Kate Moss is a fan is Leonardo DiCaprio. With an estimated seven million users in Europe alone, electronic cigarettes are undoubtedly on-trend. They are also proving controversial: last week, a Mothercare worker was frozen after “vaping” in front of customers. Michelle Capewell, 41, was told to leave the store by her supervisor after taking a drag of her e-cigarette.
That’s not the only row the gadgets have started. Public health experts are sharply divided about cigarette, with some arguing they could substantially cut cut deaths from tobacco - of which there are 100,000 annually in the UK - while others warn they’ll just glamorise smoking, especially among the young.
Euro MPs added to the confusion last week by throwing out an European Commission proposal, supported by the regulatory authority in the UK, to treat cigarette as medicines.
E-cigarettes contain a battery, atomiser and a cartridge containing nicotine, suspended in a solution (the material from which theatrical smoke is made). When the user inhales, the solution is vaporised (hence “vaping”), delivering a nicotine hit to the lungs with no pitch and toxins that would come from normal smokes.
Some cigarette have an indicator light at the end which glows when an individual inhales, to give an added touch. And, unlike standard nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as gums, patches and sprays, they offer “the smoke experience”, notes Jeremy Mean, in the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA). “Rituals such as having something to hold are essential in dependence,” he says. “Cigarette may help some folks more than conventional NRT.”