Flip a coin and it could land on either face. Toss the idea of electronic cigarettes out there and the response is predictably similar: there are those who are for it, and there are those who are against it.
The pro side lauds the “healthier” option of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, saying it gives smokers a less harmful option. But there are those who do not look at it the same way. According to those who oppose the idea, e-cigs increase the possibility of even non-smokers acquiring the habit. Smoking suddenly becomes glamorous. Worst case scenario: even teenagers and kids will be drawn to smoking. After all, there is a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes. The more skeptical critics of e-cigs even go so far as develop conspiracy theories involving manufacturers and tobacco product producers that are trying to go around legislative limitations and restrictions placed on nicotine products.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is caught in the middle of these two warring groups. On one side are groups of experts who openly extol the ‘virtues’ of e-cigs, and on the other side, they are inundated with letters, studies and statements from doctors and medical professionals refuting these claims.
The letter, which was signed by more than 100 experts and medical professionals all over the world, was spurred by the statements of major tobacco companies that they will soon be branching out in the niche for e-cigarettes. This begs the question as to why there is a need to do so, considering the fact that real tobacco is a thriving industry, especially in developing and underdeveloped countries. Clearly, there is a conspiracy going on.
In several countries, there is a noticeable rise in the number of e-cig outlets setting up shop in major thoroughfares and even areas close to schools and residential areas. This fact also came to the attention of the WHO, who seems to start taking the threat seriously.
One of the actions undertaken by several countries regarding this issue is to involve the education and government sectors. Education departments are seeking to revamp their school curriculums in order to educate children about cigarette, smoking, and the matter on electronic cigarettes. The proposal has gone forward and, hopefully, this October, a decision will be made by WHO is e-cigs are to be treated in the same manner as real tobacco.
The matter on whether e-cigs are a help or actually a hindrance is still up in the air. In the UK alone, more than two million smokers have actively used cigarettes and, according to them, these electronic versions were instrumental in their successfully kicking the habit.
There is also the matter of choice. Advocates of e-cigs invoke the freedom and right of smokers to choose what they want to smoke. And it really is difficult to stop them from telling other people that e-cigs helped them quit smoking.
But you can never discount the fact that there will always be those who will argue against e-cigs. There are bound to be more arguments circling round and round and, possibly, the only way to put the matter to rest and get a definitive answer is when we are given scientific proof or evidence to back up the claims of either party. Until then, it’s going to remain a mystery. And that’s not counting the fact that public perception is a tricky thing. Present them with all the scientific evidence in the world, and they will still choose whether to believe them or not.