E-Cigs in the News, 2012 – Part 1

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The electronic cigarette was invented in China in 2004, and over the past few years has gained worldwide popularity, as well as much controversy. Electronic cigarettes are often in the news today as the argument continues on their safety and usefulness. 

While many see them as a healthier alternative to smoking, there are still those that work to ban the sale of e-cigs, for one reason or another.  Here, you can read about some of the most newsworthy events regarding electronic cigs in the 1st half of 2012.

January

Effective January 1, 2012, Finland banned the marketing of electronic cigarettes.  Electronic cigarettes may still be purchased in Finland, as well as nicotine-free e-cartridges. Nicotine e-cartridges, however, may not be sold.
An article on the medical reference site, Medscape.com, included some positive research on the benefits of e-cigarettes, including statistics from a 6 month study of 40 smokers that found 1/3 of the smokers reduced their tobacco cigarette use by 50% at week 24, and 22% of the smokers had quit smoking regular tobacco altogether in the 24th week of the 6 month study.  The study did note that while quitting regular tobacco smoking, most smokers continued to use the electronic cigarette.

Also in January, Hawaii pushed to classify the electronic cigarette as a regular tobacco product, which is great in that it would prohibit the sale of the e-cig to minors, but not so great in that the e-cig could be placed with a tax as much as 70% of wholesale.

February

According to a February article found on e-cigarette-forum.com, there were 2 events in early 2012, one in Colorado and one in Florida, in which an electronic cigarette device exploded in an individual’s face and caused extensive damage. Altogether, there have been 8 incidents such as this, but each involved an electric metal tubemod, or MOD, that used 2 cell batteries. There have been no such reported incidences with the use of single battery units or regular electronic cigarettes. ECF has mentioned previously about the dangers of using MODs.

Also in February, a Continental airline flight returned to the airport when a passenger refused to quit using his electronic cigarette in-flight.  At that time, the FAA had no rules regarding the use of electronic cigarettes during flight. Since then, the FAA determined it’s up to the individual airline to determine if passengers are allowed to use electronic cigarettes.  Continental, by the way, does not allow the use of the e-cig.

March

According to the website, Gizmodo.com, a new electronic cigarette called Vaportrim has been introduced and claims to work as a diet aid!  Vaportrim markets their e-cig as a healthy alternative to dessert. According to Vaportrim, what a person tastes actually comes from 75% of what they smell.  In other words, a person’s smell receptors can and do inform the body that it is full!

Therefore, Vaportrim introduced 14 yummy e-cig dessert  flavors, including Peach Cobbler, Apple Pie, Strawberry Shortcake, and Cinnamon Bun, just to name a few.  There may be something to it, because believe it or not, they seem to still be around, or at least their Facebook page is. Although, there was something a while back about some of the flavored e-cigs being banned because they are enticing to children, so not sure how they are getting around this.  

Also in March, the FDA sent letters to several of the e-cigarette companies asking them about customer complaints and any other type of reported incidents with their products. The FDA also asked each company what they currently have in place to report such incidents.

April

In April, 2012, an article by Drew Hendricks and Brian Clark Howard was posted in National Geographic News regarding the environmental harm of the electronic cigarette versus the conventional cigarette.

Their findings:
•    E-cigs definitely solve the significant trash problem created by the conventional cigarette butt, considering the thousands lining our sidewalks and streets, tossed on the ground by some thoughtless smokers; and the fact that a conventional cigarette butt takes anywhere from 2 ½ to 10 years to decompose!
•    Fewer toxins enter the oceans, caused when conventional cigarette butts enter the storm drains, and eventually, make their way to the oceans, where birds and fish may actually eat them.
•    Electronic cigarettes are eco-friendly, considering most use a rechargeable battery and the device is used over and over again, rather than continuously being replaced.
•    A possible smoking-cessation device for some users, therefore releasing fewer toxins into the air, as more people cease to use conventional cigarettes, which are no doubt full of harmful toxins.

The Daily Mail UK ran an article stating that Lorillard, the makers of Newport and Kent cigarettes, and the United States’ third largest tobacco firm, announced they had acquired Blu Cigs for $135 million, a decision made partly due to the fact Lorillard’s net income fell 10% in the first quarter of 2012. Lorillard earned $223 million in the first quarter of 2012, down from $248 million one year ago. Regarding the acquisition, the North Carolina based e-cig company, Blu Cigs, said in a statement that this sale ‘gives us access to the tremendously experienced team and resources at Lorillard and will allow us to move to the next level on our expansion.’

May

According to an article in thecourier.co.uk, NHS Fife, an agency that provides health care, has banned the use of the electronic cigarette on their grounds, claiming they pose a fire hazard. A spokeswoman for NHS Fife states there are concerns over the possibility of the battery in the e-cig overheating and exploding. NSF Fife is waiting on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) new safety report, at which time they will review their e-cig policy.

June    

The Washington Post printed an article regarding the popularity of the e-cig with celebrities such as Katherine Heigl, Leonardo DiCaprio and Lindsay Lohan, bringing far more attention to the product, even though they’ve been around for years. Blu Cig is mentioned as a popular choice. Jason Healy, Chief Executive for Blu Cigs, states this popularity is at least in part due to the fact that the blue tip makes it easily recognizable that the Blu Cig user is not using a conventional cigarette.  The blue tip lets a non-smoker know immediately that the user is not smoking a regular cigarette.  The Post article also mentions the release of the new Blu Cigs Smart Pack, which, through social networking, would link Blu users, and also make it easy for users to locate the nearest retailer.

Summary

Wow, that’s a lot of news for six months, both good and bad!  Hopefully you found this article both interesting and informative. Look for more news from 2012 in our next article, E-Cigs in the News, 2012 – Part 2.

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