An estimate of 45.3 million people in the United States smoke cigarettes according to the Center for Disease Control. In an article by Max Fisher from the Washington Post, people consume roughly 1,000 cigarettes per capita annually.
It was discovered in the 40’s and 50’s that cigarettes were the leading cause of a lung cancer epidemic.
According to pubmed.gov, “cigarettes cause about 1.5 million deaths from lung cancer per year.”
Cigarettes are still being rapidly produced, however, maybe in part to the high-speed making process. Machines can pump out 20,000 cigarettes per minute, making them quick and easy to manufacture.
Although the health concerns are a major issue, quitting smoking can be very difficult. There are many different methods that people use to try and kill the addiction. Such as: nicotine replacement therapy, patches, gum, inhalers and lozenges, hypnosis and acupuncture.
A newly developed method is the electronic cigarette. Electronic cigarettes, often referred to as vapors, are battery-operated devices which convert liquid nicotine into a mist allowing smokers to consume their nicotine fix without the harmful chemicals such as carbon dioxide and tar that accompany smoking tobacco cigarettes.
“I was seeing if it was an alternative. I accidentally quit because of it,” said Jacob Davis, Tyler Junior College theatre professor and supporter of e-cigs. Davis smoked for 13 years and had been trying to quit since his first child was born three years ago. After trying different methods, Davis looked into e-cigarettes and has been using one since August of this year.
“Vaping was the only thing that helped me stop,” said Davis.
Besides the health benefits to vaping versus smoking tobacco products, there are many other pluses to e-cigarettes.
“It (smoking) was expensive and smelled bad…This (e-cigarette) will have paid for itself in about three months cigarette wise. A small bottle of the juice that goes in here is about the same price (as a pack of cigarettes), but it lasts for much, much longer,” Jack Ragland, a TJC theatre alumni said. Ragland has been vaping for about two months now.
“I tried smoking a week after this; couldn’t do it. It was just disgusting,” Ragland said.
Another plus to vapors that many people mention is the elimination of the tobacco scent that goes along with regular cigarettes.
“No one wants to smell like an ash tray,” Davis said.
The popularity of e-cigarettes has progressively increased over the past few years with the sales doubling each year since 2008. Sales are expected to reach $1.7 billion this year.
A differing quality that e-cigarettes have among other smoking products is the way the nicotine is consumed; a way that many people find therapeutic.
“The act of smoking is still there which I think is huge in the addiction. It’s the hand to mouth thing that you can’t get from the patch or gum,” said Lee Ann Gutierrez a social work major at TJC.
Despite the decreased health risks, the question has arisen whether or not e-cigarettes should be allowed to be smoked indoors, or in the classrooms.
“I don’t think that (smoking in class) would be appropriate… Where I work it is not allowed anywhere indoors even though it’s just vapor. It’s not allowed anywhere inside. I kinda’ think that’s how it will remain,” Gutierrez said.
Lakia Harris, a TJC student echoed the same opinion.
“You wouldn’t smoke a regular cigarette in class, so why would you smoke a regular cigarette in class?”
Whether or not e-cigarettes will eventually be allowed to be smoked anywhere is yet to be determined. Only time will tell.