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Is 'vaping' the new smoking?

Interesting to read that e-cigarettes are to be regulated as tobacco products in the USA.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has agreed to regulate smokeless electronic cigarettes as tobacco products and won’t try to regulate them under stricter rules for drug-delivery devices.

The news is said to be a victory for the makers and distributors of e-cigs, one or two of whom have been quick to respond, recognising a good marketing opportunity.

According to the manufacturer of Vapestick, for example:

A Vapestick is an electronic cigarette that delivers the same experience as smoking a normal cigarette but without the intake, or emission, of the harmful pollutants produced by tobacco smoke.

Vapesticks produce no tar, no ash, no carbon monoxide and they are odourless. They work electronically, with a water-based vapour delivering the smoke sensation, and this has made them an instant hit with pubs and clubbers as they are also completely legal to use anywhere.

Further, newly released Vapestick models have the option to come with or without nicotine and different levels of nicotine Vapesticks have been developed so that users can find the closest alternative option to the tobacco cigarettes they have been used to, and decrease levels of nicotine over time, if they wish.

Smoking with a vapestick, or vaping as it has become commonly known, has finally given people the option to smoke anywhere again, without having to pollute themselves and those around them.

The company's website adds that 'vaping' is the new smoking. "Why smoke when you can vape?" it asks.

The issue of smokeless tobacco products is a very interesting one. I have heard it said that cigarettes – the overwhelmingly dominant tobacco product of the last hundred years – will gradually lose that dominance in the 21st century as consumers graduate to a wide range of smokeless tobacco products. These will include e-cigs, snus (if it is legalised) and products that have yet to be developed.

I don't have a problem with that – or the FDA's announcement about e-cigs (which I welcome) – but I worry that the manufacturers of e-cigarettes are far too keen to jump on the anti-smoking bandwagon. It's understandable, I suppose – they have a smokeless product to sell – but annoying nevertheless.

Last year I was contacted by a journalist working for an internet marketing company that was promoting an electronic cigarette company. I was asked if Forest would like an article about e-cigarettes for our website.

I replied as follows:

Dear xxx

Thanks for your email. Funnily enough, it is a subject we would like to address because I am conscious that an increasing number of cigarette smokers are using e-cigarettes.

I did mention the subject on my blog last year and that attracted quite a lot of comment, which opened my eyes a bit. It was interesting, to me, how strongly people felt about e-cigarettes and I was impressed that that there is quite a community of consumers that is quite active on blogs and forums.

What I noticed was there are three distinct groups:

1. Consumers of e-cigarettes who have given up tobacco and regard tobacco consumers as "unhealthy" or "losers"
2. Hard core cigarette smokers who consider consumers of e-cigarettes to have "sold out"
3. Cigarette smokers who find e-cigarettes a useful alternative in situations (eg pubs, public transport) where they are not allowed to light up

No 3 appears to be largest group and it's that group that interests Forest.

It's not an area I know much about so any information/articles etc would be useful and I would be happy to link to your site, although we have to be careful not to promote any particular brand.

I have also seen some e-cigs marketed in a way that seems designed to denigrate cigarettes (for health or other reasons) and for most of our supporters that is not particularly helpful because it reinforces some people's prejudice towards tobacco users.

In response I received the following 'article' that, until now, I have chosen not to publish, prefering to file it away in a folder marked 'E-Cigarettes: PR and Marketing':

Electronic nicotine imitation cigarettes could "help save the lives of millions of smokers", that's according to Elaine Keller, Vice President of the Consumer Advocates for Smoke Free Alternatives Association.

"I believe e-cigarettes will prove to be a very important tool in an arsenal of Smoking Replacement Products that can be used to save the lives of millions of smokers who cannot or will not stop using nicotine,” she said.

“Nicotine does not cause lung disease, heart disease or cancer. There are people who are never going to be able to stop smoking nicotine and there are safer ways than smoking to take nicotine in," she added.

Elaine Keller stopped smoking 'traditional' cigarettes in 2009 and she firmly believes that her health has since improved. 

"I smoked for decades and I tried everything you could imagine to stop but every time I stopped using nicotine I became very ill. For me this[the e-cigarette] is a life safer, it's an answer to a prayer."

"Like a lot of folks who smoked for decades and tried dozens of times to quit without success, using every method imaginable, I see this invention as a life-saver.

“I used to be kept awake at night by the sound of my own wheezing. I used to cough up nasty stuff every morning. Now, the wheezing is gone and so is the cough.

