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Friday, June 21
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

COLUMN: The lie of a healthy cigarette

Like many Americans, I was skeptical when I started to see e-cigarettes gaining traction in mainstream use.

I thought there was no possible way tobacco companies had found a way to make a harmless cigarette, and the American people were once again being duped. While I had my hesitations, I never really had the research or knowledge to say anything about it.

Until today, that is. I recently found a study conducted by James Pankow, a professor of chemistry and civil environmental engineering at Portland State University in Oregon. This study found that e-cigarette vapor contains cancer-causing formaldehyde at levels up to 15 times higher than regular cigarettes.

The leader of this study found that formaldehyde, a chemical more commonly used in mortuaries as an embalming fluid, was released at higher volumes as users upped the voltage on their devices. This means users of e-cigarette drippers, notorious for giving the user the ability to customize the product, are the most at-risk as they generally control the amount of liquid as well as the heat.

While this is certainly meant to be a warning to those who use this kind of product, I honestly don’t think this information should cause people to swear off e-cigarettes forever.

I’ve always held that moderation is key when it comes to things like nicotine. I think Americans tend to have a very all-or-nothing view concerning outside substances, as in someone can only be a nonsmoker or smoke a pack a day.

This completely ignores the middle ground, that healthy area of human discipline where a person can partake in a substance now and again without completely throwing himself into it.

As such, I think users of e-cigarettes need to understand there will never be a completely healthy alternative to smoking. It’s just too much to ask out of a product that is simply a horrible thing to put in your body.

That being said, I also think the rest of America needs to realize doing something unhealthy now and again isn’t the end of the world.

Is it advisable to intake more e-cigarette vapor than air in an average week?

Obviously not, but this doesn’t mean getting a little buzz after a hard day at work will instantly give the person cancer. The key, as I’ve said a hundred times before, is having the wherewithal to put the e-cigarette down on an average day and realize a buzz should be considered a treat, not a daily privilege.

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