Electronic Cigarettes. Safer? Greener? Or Just Weirder?


They look like cigarettes, act like cigarettes, give smokers their nicotine fix. And yet, they’re not cigarettes. They’re electronic cigarettes, or “E-cigs.” According to this CNN report, sales of e-cigs have been increasing over several years in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden and Brazil.
The claimed benefits? Instead of inhaling smoke, “e-smokers” (I just made that up) inhale a mixture of vaporized water, nicotine and propylene glycol (a common additive in food coloring and cake mixes). Yum. Their exhalation is not odorous second hand smoke, but just water vapor. According to the e-cig sellers, these battery-filled butts do not contain tobacco, tar, carbon monoxide or any of the other thousands of cancer-causing toxins in real cigarettes. Like the patch or the gum, e-cigs claim to help smokers kick their habit.
So are they healthier? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is not entirely convinced. E-cigs are still an unapproved new drug due of a lack of scientific proof that they’re safe or effective.

So are they greener? While smoking is a pretty unsustainable habit at its core, it’s true that e-cigs produce no smoke, ash or air pollution. Switching to e-cigs will help cut-down on the over four trillion cigarette butts that litter sidewalks around the world each year. Plus, e-cigs aren’t made of natural resources, such as paper and tobacco plants. However, they do use electricity, obviously. But the batteries are rechargeable and one cartridge contains enough nicotine and water to smoke the equivalent of at least a pack of cigarettes.
AND, they come in six flavors: tobacco, menthol, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and cherry.
Companies like Green Smoke, a more recent e-cig company to enter the market, and Green Cigarette are branding their products as the green alternative to smoking. What do you think?

Audrey is a freelance copywriter. She has worked with every kind of company, helping them to communicate their message of sustainability. Careful to never greenwash, Audrey believes that transparency in marketing is just as important as branding. And that doing well and doing good are not mutually exclusive. When she's not blogging, marketing sustainability or writing radio commercials for Chinese food, you can find Audrey rock-climbing, riding her bike around San Francisco, or looking for work (she's available for hire, call now!)

8 responses

  1. My girlfriend has just quit by using an e-cig. She was up to about 40 cigs a day, and in the first few weeks of using the e-cig she sucked furiously on it. It has a cut-out so that you can’t overdose on the nicotine, which was probably just as well!
    5 months later, and the e-cig hasn’t been touched for over a month. In fact, it’s not even charged. She carries it in her bag in case she needs something to “play with”, but never has.
    Given the poisons and toxins that are contained in a normal cigarette, as well as the un-degradable butt litter, the e-cig is infinitely greener. Plus my gf is proof that they do actually work!

  2. I personally own a Green Smoke electronic cigarette and love it. I have been using mine for darn near a month and don’t even feel like I really need to smoke one anymore. I have a few other electronic cigarettes but the Green Smoke hits a lot better and the cartridges last a lot longer.

  3. I should of put this in my first comment but I forgot. Here is a code that will get you 10% off your order from Green Smoke electronic cigarettes.
    10% Off Your Green Smoke E-Cig Order When You Use Coupon Code: disc10-1885

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