Carter Lowe Creator, entrepreneur, and self-care advocate
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Electronic puff.

After the ban on smoking in public places, such a gadget is becoming more and more popular. The electronic cigarette is already becoming a fashion accessory.

In Europe, electronic cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular - gadgets that replace conventional cigarettes. With their rise in popularity, and against the background of the movement to decriminalize marijuana and ecstasy, the old debate about whether to ban drugs or engage in harm reduction has taken on a new lease of life.

In London, they say, life is hard for smokers. They will go to a bar, have a drink... But you can’t drag on. If you dare, they will expose you. However, one gadget has appeared that allows the bearers of subtle English humor of any nationality to play a trick on the harsh fighters for a healthy lifestyle. You sit in a pub, smoke and think, and when they make a remark, you kindly explain that electrical appliances are not prohibited. The cigarette, they say, I have an electronic one, was bought on the website for $60.

The electronic cigarette looks really like a real one, even the tip “smolders” with a red light, and several micrograms of nicotine enter the lungs with each puff. An electronic cigarette even produces smoke, but since it does not burn, it does not fall under the ban. After the ban on smoking in public places, such a gadget is becoming increasingly popular.

Invented by Hong Lik of the Chinese company Ruyan. The first appliances were sold in May 2004 and have been growing in popularity ever since. It is difficult to find exact sales data, but the leading manufacturing company - the same Ruyan - claims that it sold over 300 thousand pieces in 2008.

The device itself is simple. It looks like a cigarette, but the main part of the volume is occupied by a battery and an LED. The replaceable filter contains a cartridge with nicotine dissolved in propylene glycol. As you puff, the pressure sensor turns on the heating element, evaporating the propylene glycol and emitting "smoke". Cartridges vary in strength (there are also zero nicotine), are designed for about 300 puffs and cost a dollar and a half.

In the vast majority of countries in the world, the distribution of electronic cigarettes is not regulated by law. If you sell health products, then you are within the scope of the relevant legislation, if tobacco products, then another. The electronic cigarette does not fall into either group, which gives the freedom to produce and distribute such products, having the usual hygiene certificate in hand.

Electronic cigarette ProVape-1.
The main purpose of the device, according to advertising, is to help the smoker to give up a bad habit. In this sense, this is the same nicotine patch, only more stylish. Some manufacturing companies even use falsified quotes from World Health Organization (WHO) documents in their advertisements, allegedly endorsing the use of such cigarettes. On the contrary, in September 2008, the WHO issued a statement that there was no evidence that the advertising was right and called for a worldwide ban on electronic cigarettes until proven safe.

New Zealand anti-smoking campaigner Murray Laugesen has been conducting a study on the effects of e-cigarette use since early 2007. It is (don't laugh!) funded by Ruyan, but according to the WHO, it is objective and independent. Preliminary results look optimistic. Each puff has been found to release just a few micrograms of water, alcohol, nicotine, propylene glycol and aromatics. What about carcinogens? The nitrosamines found in tobacco are considered one of the main causes of cancer in smokers. Traces of such a substance, alas, are found when using electronic cigarettes, since the nicotine for them is extracted from tobacco, but Dr. Laugesen believes that its concentration is no higher than in authorized nicotine patches.

Carbon monoxide and carcinogens, which are by-products of burning tobacco and paper, the electronic cigarette, of course, does not emit and does not poison the air - good news for passive smokers. However, the cartridge contains acetaldehyde - the same chemical that "pleases" a heavy morning hangover. It is known that when accumulated in the body, it can provoke cancer, but it is extremely small in the cartridge (five millionths of its weight), and if acetaldehyde does get into the vapor of an electronic cigarette, its content is so negligible that it is almost immediately destroyed in the body.

Safety or health issues aside, how does the e-cigarette affect the psyche of the smoker? The factors that make up the ritual of smoking (aroma, taste, tactile sensations) are important enough to enjoy the process. Will smokers accept the novelty? Helen Thomson, a non-smoker New Scientist writer on e-cigarettes, gave an e-cigarette to her father, who smokes about a pack a day. After several days of “test drive”, he complained that he had to put in a lot of effort to puff, the gadget is heavier than an ordinary cigarette, does not allow you to enjoy the aroma of smoke, and its “filter” is hard as a stone. In general, there is little in common with an ordinary cigarette, so the “target audience” of manufacturers should still be recognized as smokers who want to give up a bad habit.

Electronic cigarettes Revenge.
“If it turns out that when using an electronic cigarette, the amount of nicotine comparable to regular smoking enters the bloodstream, and the device is acceptable to consumers and safe, then its usefulness in the fight against smoking cannot be overestimated,” says John Britton, specialist in pulmonary diseases from the University of Nottingham. In the USA, this device was featured in The Doctors show and made it to the top ten most fashionable healthcare trends.

It is appropriate, however, to recall that nicotine alone is not responsible for addiction to tobacco. Animal studies suggest that other substances found in tobacco smoke inhibit up to 40% of the activity of the enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO), in a manner similar to that of some antidepressants. Nicotine promotes the release of dopamine, whose effect on the brain is associated with pleasure, and it is hypothesized that MAO inhibition reduces the reuptake of dopamine, that is, the effect is doubled. An electronic cigarette cannot replace all these joys.

The electronic cigarette is already becoming a fashion accessory. Putting an end, it is difficult to resist and not advise Chinese scientists to immediately begin work on electronic coffee.

Photo: wikipedia.orgAuthor: Maxim Leonovich, Konstantin Zhvakin "Private Correspondent"