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
  • 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

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

  • Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions

    This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
    The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    July 18, 2014

  • Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year

    It’s happening again.
    It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
    But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.

    July 17, 2014

  • County honors men who gave all in helping their community

    The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
    Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
    The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.

    July 16, 2014

  • State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less

    The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
    Let’s not do that again.

    July 15, 2014

  • Long-range vision with transportation has been made to be thing of proud past

    Last week’s closure of Fairmont’s Fourth Street Bridge is a symbol of a problem that must be fixed.
    The United States should be proud of the vision its leaders once displayed to address the country’s transportation needs.
    Back in 1954, for example, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his goal of an interstate highway system — something that transformed the country.

    July 13, 2014

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