Tobacco use is responsible for more than 5 million deaths per year worldwide [source: CDC]. But it's a preventable cause of death. So, it's not surprising that, when a new device that has the potential to help people quit smoking hits the market, many smokers are willing to give it a try. And one of the latest to make that claim is the electronic cigarette.
It was invented in China by a company called Ruyan in 2003 and first introduced to the U.S. market in 2007, and it's gaining both friends and foes across the world. But what's the deal? Can they really help you quit smoking? Proponents of e-cigarettes say yes and think they're better than smoking tobacco cigarettes -- both for their health and for their wallets. But the FDA and other health agencies aren't so sure. They want to know more about the side effects of the electronic cigarette, and some are calling for tight regulations. Currently e-cigs aren't subject to U.S. tobacco laws because they don't contain tobacco, which makes them hard to regulate -- and keep out of the hands of minors.
So what's the bottom line for this new vaping craze? Well, that's where the anecdotal evidence from e-cigarette makers and users comes up against arguments from regulatory agencies and health experts. And both sides make some worthwhile points. Read on to find out what they have to say.