E-cigs safer to smoke?

2015-06-13 08:49

Twisp (Supplied)

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SOUTH Africans attempting to give up smoking cigarettes are turning to the electronic version.

For many smoking is taboo, but if you enjoy an occasional drag, or are even an everyday smoker, chances are you’ve heard of e-cigarettes, e-cigs or electric cigarettes, which have become all the rage.

While the trend only hit South Africa recently, the fad started as early as 2004 when they were introduced to the market globally. Since then they have been shaped and designed to simulate the smoke produced and sensation provided by a normal cigarette without the tobacco or tar.

With the e-cigarette there have been claims that no “burning” is involved as is the case with a normal cigarette. The smoke is produced by a chamber of nicotine or non-nicotine liquid which feeds into a coil that becomes soaked by the liquid. Once heated when the user take a pull, the e-cigarette releases the vapour into the user’s mouth.

The debate on whether e-cigarettes are safe has see-sawed. However, while some claim there has not been any concrete proof that they are safe, others praise it is a way to aid smokers kick the habit.

Scientists have argued that the vapour produced by e-cigarette is toxic and over time slowly leads to poisoning oneself. However, general claims are that e-cigarettes have not been tested and monitored for usage over a long term, so tests are inconclusive.

One of the key selling points of e-cigarettes was that they can be used indoors, and many malls and supermarkets have kiosks where they can be purchased. Nevertheless, they have still been banned from some public places and places of work.

Twisp, the most popular e-cigarette brand in South Africa, was a home-grown project started in 2009 and has since converted many smokers to “vapers”. It is the brainchild of Philp Bartholomew and the brand has since released their own device into the country with many different flavours to coax smokers into converting.

Nathan Smith, marketing director for Twisp, believes that the public view is not balanced.

“The brand was created with the aim of offering South Africans an alternative to cigarettes. The first store was opened in Cape Town and has since grown to 42 stores around the country with four more expected to open up soon,” he said.

Twisp flavours are stocked in many stores around the country with the likes of Clicks and numerous tobacco stores all offering the products.

“There isn’t a study that shows that e-cigarettes are more harmful than smoking regular cigarettes. Some have said that it can save lives. As newer studies are released, we tweak the ingredients of the liquid. We find any harmful ingredients and remove them. Medical journals have shown that there are clear benefits of the usage of e-cigarettes.”

Smith said that ever since its release, the brand had been growing and many users praised the devices.

“We have received numerous testimonials from users who tell us how Twisp has changed their life, but there have been too many negative reports in the media about the devices, calling them dangerous without looking at the positives of e-cigarettes.”

Derek Yach, South African analyst of international health and senior vice president of the Vitality Group, has said in numerous reports that there are benefits to e-cigarettes, which the World Health Organisation is not convinced by.

Twisp itself has since released three newer devices — the Solo, Aero and Edge.

The Solo is a smaller and much slimmer device and looks like thinner cigarettes on the market. It also releases the same amount of vapour as the previous Clearo Twisp device.

The Aero is a fatter and short device. Levels of vapour can be controlled through an air-duct and the Aero release much more vapour than any other Twisp device.

The Edge is the upgrade of Twisp’s previous device — the Clearo. The voltage of the battery can be adjusted to release as much vapour as the user desires.

• Are you a Twisp or e-Cigarette user? Share your thoughts @KyleVenktess on Twitter

Read more on:    e-cigarettes

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