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What is an E-Cigarette?

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For years, smokers of traditional tobacco cigarettes have been looking for a way to cut down or eliminate their need to puff away on something that clearly is not good for them. Practically every bit of advice from doctors on how to cure what ails them begins with “you really need to quit smoking.”

Unfortunately, nicotine is extremely addictive and quitting smoking is easier said than done. “Stop smoking” aids such as the patch, Nicorette gum, nicotine inhalers and a variety of techniques ranging from subliminal “quit smoking” audio recordings to hypnosis or even acupuncture have had dismal success rates, at best.

Add to that the fact that many tobacco smokers simply do not want to quit smoking, reasoning, “We’re all going to die eventually; I want to be happy while I’m here and cigarettes are one of the few pleasures in life I can count on!” Deep inside, they’d like to stop inhaling the 4,000-plus chemicals and the more than 40 known carcinogens, but there hasn’t ever been anything that could replace the cigarette in terms of its ability to provide the pleasures of nicotine or the hand to mouth stimulation that has become an ingrained part of their habit.

Deep inside, they’d like to stop inhaling the 4,000-plus chemicals and the more than 40 known carcinogens, but there hasn’t ever been anything that could replace the cigarette in terms of its ability to provide the pleasures of nicotine or the hand to mouth stimulation that has become an ingrained part of their habit.

The quest for a “safe cigarette” has been around for as long as the Surgeon General’s first warning that cigarettes were harmful. All efforts to produce such a device have been fruitless until fairly recently, when the electronic cigarette, also known as an e-cigarette, electric cigarette or personal vaporizer was invented.

The e-cigarette is a battery-powered device that allows users to inhale a mostly water-based vapor into their lungs and exhale it, emulating the smoking of a normal cigarette.

The liquid that is vaporized can contain anywhere from zero milligrams of nicotine to 36mg of nicotine, based on the user’s preference, and is a mixture of water and either propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine (or both).

The main advantage of the electronic cigarette is that it allows the user to still get their nicotine “fix” without inhaling the toxic chemicals and cancerous substances present due to the combustion of tobacco in traditional cigarettes.

Contrary to the disinformation about propylene glycol or, to a lesser extent, vegetable glycerine that claims they may be harmful additives, many studies have been conducted dating back to the 1940s on these chemicals and they are generally regarded as safe.Propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine are used in a variety of foods, drugs and germicidal disinfectants that we use every day.
History of the E-Cigarette

The electronic cigarette was originally patented in April 2003 by SBT Co. Ltd., a Beijing-based company that sold its first e-cigarette in China in May of 2004. During its first three years of sales SBT, now owned by Ruyan, saw sales increase from $1.7 million USD in 2004 to $37 million USD in 2006. In April of 2007, the electronic cigarette was first introduced in Europe and sales dramatically increased.

Because of the internet, a few people started to take notice of e-cigarettes in the United States in late 2007 but the only trickle of interest was initially shown. Until 2009, less than 1 out of 1,000 people in the US had probably even heard of the devices.

From 2009 to 2010, the growth in popularity of electronic cigarettes has been staggering – mostly due to its rapidly growing popularity within the United States.

Because of this growing popularity, the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries have been losing a piece of their pie and have been pressuring health organizations and government agencies to ban the devices.

The FDA, which receives the vast majority of its funding from the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries, has been more than willing to comply with the wishes of their two major cash cows and recently issued a ban on imports of the devices and their components.

They continue to make their way into this country, however, despite the efforts of “the powers that be” to squash this movement toward a purportedly healthier alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes.

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