Just as there are many positive responses towards electronic cigarettes, there are also negative reactions, and they are just as many – maybe even more.
Tony Newman, the Communications Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, wrote an article published at the Huffington Post, taking a defensive stance for e-cigarettes and calling for everyone to take a closer and more enlightened look at vaping.
Newman has been engaged in drug prevention for a good 14 years already, and it was with great conviction that he declared e-cigs to be effective in helping smokers kick the habit.
Regulators – politicians, mostly – are pointing out how e-cigs are potentially more damaging to children. At such impressionable ages, children are easier to tempt and convince that e-cigs are safe to use. Thus, vaping should be banned in order to reduce the risks to children.
However, Newman called for a more mature and level-headed approach. Before scrapping e-cigs out of the picture, there is a need for those who come up with legislation for the regulation of e-cigs to learn more about vaping and e-cigs. More often than not, they only see the negative sides of vaping, without taking the time out to realise that it also has a lot of positive effects.
Case in point: in a study published in England, it was found that 60% of smokers have a higher probability of quitting smoking for good if they used electronic cigarettes more than any other cessation products being sold in the market. Nicotine gum and nicotine patches may be effective, but not as effective as when they use e-cigs.
“Stop treating vaping like an enemy,” Newman asked the critics and regulators. Instead, they should take the time to look into how to forge a good partnership with it.
Senator Jay Rockefeller is one of those who are against e-cigs. He pointed out how many e-cigs are actually targeted at children for the simple reason that they make use of e-liquids that take on fruit flavours such as cherry and peach, to name a few. Children will be lured into trying these e-cigs because of their fun and fruity flavours and, before they know it, they are already heavy smokers.
Rockefeller berated the e-cigs companies, something that Newman pointed out was not helping at all. Newman was cognisant of the fact that e-cigs may have potentially negative effects for young people as well as nonsmokers. However, he also calls for the acknowledgement that e-cigs can help millions of people – and they have and still are – to quit smoking.
As for the flavours, Newman pointed out the human nature of seeking variety. Having fun and fruity flavours appeal to the varying tastes of e-cigs users, giving them more options. The flavoured e-liquids are actually one of the many features of e-cigs that most people are attracted to at first.
Newman is convinced that, even at a young age, kids should be told the truth about e-cigs. It would be better to tell them at a young age, so they can have more time to assimilate it, instead of putting it off frequently until they are older. (By then, it might already be too late.)
“Whenever we propose programs that reduce the harms of drug use, our opponents respond with the false claim that we are sending the wrong message to young people,” says Newman. “We should never let politically expedient sound bites trump interventions proven to minimise the health consequences of drugs.”
Educating kids about e-cigs can be done in a number of ways. However, according to Newman, the best way is still sitting them down and simply telling them the truth about it. Present the facts, backed by persuasive evidence. Refer to various sources and related literature to make your talk more credible. They also deserve to know the latest developments or trends affecting e-cigarettes. Of course, it would also be good to also give them the assurance that studies and researches are currently ongoing to find ways to improve their health by vaping instead of tobacco use.
Much of the flak is directed towards the marketing campaigns and advertisements released by e-cigs manufacturers, further attracting the attention of young people and kids. That is why the in-your-face ads, which speak plainly about the negative effects of smoking. These ads are more graphic and do not mince words, going directly to the heart of the matter.
Show them clearly that, compared to tobacco products, e-cigs are definitely the healthier and better option. The fact that they are effective aids in quitting smoking does not hurt at all, either. Many kids will be able to find a lot of comfort in this knowledge; there is still hope for their loved ones who are smoking too much.
Considering that many kids are now using nicotine gum, it also follows that they are also ready to use e-cigs.
Kids today are smart, so they deserve nothing less than honesty and straightforwardness. As mentioned earlier, kids are smart and intelligent. There is no reason why they should not be able to handle the reality that is electronic cigarettes.