When Trevor Robinson started smoking as a teenager, he never dreamed it would become an addiction that would be hard to escape. By the time he was in his twenties, he was smoking two packs a day and knew something had to change. “I was one of those people who lit a cigarette with a cigarette,” he remembers. Today, everything has changed for Robinson. Instead of puffing away on cigarettes, he has turned to battery powered ecigs to get his nicotine fix. He’s been able to completely kick his tobacco addiction and is close to being nicotine-free as he is slowly weaning himself down using lower nicotine levels in his ecig.
Robinson’s story is inspiring, but it’s certainly not the only tale of tobacco use defeated with the help of ecigs. A recent survey from the CDC revealed that almost half of American smokers have tried ecigs and more than half were able to successfully quit smoking. Despite the evidence that ecigs are effective for smokers who want to quit, the FDA refuses to approve them as a smoking cessation product. As debate rages about the safety of ecigarettes, some researchers are looking for definitive answers on whether ecigs really are a safer option.
Tim McAuley, founder of CHANGE, recently announced plans to launch a new study about how secondhand ecig vapor impacts air quality. He plans to look at how ecig vapor is dispersed specifically in multi-level buildings and ventilation systems. This should give the FDA some much needed guidance on whether public ecig use poses any major threat.
“My research is going to look at what the chemical constituents and components are that could result from use of the new standard type e-cigarette in a building and in other open spaces that could draw concerns for exposures,” McAuley said. “As a result of that, we’ll provide a major answer to the literature right now that is currently lacking. Whatever the results show, they’re going to be public, and they’re always for that. Nobody is interested in junk science where if it says this, let’s not say anything. I’d never enter into anything that we weren’t able to be 100 percent involved in.”
It’s certainly a step in the right direction, but McAuley isn’t the first to look at ecig vapor in a lab. Previous studies concluded that ecig vapor is harmless to innocent bystanders and poses no more risk than regular room air. Do you think repeated research is needed on this issue? Will the FDA actually take McAuley’s conclusions under consideration before issuing deeming regulations?