Submitted by ub on Thu, 07/24/2014 - 12:47

Last week, I noticed a few teenagers inside a new store on City Island avenue. I entered and began to cough because some were smoking electronic cigarettes. I recognized these kids as locals, but decided to focus on the guy behind the counter. He said the owner was not there and when I identified myself as a journalist he handed me a phone number and an email address. I tried reaching out, but to no avail.

Apparently e-cigarettes is now the hip and cool way to smoke. This popularity has generated a debate online. Those against e-cigarettes say there's not enough information on their risks, and that the availability of this technology will compel more people to smoke, creating adverse public health effects. Those who are for e-cigarettes say the risks are a lot smaller than traditional cigarettes; if correct, then its good to accept some increase in smoking in exchange for safer products.

E-cigarettes are battery-operated and loaded with a liquid cartridge with a synthetic substance called propylene glycol, nicotine and sometimes flavorings. The idea is to deliver nicotine with an experience of smoking, like nicotine gum doesn't but without the tar and many carcinogens found in traditional cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are a lot safer than traditional cigarettes. Traditional cigarettes have many health risks, but chief among them is lung cancer. The compounds that cause lung cancer are largely absent from e-cigarettes. In studies of inflammatory response, e-cigarettes have lower risks than traditional cigarettes.

E-Cig Benefits Outweigh Their Harms, New Research Says via @TIMEHealth