The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Advances in technology do not make cigarettes safer

From now on, people no longer need to search their pockets frantically for a lighter every time they want to take a smoke; instead, they have to find a wall outlet. Electronic cigarettes are slowly and dangerously sweeping the nation.
These new smokes, or e. cigarettes, are now on sale in the United States and internationally. Canada has banned them. The United States should follow their example.

E. cigarettes are supposedly the healthier and more environmentally friendly form of the common tobacco cigarette. But, do not be fooled by their pretty appearance: they are just as dangerous. Instead of tar and tobacco, this e. cigarette has a battery, an atomizer, and a cartridge filled with varying amounts of synthetic liquid nicotine.

According to Electronic Cigarettes Incorporated’s Web site, a person inhales and sets off the atomizer, which heats the liquid nicotine into steam. This is supposed to replicate the look and feel of smoke. Yum. Yet even the company’s Web site says that their products are not FDA-approved. Strike one.

Smoking Everywhere, another e. cigarette distributor, advertises that e. cigarettes help the world. There are no ashes to scatter around, no butts to leave on the ground, and no smoke for other people to inhale. When the battery dies, all you have to do is plug it in. They even sell car chargers. Sounds perfect right? That is what I thought, too.

Each e. cigarette contains the same amount of nicotine found in 20 cigarettes. That means if you smoke an entire cartridge, you are smoking the 40 cigarettes’ worth of nicotine.

According to the FDA, the amount of nicotine varies greatly in each cartridge, and although it may say low nicotine or high nicotine on the package, there is no way of knowing the correct amount. You are in danger whenever you buy a cartridge. Strike two.

Despite the lack of tar and tobacco, there are still dangerous chemicals in e. cigarettes. While testing them, FDA analyst Benjamin Westenberger reported to that random cartridges contained a toxic antifreeze ingredient, diethylene glycol.

Westenberger reviewed nineteen cigarettes that were said to contain no nicotine. Only one did not have any nicotine. Since the nicotine is synthetic, the FDA cannot measure how much is inhaled at a time. Strike three.

The FDA has been trying to ban e. cigarettes from entering the country since 2008, and it condemned their use on July 22, 2009. But people still continue to buy the e. cigarettes despite the warnings. People need to understand that they are still putting toxins into their body.

It is not only the FDA that is worried. Jonathan Winickoff, M.D., chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics Tobacco Consortium said to the FDA that he is worried about the direct advertisement to kids and teenagers.

So although electronic cigarettes may sound like the healthier, safer, and more environmentally friendly choice to tobacco cigarettes, they’re not

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