The debate on Electronic cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to normal cigarettes. Seen as a healthier alternative and an aid to help kick the habit, e-cigarettes have been welcomed with open arms, however are these electronic devices as innocent as they seem? Does their colourful advertising and attractive flavours actually encourage people to take up the habit and what are the health implications that come with this?

We asked our panel to share their opinions and experiences with electronic cigarettes, should they be treated in the same way as normal cigarettes or should they be embraced as a much healthier alternative?

Most felt that used in the right way e-cigarettes are a useful tool. Many felt that they should really only be available to current smokers, providing them with a healthier alternative and perhaps helping them to give up.

“I don’t think they should be sold to people who don’t smoke. I think they are good for smokers who want to give up.” (Raj, 42, Barnet)

“I think e-cigarettes are really great for smokers, it’s much safer for them and it’s much safer for the people and children around them and it can be a really good way of helping people quit smoking.” (Esther, 19, London)

“I don’t think e-cigarettes should be sold to non-smokers, I think that is a ridiculous idea but how would you manage that process? I’m not sure how you would do that.” (Ross, 29, Leeds)

Because of electronic cigarettes offering smokers a healthier alternative some of the panel felt that they should be able to be advertised.

“E-cigarettes are less harmful than real cigarettes so it makes sense to have them on sale in shops and advertise them so current smokers can make the choice to choose a healthier alternative.” (Dianne, 55, Bexleyheath)

“I think e-cigarettes should be able to be advertised and promoted. They are much less dangerous than proper cigarettes and if people want to consume them they are a lot better for them.” (Stephen, 40, Wigan)

Others felt that they should be treated more like normal cigarettes as not enough research had gone into the health risks of smoking e-cigarettes in the long term. Therefore people should not be encouraged to smoke them and they should not be glamourised and made attractive in advertisements.

“I think e-cigarettes should be treated like regular cigarettes just because I do think that they promote the idea of smoking and I don’t think in the long term e-cigarettes are going to be a much healthier alternative.” (Emma-Louise, 23, Spalding)

“I don’t think they should be promoted for having health benefits and for being so much more healthy than normal cigarettes when they haven’t actually been tested and studies haven’t been done on them so I think it’s a bit presumptuous.” (Juliana, 21, Enfield)

“I don’t think e-cigarettes should be sold at all if i’m honest, they still have harmful chemicals in them. I know they aren’t as bad as normal cigarettes but they can still probably cause damaging effects later on.” (Katie, 25, Wallsend)

“I think e-cigarettes are quite dangerous. How popular they have become so quickly. It’s great to take people away from regular cigarettes but we still don’t know the health damages and dangers of these e-cigarettes.” (David, 33, Hove)

Because of the un-known effects of smoking e-cigarettes some of the panel felt that they should not be able to advertise the products like they are able to at the moment.

“We don’t know the side effects, we don’t know the long term effects, we don’t know the addiction or the problems. So why would people be advertising and encouraging it?.” (Alice, 27, Hove)

“Eventually I think the advertising will get banned as essentially they are promoting nicotine addiction.” (Rosey, 34, London)