Electronic cigarettes keep people smoking

If electronic cigarettes keep people smoking who would otherwise quit, that is harmful, he says.


Once sold mostly online and in small kiosks, they were given a huge boost in April when US tobacco giant Lorillard Inc purchased blu from the brand's creators for $135m (£84m).


Lorillard, producer of Kent cigarettes executives said they foresaw rapid growth and were keen to put their weight behind the brand.


Since the acquisition blu has seen a five-fold increase in its retail availability, and will be available in some 50,000 shops by the end of this year. The national advertising campaign launched in October.


"They've come in and put in their tremendous resources and experience and they've put us on steroids and given us the resources to grow well," blu's creator and president Jason Healy said of the Lorillard acquisition.


"We've established blu as a lifestyle brand for smokers."


It feels like what they're trying to do is re-establish a norm that smoking is okay, that smoking is glamorous and acceptable”

Cynthia Hallett Americans for Non-Smokers' Rights


Electronic cigarettes have been subjected only to minimal scientific study - not enough to demonstrate whether they are safer than tobacco cigarettes or effective as a smoking cessation product like nicotine gum or patches.


The World Health Organization has warned electronic cigarettes "pose significant public health issues and raise questions for tobacco control policy and regulation".


And a 2009 test by the US Food and Drug Administration of electronic cigarettes - none from blu - found traces of cancer-causing chemicals and other toxic chemicals.


Electronic cigarettes are either banned or heavily regulated in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany and several other countries.


But in the US, at present electronic cigarettes "are essentially unregulated" says McGoldrick.


Unless they make a therapeutic claim, for example that they can help people quit smoking, they fall in the cracks between federal tobacco regulations and rules covering drug devices like insulin pumps,


In the new commercial, Lorillard appears to have reached into the bag of advertising tricks that got previous generations of Americans hooked on cigarettes, tobacco industry critics say.

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