Should E-Cigarettes Be Treated Like Cigarettes?

Monday, April 7, 2014
By Alison St John, Maureen Cavanaugh, Megan Burke

The introduction of e-cigarettes is, depending on who you talk to, either an appealing alternative to help addicted current smokers give up tobacco, or gateway devices for a new generation of tobacco smokers.

Several cities in San Diego have banned the use of e-cigarettes, in all areas where smoking is already banned, most recently Oceanside. And the city of San Diego is considering a ban.

This week in San Diego at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research — doctors are hearing the case for and against e-cigarettes.

Jeff Stier, is a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research. He said e-cigarettes can save lives.

Stier said the problem with regulating e-cigarettes like tobacco cigarettes is that it takes away a tool that helps people to quit smoking.

"We shouldn't let our appropriate dislike for cigarette companies blind us from the benefits of e-cigarettes," he said.

John Pierce, of the UCSD Moores Cancer Center said a recent study has shown that particulate matter found in the vapor inhaled by people smoking e-cigarettes could be a health concern for both the smoker and for people inhaling the vapor second-hand.

Pierce also said there is no evidence to support the idea that e-cigarettes help people quit smoking.