Story by Jordan Hyde
“Freedom to have a cigarette without the guilt,” claims Jenny McCarthy, a famous American model, comedian and actress.
This is the belief that many hold true about the electronic cigarette, also know as the “e-cigarette.”
This is also the message that e-cigarette companies are delivering to their consumers.
Different brands of e-cigarettes are advertising their form of cigarettes as a safer way to smoke both for the smoker and bystanders.
However, Europe is not buying into this new fad.
The European Parliament has recently approved new rules that place restrictions on e-cigarettes similar to the ones on other tobacco products.
These new rules in Europe will place a ban on advertisements of e-cigarettes and require that they be childproof.
The rules will also demand that there be safety warnings placed on the packaging and a limit of 20 milligrams of nicotine per e-cigarette.
These new regulations in Europe are different from the way America has approached the e-cigarette craze.
America is moving much slower than Europe on placing strict regulations on e-cigarettes.
The only regulation America has seen thus far on the e-cigarette is state-wide rather than a federal regulation.
These state and city rules are placing a ban on e-cigarettes in certain public places in New York and Chicago.
A regulation we may expect to see in the near future will place stricter rules on some of the marketing practices used by e-cigarette makers, such as celebrity spokespeople.
However, American lawmakers do not seem to be in any hurry to enforce these regulations.
This may be due to the desire for making e-cigarettes a better alternative to regular cigarettes.
The FDA wants to be careful when placing rules on e-cigarettes in hopes of not hindering their potential positive impact on society.
Contrary to this, many experts believe that it is still too early to determine the health benefits or risks of e-cigarettes.
This belief seems to resonate with students at Drake University as well.
“I think it is premature to say whether e-cigarettes are actually safer than regular cigarettes,” said Allison Sawyer, a junior health sciences major.
“There hasn’t been enough time lapse to show the long term effects of the vapor that is released from the e-cigarette and its effects on the smoker and the people around them,” Sawyer said.
Sally Haack, a professor of clinical sciences, said she thinks e-cigarettes could encourage younger people to start smoking at an earlier age due to their availability online.
Haack agrees there needs to be more data provided on the health impact of e-cigarettes before we encourage their use.
“E-cigarettes are a form of harm reduction,” Haack said. “Although they don’t contain tobacco, they still contain nicotine, which is a stimulant that shouldn’t be dismissed.”