E-cigs and Hookahs Creating Risks
More e-cigarettes and increased hookah use means more bad news
Reynolds American and Lorillard and E-cigs
I saw my first e-cigarette awhile ago. I was stopped at a traffic light and a woman in the car next to me took a long drag on a colorful thin wand and exhaled a big steam of smoke, and then lowered the e-cig. I was surprised that I was so surprised, especially since there’s an e-cig store in the next town, which I may have already mentioned. But often, there’s a disconnect between knowing about something and seeing it for the first time.
I’m glad I’m not actually assigned to cover e-cigs, either as a staff journalist or as an analyst. Right now, they seem even more complicated a subject than the legalization of marijuana across the U.S. And of course I’d have to detail Reynolds American’s plant to buy Lorillard, which, according to the NYT, shows “how important e-cigarettes have become to the declining tobacco industry. Both companies have “push[ed] hard into e-cigarettes,” with Lorillard having an e-cig subsidiary which it sold to a British company.
It sounds unbelievable, but there are more than 7,000 e-cig flavors available now, and about 250 flavors being introduced each month. The problem is that although the FDA is proposing regulations for e-cigarettes, it has said nothing yet about marketing or flavors, the very thing that seems to be attracting consumers. And still the debate rages over whether e-cigarettes are attracting young people and whether they really are all that successful in helping others stop smoking.
E-cigs as a Flight Hazard
In August, an e-cigarette was cited as the possible cause of the smoldering in a bag brought onto a plane at Logan Airport in Boston. The Massachusetts fire marshal is investigating, and the Director of Aviation at the airport and the local F.A.A. inspectors are involved as well. E-cigs use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, and officials are trying to determine if they should be banned from planes. The thought of this danger on a plane is mind-blowing. According to the article, e-cigarettes have already caused a number of house fires while the battery is being recharged.
Hookahs and Hookah Pens
According to NYU researchers, hookahs are extremely dangerous, and at least 1 in 5 high school seniors have used one in the last 12 months. One of the researchers said that it’s usually students with a higher socioeconomic status that are using them, and hookah use is more prevalent in cities.
Also, students most likely to use hookahs are those who have used alcohol pot or other illicit substances. What’s disturbing, researchers say, is that hookah pens are becoming more popular, which may change the use patterns. In one post I mentioned that hookah pens are a type of e-cig, or just another name for an e-cig, but if hookahs are more dangerous than regular cigarettes, wouldn’t hookah pens be more dangerous than e-cigs, too?
Here’s the danger: “Studies estimate one hookah session can be the equivalent of smoking from 10 to 40 cigarettes.” That’s because smokers sit around and have such a long hookah session. And there’s this: “A study funded by the National Institutes of Health reports a single hookah session delivers 1.7 times the nicotine, 6.5 times the carbon monoxide and 46.4 times the tar of a single cigarette.” People may think that because tobacco or the smoke is passed through water it’s a healthier habit than smoking, but it’s not.