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The Legal Issues of Electronic Cigarettes Explained

The legal issues surrounding electronic cigarettes goes back before they were even invented.  It all starts with Big Tobacco and their constant lobbying efforts to avoid regulation as much as possible.  During the Clinton administration, the FDA stated that cigarettes should be considered “nicotine delivery devices”, which would make them a drug under the law and thus regulated by the FDA. Before they made this claim, the FDA did not regulate any tobacco products so the Big Tobacco companies were able to get away with a selling their products unhindered by inspections, health testing, and so forth.

Not surprisingly, the FDA’s decision did not sit well with the Big Tobacco industry.  They unleashed their lobbyists who spent the next six years going after Congress and the high court system. Big Tobacco finally did win their case in the Supreme Court when the justices agreed that the FDA had overstepped their authority in calling tobacco products “nicotine delivery devices.”  The FDA was not allowed to treat tobacco products as drugs, thus allowing the tobacco industry much more freedom from regulations.

In 2003, electronic cigarettes became available and these really were nicotine delivery devices.  Since Big Tobacco realized what a threat e-cigarettes would be to their business, the industry lobbyists started another campaign on Capitol Hill.  They argued that electronic cigarettes must be regulated by the FDA because, as nicotine delivery devices, they were drugs.  The policymakers buckled under the pressure and electronic cigarettes were banned from being imported.  With the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009, the FDA was granted more powers to regulate tobacco and banned flavored tobacco.  The FDA was also able to ban importation of electronic cigarettes.

The FDA came under harsh criticism when they banned electronic cigarettes.  In one FDA press statement, the FDA had the gall to say that electronic cigarettes were not adequately tested for safety and thus inferred that people should continue smoking tobacco cigarettes instead of switching to the safer e-cigs instead. While there may be dangers with the nicotine which is found in most e-cigs (they don’t have to contain nicotine!), it is undeniable that electronic cigarettes are the lesser evil compared to tobacco cigarettes.

Luckily for smokers looking for an alternative, the US Court of Appeal in 2010 overturned the FDA’s right to regulate electronic cigarettes.  The court ruled that the FDA can only regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products, not nicotine delivery devices.  The judges did rule that e-cigarettes could be regulated if they were advertised for therapeutic use though.  Thus, no e-cigarettes are allowed to advertise themselves as therapies for quitting smoking or even as cigarette replacements – despite the fact that electronic cigarettes have been so beneficial in helping thousands of people cut back their smoking habits or quit all together.

 The legality of electronic cigarettes varies per state and also internationally.  However, most of the laws are the same as with tobacco products.  In general, you must be at least 18 years old to buy electronic cigarettes or any of their parts.  There may also be other restrictions too, like not being able to use e-cigs in public places.

Are Electronic Cigarettes Really Safe?

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 Are Electronic Cigarettes Really Safe?
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 Are Electronic Cigarettes Really Safe?
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 Are Electronic Cigarettes Really Safe?

In 2009, the FDA held a press conference in which they addressed the safety issues of electronic cigarettes.  During this press conference, the FDA has the gall to say that e-cigarettes were packed full of toxins and carcinogens – despite the fact that there was absolutely no evidence to support this claim.  But, by putting fear into the public’s mind about e-cigarettes, they were essentially saying that they should just stick to smoking tobacco cigarettes instead, a product which we already know kills more than 450 thousand people yearly in the US alone!

There was one part of the FDA statement which was true: electronic cigarettes are still new and have not been formally tested for safety.  Yet, it doesn’t take years of testing to know that electronic cigarettes are a safer alternative to cigarettes.  Tobacco cigarettes contain at least 400,000 chemicals, of which at least 50 are known to cause cancer.  While these chemicals are harmful, they aren’t the most deadly part of tobacco cigarettes.  The worst part of tobacco cigarettes is that, when you smoke, you inhale vast amounts of smoke.  The medical term for this smoke is “products of combustion.” It is this smoke which is responsible for killing millions of people every year and maiming even more.

Electronic cigarettes are not smoked, thus you do not inhale any products of combustion.  There have been critics who cite the potential dangers of the e-juice used in electronic cigarettes.  The e-juice contains a combination of water and glycerin or propylene glycol.  While we cannot ascertain that these products are completely safe to inhale as vapor, they are commonly used as food additives.  The FDA labels them as “generally regarded as safe” and they have been consumed for years without evident risks.

The only known harmful part of electronic cigarettes is the nicotine which the e-juice contains.  Note that not all e-juice contains nicotine.  You can order electronic cigarette juice without nicotine and just “smoke” the vapor instead to get the sensation of smoking. Nicotine is notoriously addictive. It can also cause problems in the body, such as joint pain, mood swings, or increase blood pressure, amongst others. However, it must be noted that the risks of nicotine are NOT the same as the risks of smoking tobacco. Nicotine alone does not cause cancer nor the diseases linked to smoking.

There are even some studies which show that nicotine may be beneficial to the body.  Most of the benefits of nicotine where discovered by smokers’ paradoxes, or cases in which smokers did not get a certain health condition at the rate of nonsmokers. In studies of nicotine delivered without smoking, researchers found that nicotine can help reduce the risk of breast cancer, preeclampsia, asthma, and ulcerative colitis. Nicotine may also reduce inflammation.

