E cigarettes good or bad? Take our poll

Suddenly, e cigarettes seem to be everywhere and so far, there is no regulation at the local, state or federal levels. There are a growing number of bans, but the science has only done some studies on the vapor and its effects on users, as well as people who are around secondhand vapor.

California State Senate Bill 648, which was introduced in late February, requires e cigarettes to be regulated as a tobacco product and be included in existing smoke free laws.

Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine at the University of California, said he supports the bill becoming law. Glantz told Team 10 the state should mandate that people cannot use an e cigarette where traditional cigarettes are banned.

But many users argue e cigarettes are a better choice than tobacco cigarettes.

(See results of e cigarettes tested in a special lab, tonight on 10News at 11 p.m.)

Christine Gentry smoked at home, in the car and at her job in a casino until she started using e cigarettes. And she has not gone back.

“It doesn&#39 t smell bad,” said Gentry. “It&#39 s much cheaper. No yellow teeth.”

Gentry is the chief operating officer of Vapure, a San Diego based e cigarette company with seven stores.

The company&#39 s store in Mission Valley, which is inside a regular office building, was busy the entire time Team 10 visited the shop and interviewed Gentry.

She said they do not sell e cigarettes as a smoking cessation device, though she said many customers turn to the product to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes.

“If they ask us, we tell them there are over 4,000 chemicals in a cigarette and they are hundreds of dollars a month,” Gentry said. “In electronic cigarettes, there are four ingredients. We make it ourselves and the price is a fraction of the cost.”

She said those ingredients are pharmaceutical grade nicotine like you find in the patch, vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol and flavorings for the refill liquid made by food grade companies.

Glantz gave an overview on how e cigarettes work.

“The way an e cigarette works is it heats up a mixture of nicotine, propylene glycol and other chemicals and that heated mixture becomes an aerosol which is inhaled deeply into your lungs to deliver the addictive drug nicotine,” she said.

The professor and other critics believe e cigarettes do not help people quit smoking because users reportedly use e cigarettes and cigarettes at the same time.

“Most of the people, about 80 percent of people who use e cigarettes, keep smoking regular cigarettes,” said Glantz.

Young adults, children

Critics of e cigarettes say the companies market to children.

“It is very much like old fashioned cigarette marketing, with the addition of all these high tech and kiddie things, like flavors,” said Glantz.

E cigarette users can choose from hundreds of different flavored liquids. Some of the favorites at Vapure are strawberry mango freeze, melon and snickerdoodle.

Critics say the flavors are a draw for kids a way to get younger people to get into smoking.

Gentry said her business does not market to kids and does not sell to underage customers. She added that police have been to the shop to make sure.

“We aren&#39 t posting billboards in front of elementary schools, but at the same time, if we are marketing to children, then so is cherry vodka or vanilla rum,” Gentry said.

But Glantz refutes the industry&#39 s denial. He said smoking for kids is at an all time high. He points to a Center for Disease Control Study that says cigarette use has doubled among kids in middle and high school.

READ CDC report on Electronic Cigarette Use Among Middle and High School Students United States, 2011 2012

“They could well be serving as a new route in nicotine addiction for adolescents,” he said, adding the slick advertising is attractive to kids, too.


The government banned television and radio ads for cigarettes in 1970 and ads on smokeless tobacco were banned in 1986.

But big tobacco is back on air, now pushing electronic cigarettes.

Actor Stephen Dorf did a series of ads for Blu, an e cigarette brand owned by the tobacco company Lorillard, and Reynolds America is running a commercial in Colorado for their e cigarette, Vuse.

“They are using celebrities. They are using sex. They are using glamour,” Glantz said.

He also said research shows the e cigarette ads are triggering relapses in people who have long quit smoking.

The e cigarette industry maintains its product can only help smokers, not hurt them.

Proposed ban

San Diego County is considering a ban of e cigarettes indoors, with the proposed guidelines expected to be released in the coming days.

“The most important thing to do about e cigarettes is to include them in clean indoor air laws can&#39 t be used indoors where you can&#39 t smoke conventional cigarettes,” said Glantz.

Team 10 asked San Diego&#39 s mayoral candidates where they stand on banning e cigarettes indoors and in public places.

“As a father of two young kids, I tell them not to smoke cigarettes,” said mayoral candidate Kevin Faulconer. “So, I want to do everything I can on education to make sure that people know what&#39 s the right thing to do and what&#39 s the wrong thing to do.”

Mayoral candidate David Alvarez said, “I&#39 d definitely be interested in looking at that proposal and what other cities are doing to make sure that we continue to keep the public safe, and public healthy, and so we&#39 ll look at that as those come forward.”

Gentry believes the bans are misguided and not fair for e cigarette users.

“It&#39 s really unfair to be put in a smoking section, experiencing secondhand smoke, standing with the smokers, when we tried for some years to quit smoking,” Gentry said. “Now we are put in the same area with the smokers.”

Vista, Carlsbad and San Diego State University already have bans, and so do some major cities across the country, such as New York.

Smoking habits, local brand cigarettes and lung … [j epidemiol. 1997] – pubmed – ncbi

Cigarette smoking guide

To disclose the association between smoking habits and lung cancer in Okinawa, Japan, we analyzed the data from a case control study conducted from 1988 to 1991. The analysis, based on 333 cases and 666 age , sex and residence matched population controls, provided the following major findings. (a) The odds ratios (ORs) for current smokers relative to nonsmokers were much greater for squamous cell carcinoma than for adenocarcinoma. The OR was 9.82 for squamous cell carcinoma and 2.18 for adenocarcinoma in males, 28.2 and 1.14, correspondingly, in females. (b) Males who quit smoking for 20 years or more demonstrated no elevated lung cancer risk. (c) Among male current smokers, the more the number of cigarettes smoked per day, the higher the lung cancer risk for both cell types, but particularly for squamous cell carcinoma. In contrast, deep smoke inhalation significantly increased the risk for adenocarcinoma in particular. (d) Okinawan brand cigarettes were more strongly associated with the risk, compared with other brand ones. This finding might partly explain the higher frequency of lung cancer in males with the relatively lower smoking rate in Okinawa.