For many years now, numerous groups and organizations have been trying to get cigarette makers to reduce or eliminate synthetic chemicals in their tobacco products. Since the late 1980’s, various state regulatory agencies have enacted measures to address dangerous second hand smoke. Most states now have complete ban on indoor smoking in public places. Some are more stringent than others, but basically no smoking indoors in any public area. Some have regulations as to how close to a building you may smoke and unfortunately they have been adding e-cigarettes or e smoke to that list.
There are benefits from this that we can all enjoy, smoker and non-smokers alike, such as being able to take your children to eateries, restaurants, movie theaters, bowling alley, and so on without having to worry about what they are breathing.
There is a subtle thing we all see but able to block out of our mind. The mass of litter from discarded cigarette butts. We see this everywhere. Just pull over your car out in the middle of nowhere, look down and you will see at least one cigarette butt, often much more. Many smokers still flick their cigarettes right out the window. We have all seen some anonymous cigarette smoker dump his ashes right there in the parking lot and drive away. Many time, just a mere few steps from a trash bin.
Depending on where you live, cigarette butts do not degrade quite so readily. It is estimated to take anywhere from 2 years to up to 15 years to degrade. During this time, often cigarette butts are washed into storm drains after rains and wash out into the ocean. Most of the world population lives near the ocean or coastal regions. The discarded cigarette filters are usually full of tar, nicotine, and myriads of other toxic chemicals that as they degrade, they release the chemicals into the environment.
One cigarette butt wouldn’t mean much, but imagine approximately 20 cigarette butts a day person, all over the world. Then imagine that daily number of cigarette butts and multiply it by the days in the 365 and you’ll see the staggering amount of toxic chemicals being release unchecked into the environment.
There are numerous reports indicating that many animals such as ducks, dogs, cats, and various other animals, both domesticated and wild, are getting cancer from eating cigarette butts or chocking on cigarette butts.
With electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes, the above mentioned situation becomes a unlikely debate. Advanced electronic smoking devices where you can refill the cartridges are the only option to go green with electronic cigarettes. The common disposable kinds often just produce a different kinds of waste, often almost as bad and doesn’t degrade. Users often carry a spare disposable cartridge in their car or purse. When the owners change their disposable cartridge, sometimes that spent cartridge doesn’t make into the trash bin.
Advanced electronic cigarettes with refillable cartridges provide multiple uses, usually changed at home thus owners would throw it in their trash. This helps reduce waste and saves the users quite a bit of money, many times measured in hundreds of dollars per year. The more sophisticated electronic cigarettes are powered by lithium-ion rechargeable batteries that lasts up to 2 years can be properly disposed and recycled.
The added benefits of e cigarette are they do not produce smoke, but vapors heated by an element within the atomizer, which gives a sensation of smoke, thus giving the user, whether they are trying to quit smoking cigarette or switch, an alternative to traditional smoking.
Due to lack of studies, both short term and long term, the FDA has not endorsed electronic cigarettes, but rather attacked it. After a lawsuit they decided to settle last year, they haven’t said much on the subject.
There are many leading university professors that research tobacco have come out in support of e cigarettes. They point to the fact that tobacco cigarettes have over 5000 known and over 5000 unknown chemicals in them while e-cigarettes have only a few known substances. These are the base liquid which is generally propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, synthetic nicotine at various concentrations, and flavorings. Propylene glycol, often called PG, are approve food and medicinal additives found in a range of foods, drinks, snacks, and medicine.
There are still some organizations and individual who profess that e-cigarettes have not been proven safe so therefore people should steer clear of using them. If it helps people quit smoking cigarettes and perhaps wean themselves off the nicotine using electric cigarette for awhile, isn’t that a benefit not a liability for both the smokers and environment? Perhaps a few known FDA approved compounds might be better than over 10,000 known and unknown chemicals including a fire-retardant placed in two sections of the cigarette. FDA and CDC along with various quit-smoking groups continue to spout “cold turkey” as the only method to quit. If it was that relatively easy to quit smoking, it is certain that a majority of smokers would have done so by now.
It appears relatively clear that electric cigarette hold a great promise of possibly helping the environment and help cigarette smokers quit smoking. This is a great win-win situation.
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