I'm not a smoker. But I've known so many friends and family members -- including my mother and husband -- who struggled and succeeded in kicking the habit. I'm pretty sure they would tell you quitting cigarettes is one of the most difficult, if not the number one most difficult, thing they've ever had to do. And I'm talking about some strong-as-nails people here. For some, electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, have served as a godsend at times when they've felt desperate and on the verge of picking up a stick. But new laws, including one that was just passed in Los Angeles, are popping up across the country and are pretty much making it impossible for smokers to use this method to kick their habit.
The laws treat e-cigarettes just as if they were actual cigarettes, prohibiting people from using the vapor devices in most public places, including parks and beaches. Former smokers have even been banned from smoking e-cigs in bars and nightclubs -- venues that arguably tempt smokers to pick up their habit again.
People who feel passionately that e-cigarettes should not be treated as a positive alternative to smoking say the devices make smoking more socially acceptable and could possibly attract nonsmokers and encourage them to light up. Proponents of e-cigs argue they are not the same as tobacco and that's it is crazy to treat them the same way.
Here's one thing it seems like both sides can agree on: more research needs to be done on e-cigarettes in order to determine whether they can actually be addictive AND what, if any, second-hand emissions they produce that could potentially harm others.
I understand the need to be proceed with caution with a device that hasn't been given a doctor's stamp of approval yet. It seems silly to me that all necessary testing and research wasn't performed prior to marketing these devices, just so manufacturers could cover all of their bases.
With that said, we ARE 100 percent certain that smoking actual cigarettes can lead to lung disease and cancer. We ARE 100 percent certain that people who smoke cigarettes need to quit. If there's any way they can do this, short of snorting a drug that is far worse than nicotine, it should be considered a positive step in the right direction. E-cigarettes have helped a great many people quit smoking and I hate to think how much more they'll struggle having to kick the habit without help.
Do you agree or disagree with the e-cigarette laws?
Image via DayTripper (Tom)/Flickr