Peering through the haze...

Joe Nocera responded to recent CDC data on increasing us of E-Cigarette

The kids have it right. If you are going to use nicotine, then why not use a safer form? Young people will experiment with many drugs including marijuana, alcohol, and “party pills” Nicotine often becomes the drug of choice for mood modulation and self-medication because of the convenience of the delivery system.

No one is able to state with any scientific certainty that electronic cigarettes are safer than standard combusted cigarettes, but consumers may not want to wait for evidence that may be decades away. Young people who have grown up with anti-smoking messages may be more prepared to avoid traditional cigarettes entirely and it certainly appears that inhaling vapor is not the same as cigarette smoke.

The long awaited regulation of e-cigarettes will certainly make it more difficult for young people to adopt regular use of tobacco products, but in the meantime perhaps adult smokers might take a cue. For the 42 million smokers in the United States, who on average will live ten years less than their nonsmoking peers, the opportunity to reduce the burden of cigarette related diseases is profound.