Electronic cigarettes offer rewards, risks – the diamondback : campus

E-cigarette reviews by the pros – electronic cigarette pros

The trend of electronic cigarettes is catching speed, and with a growing $1.7 billion market comes increased debate over the battery powered product.

In the next few weeks, the Food and Drug Administration will decide how to handle e cigarettes as researchers study the product s possible benefits and risks and advocacy groups promote or decry regulation.

E cigarettes turn chemicals such as nicotine into an aerosol that the user inhales. Most are shaped like traditional cigarettes or cigars, while some mimic pens or USB flash drives. The devices don t create smoke, but rather vapor that dissipates, unlike conventional cigarettes.

But this nicotine delivery device is unregulated and not necessarily safe or even safer than using conventional cigarettes, said Laura Place, Healthy TERPS coordinator at the University Health Center.

Boston and New York City recently added e cigarettes to their public smoking bans, but some health advocates argue the new instrument should be promoted because it could help smokers overcome addiction with available varying concentrations of nicotine.

Under this university s smoke free campus policy, e cigarettes are not included. The policy defines smoking as carrying or smoking a lighted tobacco product or burning a material to inhale, said Anne Martens, administration and finance assistant vice president.

Cigarette smokers must smoke in one of the four designated smoking areas on the campus, Martens said, but e cigarette users are not restricted to those areas.

Even with that option, some smokers at the university said they won t switch to e cigarettes.

Kids seem to like them here, though. Definitely with the smoking ban, you see a lot more kids walking around with the e cigs, said Tom Dermody, a senior environmental science and policy major. But it s not my thing.

Junior Mohammad Biglari tried e cigarettes but went back to regular cigarettes.

I didn t like it. It didn t give me the same feeling, the biology major said. I thought I smoked more when I had it because you can smoke it everywhere.

Dermody said he doesn t see many people switch to smoking just e cigarettes.

When they can get a real cigarette, they will have that instead, said Dermody, a smoker of four years.

But some said they ve seen a benefit to using e cigarettes They could help people quit smoking traditional cigarettes.

I know several people who are using them in their effort to stop smoking, and they have been used quite successfully in that regard, Martens said.

But e cigarettes don t always help with smoking cessation efforts, senior Sean Turner said. He said his friend, a smoker of 12 years, used e cigarettes to help him quit smoking.

He hasn t smoked a cigarette in a year and a half now, but he still smokes the electronic cigarettes, said Turner, a geographical sciences and government and politics major. So it helped him stop with the actual cigarette, but in terms of weaning himself off of the e cigarette , he s having a little bit of trouble with it.

Dermody said he sees the benefits for nonsmokers e cigarettes don t create any secondhand smoke but believes the only way to quit is to do it cold turkey.

Using e cigarettes and other types of smoking products is a risk, Place said.

Anything that allows a person to use an addictive substance more frequently increases the risk of addiction the more one uses, the more likely they are to become addicted, Place wrote in an email.

Martens hasn t seen a huge presence of e cigarettes on the campus, but she did see someone using one at December s commencement ceremony. She said she wouldn t be surprised if the University System of Maryland soon considers the product s place in the smoke free policy.

The whole process is evolving, and the university system and the state periodically review of all policies, including this one, she said.

From a health perspective, Place said she doesn t advocate the product s use.

I think there are two compelling reasons not to recommend them They are quite expensive and they are an unknown, unregulated delivery mechanism for a substance that we know to be quite addictive, Place wrote. If nothing else, that s a recipe for running out of cash quickly and potentially developing health problems we don t even really know enough to predict yet.