You know that a fad is becoming a full-fledged industry when:
- Mashable is writing about it
- When doctors, medical associations and governments are now scrambling to regulate it.
- When Silicon Valley big names like Sean Parker and Peter Thiel start investing millions in another industry.
- When celebrities like Bruno Mars start endorsing it openly.
- Oh, and finally, when its industry earnings now run in the billions of dollars.
So yes, as a smoker, I really want to see if e-cigarettes can help me stop smoking or not. I genuinely want to try them and yes, I am disclosing that I am writing for this website to earn (partially to see if this post makes it to the front page), but more importantly, to find a solution for my smoking. That does not, however, impair my judgment on whether I would like to try e-cigarettes or not. The Phillipine government just made that decision easier for me by indicating that they want to regulate the product.
"The Philippine Medical Association (PMA) has called on government regulators to put a temporarily halt to the sale of electronic cigarettes to the public pending a proper study and testing of their safety." (Philippine Daily Inquirer: June 24, 2013) I'm all for this, so that when they put e-cigarettes in the clear, we will know which ones are legitimate and which ones are not. For context though, in the US, there are studies underway that are seeking to determine if there are carcinogens in such products, and whether there are other substances that could be harmful. That's also good. Then we'll know the good ones from the bad.
Personally, I think it's high time that the industry is regulated, because there are just so many brands that it's difficult to really know. Here's what I don't like about e-cigarettes (while having not yet tried them): I have three qualms specificially, regardless of what other people, including celebrities, medical associations, and governments, have to say about it.
1. Price. Here in the Philippines you can buy cigarettes for 3 Pesos ($0.07 USD) a stick. So far, the cheapest e-cigarettes I've seen at the grocery costs 1,700 Pesos ($39 USD).
2. There are too many brands. Every conventional smoker has his or her own brand. The same thing will happen for e-cigarettes. Online, there are hundreds (if not thousand)s of e-cigarette brands available in different parts of the globe. This has to be controlled and regulated. The industry will have to go through its own birth pangs.
3. Tobacco Industry sometimes linked with e-cigarettes. There are some e-cigarettes which are made by the same tobacco industry that sell us products their clasic products that cause cancer. If they didn't care about it then, they likely wouldn't not care cancer now. These folks just want to capitalize on the currently evolving industry. I don't want to make the guys who poison us even richer.
Creative Commons Image via Flickr: