Blog | Tuesday, March 25, 2014

To vape or not to vape

This e-cigarette thing is getting interesting.

Proponents: They’re an alternative to smoking. They’re acceptable in public, even indoors. They have no tar, tobacco, or carcinogens. They help people QUIT smoking. [They’re cool.] They’re collectible. They will do to cigarettes “what the computer did to the typewriter.”

Opponents: Nicotine, whether in an e-cig or a tobacco cigarette, is still bad for you—and addictive. There’s no EVIDENCE [yet] that e-cigarettes are safe. There’s no EVIDENCE [yet] that they help people quit smoking—that’s just marketing hype. The vape (yes, verb form is “vapor,” gerund form: “vaping”) industry has already been co-opted by Big Tobacco and it’s marketing muscle, and e-cigs are already being marketed at kids, to get them hooked early.

We’re living in the Wild West, as far as vaping is concerned. Enjoy all the rhetoric around vaping for another year, until scientific evidence builds. Trust that it will. There’s a lot of money at stake.

This post by John H. Schumann, MD, FACP, originally appeared at GlassHospital. Dr. Schumann is a general internist. His blog, GlassHospital, seeks to bring transparency to medical practice and to improve the patient experience.