“The best part is that I can laugh out loud without going into a fit of coughing," she added.
Some medical experts have called for the products to be regulated but Elaine Keller does not agree.

"They're not treating nicotine addiction. What they're doing is being used as a substitute for smoking which is obviously less harmful if you just look at what's happened with my own health."

I have nothing against e-cigarettes or any other smokeless tobacco product. Far from it. I believe in consumer choice and the more choice the better as long as it's informed and, in respect of tobacco, restricted to adults.

I want to learn more about smokeless tobacco products and Forest will, I hope, lead the way in providing consumers with as much information as possible so you can make an informed choice.

But I guarantee this. We will not turn our backs on smokers nor will we defend one group of tobacco consumers at the expense of another.

See: E-cigarettes to be regulated as tobacco products

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Reader Comments (18)

Almost since I started to use (in Nov 2007) and later comment on e-cigs, there have been divisions.

In the early days of CASAA I wrote to them expressing concerns about some of the literature being put out that seemed to denigrate people who smoke. I was assured that was not the intent, though the almost 'anti-smoking' like rhetoric did continue.

The US certainly had a problem. Due to the way their legislation is constructed the e-cig would be pushed into either the Drug (Medicine) category and probably banned or the tobacco category. There was a big push for the Tobacco category as this meant they could not be banned.

Within the tobacco category there is provision for different treatment of tobacco products. For instance Snus (although having similar warnings to tobacco) is not banned in the US. There is a lot of representation to have the regulations around smokeless changed and the e-cig has been part of this push.

Note it could take upto 2 years for the FDA to put in place regulations. At this time they will make proposals on regulation and these will have to be approved.

In the UK there is some 'anti-smoking' sentiment though not nearly as vehement as the US. Even so, it would seem the anti-smoking groups have done a good job with the dubious information they have put out. I see stock phrases repeated and get dispondant as even when challenged the same lines come back again.

Also in the UK we have a different regulatory framework that allows, for the time being, e-cigs to be in the general product category. Many are trying to keep this. The recent MHRA consultation resulted in 'No Change' despite the core Anti-Smoking groups wanting them to be regulated as Medicines. The MHRA are now doing 'research' on the direction they should take. There is also an EU consultation on the tobacco directive which may affect smokeless and traditional tobacco products.

We also have in the UK a negative view towards the e-cig, the 'plastik fag', from people who smoke. Indeed some will not support the e-cig as a matter of policy.

I welcome you saying "We will not turn our backs on smokers nor will we defend one group of tobacco consumers at the expense of another." I agree and defend all groups and their freedoms.

The E-cig community is growing and following the formation of the ECITA (Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Asscociation) there are now moves underway to launch the ECCA (UK) (Electronic Cigarette Consumers Association). Hopefuly the ECCA (UK) will engage with FOREST as there is much common ground.

Vaping is a choice, smoking is a choice, they can easily coexist.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 13:25 | Unregistered Commenterwest2

Any organisation connected to the ecig industry benefits (at the moment, at least) from smoking bans, in the same way that drug companies do. Ecig sellers and users appear to have little in common with smokers. The users often seem to come over like zealous ex-smokers who are pleased they no longer stink of tobacco.. Why should an ecig user care passionately about overturning a smoking ban. Perhaps he/she doesn't want smoking back in pubs. I don't see any benefit in Forest having anything to do with ecigs. I'm not against them - I've got one (doesn't work for me). They are different products and there is a conflict of interest.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 13:41 | Unregistered CommenterJon

Apart from some blogs the anti tobacco vapers seem to be a minority. I have taken the trouble to meet some of them and they share the same contempt for ASH that we do. Junk science, manipulated statistics and science by press release.

Also vaping has shown the anti smokers up for what they are, not interested in health but in control with a major conflict of interests with pharmaceutical companies. A while ago I did an interview with E cigarette Direct, here it is.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 13:47 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Cast your mind back a few years, I am not sure how many, probably between 5 and 10. It suddenly became 'fashionable' among certain teens, to walk about with baby's dummies clenched firmly in their mouths. What sort of people were these? I asked myself at the time. These people wasn't 3 year old children, using a dummy as a pacifiers, which its American name suggests.

I can understand, babies being given dummies to placate them when mother's breast feeding isn't available, but older children? I just couldn't understand it. What was it they were really looking for? Mummy's breast milk perhaps? I doubt it. It certainly didn't make them look 'cool' and most definitely didn't make them look 'grown up', so why did teenage children feel the need to emulate a three month old baby, and openly suck on a piece of plastic?

