Survey reveals e-cigarette market is totally bonkers right now

A man uses an E-cigarette, an electronic substitute in the form of a rod, slightly longer than a normal cigarette, in this illustration picture taken in Paris, March 5, 2013. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

A man uses an E-cigarette, an electronic substitute in the form of a rod, slightly longer than a normal cigarette, in this illustration picture taken in Paris, March 5, 2013. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

For the past two years, an average of 10 new e-cigarette brands enter the market every month, and more than 7,700 total flavors, according to a new online survey.

"The product has caught on fire," said Shu-Hong Zhu, a public health researcher at the University of California-San Diego who helped lead the research.

And in related news, a group of 129 physicians, epidemiologists and other professionals from 31 countries around the world sent an open letter to the World Health Organization this week urging the United Nations agency to impose strict regulations on electronic cigarettes.

The letter was a response to one sent last month by 53 other experts who urged the WHO to go easy on e-cigarettes, which the advocates called "part of the solution" in the fight against smoking.

Notable Replies

  1. I know many long-time cigarette addicts (decades) who have largely or totally replaced their cigarettes with e-cigs. Only a fool would claim e-cigs are completely safe (the jury is still out) but they do NOT contain the 7000+ chemicals found in burning cigarettes, including the 250 or so that are known to be harmful. Compared to your average commercial cigarette, e-cigs are pretty innocuous.

    Because of their effectiveness at weaning smokers off cigarettes, e-cigs are a miracle product and an existential threat to Big Tobacco (which is why they're trying to jump into the game) and the lucrative nicotine patch/gum business. Attempts to ban e-cigs in public places like parks are extremely misguided and counterproductive. Regulate them, even ban advertising (nicotine-containing e-cigs are still addictive) but don't try to snuff them out entirely.

  2. The first time I saw an e-cig was when some guy started bragging about how he could smoke anywhere now. He then promptly started vaping in the middle of a public library.

    On the one hand, yeah, sure. They are safer. But on the other, the dude was a total tool; if he even represents 1% of the vapers out there, keep 'em restricted.

  3. Yeah.... no. You can't ban tools, you can only really stay a step behind them. Don't let them ruin things for everyone.

  4. After almost a decade of smoking, I had my last cigarette 3 months ago, and haven't looked back. I have my sense of smell and taste back, and am beginning to feel significant improvements in my breathing. Also, I generally smell like fruit these days, instead of cigarette smoke. smiley

    I tried the patch and the gum, and both made me feel sick, so the e-cig has been amazing. I can control exactly how much nicotine I get throughout the day, and have been decreasing that amount over time. Also, I only vape where smoking cigarettes is allowed.

    I'm not against regulation, I just think that an emerging market with so many benefits needs to be handled with care, and not stomped on indiscriminately just because some people are jerks, or in the interests of big business.

  5. I tell this story everywhere, whenever the topic comes up. I smoked for 23 years. I started when I was 10. It took me three days to make the switch, and I haven't looked back. It's been over a year now - 15 months if we're being exact. I breathe better, I smell better, my sense of taste/smell is more acute. My quality of life is better.

    There are, in general, two kinds of vapers in the world these days: the jerks like @ben_ehlers described above, and the folks (like myself) who take it seriously as both a hobby and as a harm-reduction tool that has helped us quit smoking. Even we cringe at those who think that it's a free pass to blow rings in peoples faces everywhere they go. The jackholes with the vapes who are so proud to be able to do it anywhere they want were the same smokers who totally didn't care about pissing off non-smokers, smoking around kids, etc.

    Beneath the totally bonkers market is a tight community that's part Maker, part Homebrew enthusiast, part high-end collectors, part political action/activism and a big part addiction support group. We share recipes and open source schematics and start cottage industries, we support charities and spread the newest research, and we swap and donate gear, because every cigarette someone doesn't have is a victory.

    [mod edit: removed ableist slur]

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