Smokeless Smokers

May 25, 2011

The Philadelphia Inquirer

As the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, battery-powdered "e-cigarettes" -- no matches needed -- give consumers a nicotine fix without the burning tobacco haze, hazards, and stench of their old-fashioned counterparts. Some people turn to these products to help quit smoking. But there is a debate among public health experts about whether they actually are a safe alternative to other tobacco products. "The real question is not whether e-cigarettes are better than cigarettes. The questions is whether e-cigarettes are better than treatment -- real treatment," said Frank Leone, MD, director of the Comprehensive Smoking Treatment Program at Penn. Some worry that e-cigarettes could be a distraction for people who otherwise would quit smoking entirely, or could be an easy gateway to tobacco for youngsters. Critics, including the FDA and the American Cancer Society, see e-cigs as having some toxic properties and risky until proved benign. Read More