The Times West Virginian


March 9, 2014

‘The issues are complicated’ with e-cigarettes

E-cigarettes have been around for about seven years.

But you’d be shocked at how long the idea for the the tobacco-less product has been around.

“A primitive, battery-operated ‘smokeless non-tobacco cigarette’ was patented as early as 1963 and described in Popular Mechanics in 1965,” Megan McArdle wrote for Business Week last monty. “Thomas Schelling, a Nobel prize-winning economist who helped start the Institute for the Study of Smoking Behavior and Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School in the 1980s, recalls that people in the 1960s were talking about a charcoal-based vaporizer that would heat some sort of nicotine solution.

“While those early versions might have been safer than a regular cigarette, they were too expensive and cumbersome to become a substitute for a pack of Camels,” she writes.

But they’ve been less expensive and readily available for nearly a decade now. And within that short timeframe, it’s turned into a $1.5 billion industry. With a growth rate like that, some say that the e-cigarette industry could surpass the tobacco industry by 2023. That’s less that 10 years from now.

Good, right? When a person uses an e-cigarette, liquid nicotine is heated up and vaporized then inhaled. The result is vapor instead of smoke, which contains up to 400 dangerous additives.

Except some fear that flavors of vapors, like blue raspberry or piña colada are intended to draw in younger, would-be smokers and actually turn into a gateway to tobacco use.

“If e-cigarettes were regulated so that they became a way to get people off cigarettes, we would lead the cheer. But the issues are complicated,” Matt Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, told Business Week. “E-cigarettes are not harmless. You want to discourage people who do not currently use e-cigarettes from taking up the habit. Our concern is that it will re-glamorize smoking and lead people to switch to cigarettes, or experiment with cigarettes.”

And since in 22 states anyone under the age of 18 can walk into a store and purchase an e-cigarette kit, or order one online, kids can legally get hooked on nicotine before it’s even legal for them to buy a pack of Marlboros. So regulate?

That’s what we asked our readers, who log on each week to vote in our interactive poll question. Last week we asked “Do you think that e-cigarettes and accessories need to be regulated, including banning the sale for those under 18?”

And here’s what you had to say:

• Not sure, but I would like to see some long-term studies on the impact of their use on health — 14.29 percent.

• No. I don’t understand the backlash over something that is healthier than smoking and helps so many people break the habit — 36.26 percent.

• Yes. They’re not marketing cotton candy flavored e-cigarettes to adults — 49.45.

It’s sure to come up again, as the FDA is investigating the product.

And speaking of kids, let’s talk about a recent study that shows an overwhelming difference in the values of the Millennium generation versus the ones before it. What do you wish was more important to the youth of today?

Log on. Vote. Email me of respond online.

Misty Poe


Text Only
  • Prevention must remain focus when dealing with cruel black lung disease

    “Preventable, but not curable.”
    That’s how Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for Mine Safety and Health, describes black lung disease.
    He could also use the word “deadly.”
    According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, black lung has killed more than 76,000 miners since 1968.

    August 1, 2014

  • If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is

    Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
    This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.

    July 31, 2014

  • State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core

    It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
    So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
    Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.

    July 30, 2014

  • Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway

    U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.

    July 29, 2014

  • United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project

    The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
    That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.

    July 27, 2014

  • COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard

    I love to talk to readers.
    I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.

    July 27, 2014

  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

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