Health experts weighed the difference of the effects between smoking tobacco and e-cigarettes. The discussion revolves on a belief that the latter is becoming a replacement of the former that defeats the purpose of efforts to stop people from smoking.
In a hot debate, experts who have different perceptions about it explained the advantages and disadvantages of the presence of e-cigarettes. It also aims to answer one simple question: Will e-cigarettes encourage or discourage people from smoking?
On the "in favor" side of the argument is Michael Siegel, M.D., a public health researcher at Boston University. On the "not in favor" side is his former mentor and teacher Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
During the discussion, Siegel argued that the development of e-cigarettes is beneficial in a way that it could finally put an end in the smoking habits of people in the United States. He even likened e-cigarettes to computers, which made typewriters outmoded, the New York Times reported.
However, Glantz believes otherwise. He argued that though many smokers will stop using the traditional cigarette, it may erase all efforts put on fighting against smoking. He said that e-cigarettes will serve as a glittering gateway to adult smokers to remain hooked longer because they can puff it whenever they want without going to smoking areas.
Furthermore, individuals who smoke e-cigarettes are also smoking traditional cigarettes. There is no substantiation that many are choosing electronic ones over traditional ones.
"E-cigarettes seem like a good idea, but they aren't," said Glantz in the discussion. It may even lengthen smoking habits by offering a dose of nicotine when there is not enough.
Traditional cigarettes contain nicotine and tar. Nicotine is what makes smoking addictive, and tar is what kills people. With e-cigarettes, there is no tar; it only offers nicotine, which makes it more appealing to smokers, said some public health experts.
Still, opinions of public health experts vary.
As of now, studies that might answer questions about the advantages and disadvantages of smoking e-cigarettes are still on the works. Though there are evidences, many experts believe that those are insufficient to draw definitive conclusions regarding the long-term effects of the device on smokers.