Despite these studies, we cannot claim that nicotine is healthy or even obviously beneficial.  However, that alone shouldn’t be a reason for electronic cigarettes to get a bad reputation.  Compared to tobacco cigarettes, an electronic cigarette is basically harmless.  Yet, pressure from Big Tobacco has caused strict regulations on e-cigarettes. No e-cigarette maker can market the product as an alternative to smoking or a tool for quitting smoking. This is quite a shame, especially after you hear the testimonials of the thousands of people who have already quit smoking or reduced smoking with the help of e-cigarettes.

Best E-Cigarette Designs

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 Best E Cigarette Designs
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 Best E Cigarette Designs
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 Best E Cigarette Designs

There is nothing cool or sexy about tobacco cigarettes: they are bad for your health, smell bad, make your skin turn yellowish, and leave disgusting ashes all over the place.  If you are considering switching to e-cigarettes from  tobacco cigarettes, then you are making a choice which will be better for your health and the comfort of those around you.  The  most common design for e-cigarettes looks just like a regular tobacco cigarette. But, since tobacco cigarettes are so disgusting, why would you choose an e-cig which looks like a regular cigarette?

As electronic cigarettes become more popular (even celebrities like Katherine Heigl and Leonardo DiCaprio are using them), manufacturers are coming out with many more designs.  All the e-cigarettes will be the same basic shape: slender and long, like a pencil, for functionality and practical reasons.  But, after this, the sky is the limit when it comes to choosing an electronic cigarette design.

The first thing you want to consider is the size of the electronic cigarette. E-cigarettes come in various lengths and widths.  The length and size may affect the amount of e-juice that the electronic cigarette can hold and also the duration of a battery may be longer.  However, if the e-cigarette is too long or thick, it may be bulky to hold.

There are some fun e-cigarette designs, like those made to look like pens.  While this may seem like a great design idea at first, especially if you work at an office, keep in mind that it may look like you are sucking on a pen if someone sees you!  Instead, you may want to opt for a different type of unique style, such as an elegant black e-cig with curving lines or a flashy e-cig with bright colors.  You can really personalize the e-cigarette to your style.  While the most innovative electronic cigarette designs do cost more, keep in mind that it will make it easier to keep track of your e-cig.  The last thing you want is to forget your e-cigarette at a bar because it looks too much like the rest of the tobacco cigarettes in the ashtray!

The Electronic Cigarette Controversy: Does Big Tobacco Hate E-Cigs?

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 The Electronic Cigarette Controversy: Does Big Tobacco Hate E Cigs?
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 The Electronic Cigarette Controversy: Does Big Tobacco Hate E Cigs?
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 The Electronic Cigarette Controversy: Does Big Tobacco Hate E Cigs?

Smoking tobacco has been a major health concern for the past several decades and is linked with virtually all of the leading causes of death, like heart disease and cancer. Despite the technology which has been available to us, manufacturers have only recently made a smoking alternative: electronic cigarettes.

Electronic cigarettes are mostly marketed towards people who already smoke tobacco cigarettes and want to quit but have had trouble doing so.  By using an e-cigarette, smokers can get the sensation of smoking without the carcinogenic chemicals.  Most electronic cigarettes do contain nicotine, which helps with the withdrawal aspects of quitting smoking.  For most smokers, electronic cigarettes represent a lesser evil compared to tobacco cigarettes.

You would think that electronic cigarettes would be applauded as a great tool for helping smokers kick their unhealthy habits.  Even if the smokers can’t quit completely, at least the smoker could smoke less by supplementing with the e-cigarette.  Yet, there has been no applause for electronic cigarettes from lawmakers.  Instead, they have taken measures to outright ban e-cigarettes or keep them as far off the market as possible. There are laws in place which prevent electronic cigarettes from being sold as smoking cessation tools or even advertising that they can help you quit smoking. Critics are evening saying that electronic cigarettes are a rouse to get children addicted to smoking or that e-cigs contain special chemicals which are even more addicting than nicotine.  It must be noted that there are absolutely no studies supporting these illogical claims.

As much as we would like to think that these e-cigarette critics (many of whom are major Washington lobbyists) are looking out for our best interest, it is more likely that they are looking out for their pocketbooks instead. Governments worldwide have come to depend on revenues from tobacco cigarettes.  The taxes from cigarettes goes towards paying health care, building schools, and keeping the streets clean, just for starters.  If the tobacco cigarette finally gets a viable, safer alternative, then the millions of smokers around the world are going to finally kick their habit for e-cigs.

For the past decade, the tobacco industry has been at war with congress, trying to get the regulations back in their favor. Even though Big Tobacco has taken a lot of hits over the years, it would be naïve to say that they don’t have an influence on policymakers. For Big Tobacco, the newest threat to their industry isn’t higher taxes, anti-smoking campaigns, or even anti-smoking laws: it is the electronic cigarette.

In the US alone, tobacco brings in about $25 billion yearly – plus insurmountable profits for the tobacco industry.  If you are thinking of switching from your tobacco cigarettes to electronic cigarettes, it is likely the best option for you because of the fewer chemicals and ability to control the amount of nicotine you inhale.  But don’t forget that your cigarette sales taxes are funding the government.  We can only hope that, by the time that the last of the smokers are switching over, that our collective health has improved to the point that we are saving $25 billion years on health care costs.

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