Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Are e-cigarettes a smarter, healthier choice?

Aug. 13, 2014 at 11:30 a.m.

Whether you use them or know someone who uses them, there is no denying the growing popularity and controversy over e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that convert liquid nicotine into a vapor users can inhale. They often come in different flavors - flavors made up of chemicals like glycerin and polyethylene glyco.

Some businesses in the Crossroads and across the nation have decided not to take any chances with the products, banning their usage.

In Victoria alone, restaurants such as Johnny Carino's, Chili's and Hungry's-Thirsty's have stepped up to the plate, saying they've never allowed customers to use e-cigarettes.

We applaud these businesses knowing full-well they've made a conscientious decision. Businesses reserve the right to create regulations as they see fit.

But a deeper question remains: Are e-cigarettes good or bad? The truth is that we just don't know.

This is a problem.

We know the effects of the traditional cigarette, not only to the user but also to those around them. The carcinogens have been shown to cause health-related issues to the smoker as well as to innocent bystanders breathing in secondhand smoke.

So, the issue with e-cigarettes is not whether businesses should allow the usage of e-cigarettes in their venues; instead, it's why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking so long to fully study the health effects of e-cigarettes?

Surprised? So were we.

We ask that the FDA push for quicker approval for a product that's been on the market for more than five years.

Sales in 2008 held at a low 50,000 purchases, but in 2012, that number grew thousands of times to about $3.5 million sales, according to USA Today.

These numbers are the one thing we can hold fast to. Many have given up traditional cigarettes and have picked up e-cigarettes, feeling they've made a smarter, healthier decision.

The ball is rolling, as the FDA has proposed extending its tobacco authority to include e-cigarettes.

We do hope the conclusion is one that allows for e-cigarettes to be a healthier alternative to traditional smoking, but until then, we can take no chances.

Let's pull the smoke screen off e-cigarettes.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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