Electronic cigarettes have come a long way in just a few years. Fancy talking on the phone while taking a puff? What about having a microprocessor and memory chip in your device to help create the perfect puff? You can even purchase an e-cigarette that comes with a carry case which will alert you when a store with replacement cartridges is nearby.
Far from a mature product with little scope for further development, e-cigarettes are changing in shape, sizes and technology every single day. While there is no doubt that this is a good thing, as improvements in technology will only benefit consumers in the end, the rapid changes will also likely make these devices much harder to regulate.
A Popular Product
E cigarettes have gained popularity globally in recent years, particularly amongst young people under 25. In the US alone, it has been reported that the number of young people using such devices tripled between the years 2011 and 2013. Additionally, over a quarter of a million people who never smoked traditional tobacco tried this type of product.
How Electronic Cigarettes Work
E-cigarettes are a good alternative to traditional cigarettes because unlike smoking tobacco, vaping doesn't involve the inhalation of tar and other toxic chemicals.
E-cigarettes work by heating up a flavoured e liquid which contains varying levels of nicotine depending on strength purchased. The heating creates vapour which users can inhale. Since the mechanism by which these products work is totally different to a normal cigarette, using e-cigarettes results in a vastly different experience compared with tobacco smoking. Many users report better breathing and improved well-being upon switching from tobacco smoking to vaping.
Calls For More Regulation
Unsurprisingly, the widespread usage of electronic cigarettes has led to calls for heightened regulation. For example, in the US, there are proposals to ban their sale to minors, make health warning labels compulsory as well as having a process for approving newly created products.
Although some regulation is undoubtedly desirable, those responsible for making e-cigarettes are understandably worried. Not only will an increase in regulation impact their bottom line, it is also feared that a heavily controlled environment will stifle the technological advancements that would otherwise result. Given there are literally hundreds of brands on the market, coming up with an innovative and unique product seems the only effective way to gain market share.
A Balanced Approach
As a product for the mass market, electronic cigarettes are still in its infancy in terms of technological development. For this reason, regulators need to take care to adopt a balanced approach when setting legal standards so that consumers can continue to benefit from the creation of better and safer products.