Electronic cigarettes

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Electronic cigarettes, also known as E-cigs, Ecigs, personal vaporizer or electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS), are a battery powered device - sometimes, but not always in the form of a cigarette, that can dispense a vapor that contains nicotine, but none of the harmful chemicals found in normal cigarettes where tobacco leaves are combusted.

For some reason, anti-smokers and other health lobbyists think that these are bad things, and they should be stamped out with the same vigor that they want regular cigarettes to be. Some of the spurious claims that have been made to justify this include

  • They are a gateway to real cigarettes
  • The optional flavorings make them attractive to children
  • Second hand vaping
  • It looks like/re-normalises smoking
  • They should be classified as medicine
  • Nicotine is a poison

Pro-E-cigs references

The counterfactual

A Q&A about E-cigs which covers (at the time of writing) the following questions:

1. What is in the exhaled vapour and is it harmful to other people?

2. Does nicotine cause cancer or other health effects?

3. Does introduction of e-cigarettes have the effect of increasing smoking?

4. Is vaping a gateway to smoking for kids?

5. Are e-cigarettes just ‘renormalising’ smoking?

6. Can e-cigarettes save lives?

7. Do e-cigarette help people quit smoking?

8. Do people who switch continue vaping or move on to quit altogether?

9. The Minister of Health is not convinced of the safety of e-cigarettes – what now?

10. A health organisation has said ‘we just don’t know what’s in them’ – do we really know so little?

11. Shouldn’t people who want to quit smoking use licensed smoking cessation medicines like NRT?

12. Shouldn’t we just ban vaping indoors as we have done with smoking?

13. E-cigarette advertising is targeted at children and should be banned

14. Nicotine is a powerful poison and needs to be strictly controlled or outlawed

15. The tobacco industry is involved and they will want to force smokers to keep smoking

16. We are going to clamp down on e-cigarettes in hospitals

17. A doctor is saying nicotine is as addictive as crack cocaine, and that tobacco is just like a syringe for nicotine

18. The long term effects of inhaling e-cigarettes are not known. Should they not be restricted until it is known they are safe for continuous use?

19. E-cigarettes should be regulated as medicines to guarantee safety, quality and efficacy

20. What if the critics of e-cigarettes are wrong?

21. “E-cigarettes contain [rat poison][weed killer][anti-freeze][carcinogens][insert scary sounding chemical here]“

22. The ultimate public health aim is to remove reliance on nicotine entirely

Appendix. How well is Ireland doing on tobacco and health?


Bans and other anti-E-cigs issues

P&O Ferries ban E-cigs, Sorta - Mar 2013

A customer, Mr W[2] was told to stop using an Ecig with the member of staff citing the T&C's. However, it would appear (at least at the time) there was nothing actually in the T&C's preventing it[3].


  1. Arguing about e-cigarettes – a Q&A - The counterfactual
  2. Vapour Not Smoke - Image from Blogspot
  3. E-Cigs Banned On P&O Ferries, Avoid - Dick Puddlecote blog