prohibit manufacturers and third parties from making health claims for ENDS, including that ENDS are smoking cessation aids, until manufacturers provide convincing supporting scientific evidence and obtain regulatory approval.
The New York Times covered the WHO Report, adding:
The World Health Organization report worries that Big Tobacco is becoming “increasingly aggressive in the battle for the fast-growing e-cigarette market.
Right now, there are no federal regulations governing where e-cigarettes can be smoked, rather, vaped. In fact, according to the New York Times, “the entire industry [is] virtually unregulated.” Some states and cites have begun to ban their use in public places. (Here’s a list by the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, updated 3 July 2014.)
What do you think? Would banning them in public places discourage use of a product that might help smokers quit?