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Though E-Cigarettes Are Heralded as a Means to Help Quit, Many Policymakers Vote against Them

Update Date: Apr 12, 2013 10:04 AM EDT
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Electronic cigarettes have found popularity in recent years. In fact, by one estimate, sales of electronic cigarettes in the United States are on track to surpass those of regular cigarettes in the next decade. Though many who use e-cigarettes swear by them, many lawmakers and government agencies are pushing back against them. Washington, DC lawmakers are seeking to ban them inside indoor spaces, and the Philippines has urged its citizens to abandon them altogether.

According to Metro, electronic cigarettes are often used as a transitional means in order to help smokers knock the habit. The cigarettes do not have tobacco, but contain nicotine, which they serve up to smokers in a vapor that is supposed to have a similar effect to real cigarettes. In fact, the battery-powered cigarettes are so effective that, according to one study, nearly nine out of 10 users are able to kick tobacco to the curb completely. The study found that, while 75 percent of users had intended to quit smoking tobacco in the first place, 86 percent were able to succeed.

Still, that has not made a convert out of many people in the government. In the Philippines, electronic cigarettes have gained popularity, just like in many places. However, according to GMA News Online, Kenneth Go, the chief of the Food and Drug Administration, posted an advisory on the bureau's website advising against electronic cigarettes.

It read, "Contrary to what some marketers of the electronic cigarette imply in their advertisements, the World Health Organization (WHO) does not consider it to be a legitimate therapy for smokers trying to quit...The public is advised NOT to smoke at all and NOT to use cigarettes, cigars, or e-cigarettes." He also stated that electronic cigarettes were harmful against youth, because it helped perpetuate an image to children that cigarettes were not risky.

In the United States, lawmakers are also proposing ways to discourage the use of electronic cigarettes. The Washington Post reports that two city council members of Washington, D.C. are proposing to include electronic cigarettes in a ban on indoor smoking inside businesses. The stringent ban would also allow businesses to refuse to allow people to smoke on the sidewalk outside their property.

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