I never found a real answer to this question. I just saw them as totally silly and not fulfilling any real need, and I was so pleased when the ridiculous habit ended.

Now however, we have this new 'dummy', with its insipid name, 'Vapestick'. Can you imagine speaking to someone at a party, and offering them a 'Vapestick' in the same way one would offer a cigarette? Or how about offering that girl/guy you just met to "fancy coming outside for a Vapestick?" Good God, you'd be laughed off the planet!

What's next - how about hypodermic needles, but instead of being filled with heroin, they could be filled with warm tea? Or hamburgers that stop you getting obese, by being filled with air, instead of fatty meat? Maybe we could have cars that do not pollute the atmosphere as well, because they do not have a fuel tank, and don't go anywhere? Well come on, be honest, that's exactly what a Vapestick does isn't it?

Vapesticks - forget about them - Dummies are for dummies!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 14:03 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

I agree with Dave and West2, vapers (unlike smokers) have had to face the prospect that their product will be banned and it has happened in places, as Dave says there is a conflict of interest with pharmaceutical companies.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 14:08 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda

I should add Tim Martin has banned e cigs fro his Wetherspoons pubs and Continental Airlines have also banned customers too on their flights. If you go to Dick Puddlecote's blog there was Rush Limbaugh who was vaping in Hawaii and the people eating asked him to stop, despite being outside.

As e cigs become more widespread this may decrease but in the meantime we do have a common cause.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 14:21 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Just to prove a point heer is a vaping blog bashing ASH, it does not take prisoners.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 15:35 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

The term 'E-cig' does evoke a cigarette look alike. There are though many different types and mods out there. Some look more like a cigar some a plain box.

There is of course the e-pipe which can be almost identical in appearence to a tobacco pipe. Would you share a pipe unless it were a peace pipe?

So there are in some cases similarities and in others quite marked differences. Despite the marketting, Vaping and Smoking are not identical and much confusion reigns when people assume they are.

Note sure the term 'vapestick' is very prevalent and (IMHO) is a little comic as you say,

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 15:44 | Unregistered Commenterwest2

Maybe the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Hopefully the anti tobacco lobby have bitten off more than they can chew by now.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 18:06 | Unregistered CommenterKate

That's all fine as long we don't end up being denied choice to continue smoking tobacco while being forced by these all powerful smoke free groups to take E Cigs as I don't like them and don't want them personally.

We are already denied so much choice when it comes to tobacco - what brands we can buy, where we can smoke it, where we can buy it, what packaging it'll be in - that I wonder what's left to choose except the right to smoke if we want to. That will be gone from us if smoke free get their way and we are backed into the 18.5% minority corner in five years time which may well be when we are told we have to smoke e cigs or quit "because other smokers do and smoking tobacco will soon be a criminal offence".

Can you say it won't be Simon? I sure as hell can't.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 18:49 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

I agree partly with Pat. I have an ecig but I do not particularly like it - it does nothing for me. But I do not see the ecig being used as a tool for ASH et al to batter smokers further. If they did, they would have to agree to the growing of the tobacco plant, and, although they do not say so as yet, I cannot help but feel that their ultimate aim is the eradication of the plant, even for medicinal purposes, 'for the greater good'.

I have been 'forced' to go on a Mediterranean cruise later in the year. I say 'forced' because it is an American boat and smoking is not permitted in cabins or on balconies (although they do have smoking areas). No way would I go go on such a trip voluntarily - however, it is my grand-daughter's wedding, and I would not wish to miss it for anything. I think that that is where the ecig might come into its own - 'Needs must where the Devil drives'.

When ecigs first came out, I thought that we should all, smokers and vapers (is that word pronounced VAP as in 'cap' or as in 'cape'?), be on the same side. I have seen vapers saying that they have been relieved of 'the stink' etc, but they should realise that they are not out of the woods yet. They have still every reason to be afraid of the zealots, especially if they like a pint with their ecig. There is still a lot of persecution to come. Freedom is not something to be lightly tossed away in favour of vaping.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 22:52 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

Each to their own. I bought an ecig kit to try it out. For me personally, vaping is a habit I will not be partaking in. I tried it, not as a replacement (I still smoked properly) but to see if it suited me. Yes, I got the nicotine, but it was by charging batteries and replacing cartridges. The phsycological pleasure of a fag break however was totally missing.

