by Rachel Balik
A new company is marketing electronic cigarettes as a healthier alternative to smoking and a way to quit; health professionals argue they may be addictive.
The cigarettes are sold online and in kiosks in malls. One infrequent smoker sampling the brand at a kiosk in Long Island, NY, told Newsday that e-cigarettes were “different” and he “could see smoking them regularly.”
Health officials told Newsday they had numerous concerns and reservations. The cigarettes come in flavors like chocolate and strawberry, raising concerns that minors will start smoking them. Maureen Crowley, director for preventive medicine for the Suffolk Health Department, said that, “anything that promotes or glamorizes smoking is a step backward.” Across the board, professionals said there was no reason to believe that the cigarettes would help anyone quit smoking, and some are concerned that e-cigarettes may themselves become addictive.
The site also claims that because the cigarettes are tar and tobacco-free, they are healthier than real cigarettes. But as of yet, there is no scientific evidence supporting these assertions. The cigarettes are stated to be better for the environment and are ultimately less expensive than regular cigarettes.