Electronic Cigarettes Becoming More Popular

Embraced by users as a healthier alternative to smoking, electronic cigarettes are picking up steam in the market.

Around one in five adults cigarette smokers in the U.S. had tried electronic cigarettes in 2011, nearly twice as many that had tried them in 2010. In addition, sales increased nearly $500 million in 2012 and are expected to double that by the end of this year. As the market continues to grow, major tobacco companies are jumping on board to cash in on the increase.

R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co. launched its Vuse electronic cigarette in Colorado this summer. Altria Group, Inc., the parent company of the United State’s largest cigarette maker, Philip Morris, will soon debut it’s own electronic cigarette, MarkTen, in Indiana.

E-cigarettes are a smoke-free alternative to traditional paper cigarettes. The most basic version is composed of a liquid cartridge attached to a white cylinder, provides nicotine without the harmful additives or bad side effects for their users and passers by.

The liquid is a mixture of propylene glycol, a common additive in most food products, vegetable glycerin, and flavoring nicotine. The price of an e-cigarette is typically $10, but the cartridges can cost upwards of $70 for polished wooden models that can be refilled easily.

The electronic cigarettes are not required to meet any federal standards, as they are a fairly new product and are hard to regulate with little evidence. However, the FDA is expected to exercise regulatory authority over the products by the end of this year. Approval by the FDA would mean that a nicotine product, has met standards of safety and effectiveness.

Some scientists and doctors even believe that they can help people quit smoking altogether, as preliminary studies from the UK show.

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