Today Show: E-Cigarettes
Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you, and everyone also knows it can be a challenge to kick the habit. More consumers are turning to electronic cigarettes, with sales projected to double in 2013. For Today, Erica Hill reported on whether these accessories are safe.
Today: Are Electronic Cigarettes Safe?
Hill said that electronic cigarettes claim to be healthier than the old fashioned alternative. Katherine Heigl got David Letterman to try one back in 2010. These days, they are popping up everywhere.
They produce no smoke, which makes them healthier for those around you. Batteries inside heat up nicotine in a cartridge. Smokers inhale a vapor that is exhaled as water. But there is no long-term data on e-cigarettes, and the FDA says we can’t know yet “whether e-cigarettes are safe.”
Today Show: E-Cigarette Sales
“It was worth $500 million in 2012. Analysts predict that it’s going to be worth $1 billion in 2013,” said CNBC’s Jackie Deangelis.
Meanwhile, traditional cigarette sales were down 3.5% for the first couple months of 2013. The market share for electronic cigarettes has been on the rise since 2010, when just 10% of smokers had tried them.
Nik Modi, a tobacco analyst at UBS, said that consumers could be saving hundreds per year by making the switch. Traditional companies are reacting to the news as well. The company behind Marlboro is developing its own electronic cigarette.
Today Show: E-Cigarettes Vs Traditional Cigarettes
Dr Nancy Snyderman talked with Savannah Guthrie about what health professionals do know about e-cigarettes. These still contain the addictive nicotine, but without a lot of the known harmful carcinogens in traditional cigarettes.
Snyderman suggested that doctors might think this is a safer alternative and a gateway to giving up the habit. But it’s hard to know the effect of the other chemicals and compounds in e-cigarettes could be something to worry about.
Today: Is Nicotine Dangerous?
“Nicotine alone, in the doses that you get in a cigarette, is not really a problem,” she said. “It is addicting, but it doesn’t really hurt you.”
Snyderman said she thinks this may be a good first step for those who want to kick the habit. But e-cigs contain propylene glycol and glycerine, which have not been proven safe or unsafe in this delivery system.
Today Show: Are E-Cigs Addictive?
The doctor said that it’s hard to know whether this could work in reverse as a gateway for those who have already quit, who may end up smoking regular cigarettes again. But there could be a lot of growth in these products, as tobacco companies attempt to recoup the customers they are losing.