I am not a person who enjoys having to deal with negative public reaction, so I would never want to vape in a pub or restaurant or shopping mall. As I said, each to their own. I have an inhalator and some very nice minty nicorette gum. When I go out, 9 times out of 10 I don't take tobacco, I take my puffer and gum, using whichever is most convenient (as a trombone player gum is not always possible). This is simply because the fanatics have made it so damn difficult when you are out, especially when you are inside...yes, I suppose you could say they have created an inside out public place for smokers!

As a footnote, may I say that I am unaware of any airline where you can vape onboard, with the possible exception of Ryanair, but I wouldn't know, as I have never flown with them.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 23:20 | Unregistered Commentertimbone

Flying with Monarch, last year, they made a point of saying that ecigs were not allowed. Earlier this month, I do not remember them mentioning it. It is hard to say what is going on. It would not surprise me, after this ruling in the US, if they do not start to permit them - provided, of course, that they are purchased on the plane!

Curiouser and curiouser.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 0:40 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

I greatly commend you for your article and stance on defending ALL current and former smokers. Far too often, journalists do a "Google Grab" and cast a shallow net for information in which to base their reports. From what I have read, you have made the almost unprecedented step of giving real credence to the opinions of the camps weighing in on this issue.

I do hope my friend and colleague, Elaine Keller's comments weren't taken out of context. We at CASAA tread a razor-thin line of what we can LEGALLY say in defense of e-cigarettes and the entire harm reduction movement in general. Throwing smokers "under the bus" is not, nor has it ever been, a tactic or viewpoint of CASAA.

I was greatly encouraged by the fact that you gave Elaine's email a fourth category in your filing system. If you'll look at our site ( you will find that we post only accredited research, journals and studies in our attempt to educate the public as to the truth about harm reduction. Unlike many have been led to believe, "Quit or Die" is not the only option available.

Best Regards,

Michal "Webby" Douglas | President - CASAA.ORG
Consumer Advocates for Smokefree Alternatives Assoc.
182 St Francis Street; STE 300 Mobile, AL 36602
T: 251.285.8500 Fx: 251.445.1043 Skype: CASAAHQ

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 5:11 | Unregistered CommenterMichal "Webby" Douglas


You maybe interested in a speech I made at British Medical Journal conference in Amsterdam whether smoking is a disease or a habit. I debated for the latter.

My conclusion would be if I was a tobacco or pharmaceutical company I would design an E cigarette or buy an E cigarette company.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 8:24 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Twixt and tween over these things. They're not a bad idea to get round bans and cut down on cost but, atm. they're not good enough. They advertise one cartridge being the equivalent of 10-20 fags but, as I like a strong kick and use a large atomiser, I'm lucky to get 3-4 fags worth out of them in either cartridge or liquid. I've no intention of giving up and starving myself of what I've been used to for 50 years but I would like to reduce costs by mixing both and it doesn't work. Throw in the battery life and chargers etc. and they've still a long way to go in a practical sense.

They're a bit poseurish, though, and like others, I'm turned off by those who scream 'I'm off the fags' by using them.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 8:46 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Unfortunately, at this time, there's a HUGE range in what is "good" hardware for an ecig and what isn't. The same goes for how you use it - do you use pre-filled cartridges? Fill them yourself with purchased liquids? Directly drip the liquid onto your attomizer?

In many ways, at this stage, it's like calling yourself a smoker - and you get a pipe, some papers and roll your own, buy cigarettes, and puff on a cigar. Many smokers try one (say, pre-filled carts they bought at a convenience store) and decide they don't like it.

I was a smoker for 20 years, and I find that I enjoy vaping more. Most of my family is smokers, and I have nothing against it. (Though, when I ride with my brother and they can't smoke in his new truck, we have to pause for smoke breaks... Meanwhile I can vape in his truck just fine so the 5 minute pause before we go to the next store bugs me haha).

Anyway, to bring it back to point, I think we're in the same fight - and while I certainly agree there's some places where smoking just doesn't fit (hospitals, gas pumps, etc!) I think the OWNER of the business should have the ability to choose. Non-smokers can choose to 'vote' with their wallets.

Monday, May 2, 2011 at 7:52 | Unregistered CommenterDemarko

Interesting article. I enjoyed reading it. I would make a suggestion that you add a 4th group. There is a fairly large group that uses e cigarettes as an alternative to smoking but does not look down on smokers. This group has chosen for varying reasons curiosity, health, money ect...

We remember al too well what it is liked to be looked down on and in fact we are to a degree looked down on still. We respect an adults right to make their own choices whether that be smoking, vaping or not smoking.

I believe this 4th group is growing in number by the day if the forum I participate in is any indication.

Monday, May 2, 2011 at 13:22 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

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