You’re at your favorite restaurant, enjoying a meal. A diner at the next table is puffing on a cigarette, letting out a cloud of smoke. Because smoking isn’t allowed in the restaurant, you’re thinking about asking the smoker to put the cigarette out. But before you protest, consider this Your neighbor may not be smoking at all.

Electronic cigarettes, also known as smokeless cigarettes, e cigarettes, or e cigs, are an alternative method of consuming nicotine, the addictive chemical found in tobacco. Manufacturers often design e cigarettes to look like regular cigarettes, but they contain no tobacco and don’t require a match or any flame at all.

An e cigarette is a battery powered device that converts liquid nicotine into a mist, or vapor, that the user inhales. There’s no fire, no ash and no smoky smell. E cigarettes do not contain all of the harmful chemicals associated with smoking tobacco cigarettes, such as carbon dioxide and tar.

Manufacturers and satisfied customers say the e cigarette is a healthier alternative to tobacco cigarettes, which cause millions of deaths every year. Some users say e cigs have helped reduce their “smoker’s cough,” sharpened their senses of taste and smell, and even improved their sleep.

The electronic cigarette was invented by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik, who patented the device in 2003 and introduced it to the Chinese market the following year. Numerous companies are now selling e cigarettes to customers around the world. But as e cigarette smoking or “vaping” as it’s sometimes called has grown in popularity, some have concerns about its safety, including the possibility that the vapor created by the devices contains dangerous chemicals.

Is the electronic cigarette a cleaner, healthier choice for smokers? Or is it a dangerous device with hidden risks? Both viewpoints have their merits, but on the next page we’ll start with the basics how the product works, and why it’s popular.

E-cigarette summit

Cheap cigarettes from switzerland, uk, usa. order cigarettes manufactured in europe.

The E Cigarette Summit will take place at the Royal Society, London on the 12th November 2013 and will provide a vital and timely meeting for scientists, policymakers, public health professionals and e cigarette stakeholders to come together and debate the future of e cigarettes in context of health, efficacy and regulation.

E cigarettes are a relatively new phenomenon the result of a consumer led revolution which has grown rapidly, with sales doubling annually for the last 4 years. Currently there are an estimated 7 million users across Europe and over 1.3 million in the UK alone.

The issue of how to regulate and manage the proliferation of e cigarettes continues to divide policy makers, health campaigners and health professionals alike. With some countries moving towards an out right ban and others looking to regulate e cigarettes as medical products the future is far from clear. So, are e cigarettes a backward step in the fight against smoking or the single greatest transformative public health phenomenon? Whichever side of the debate you fall on, it is without doubt vital that all considerations are explored before decisions are taken.

The E Cigarette Summit will provide a timely opportunity for all stakeholders to debate and examine the critical issues and the future of e cigarettes. The Summit and will include high level briefings from leading experts on safety and efficacy, public health and regulation. The morning briefings will be followed by moderated open floor discussions which will allow key questions to be asked to a panel of experts and explored in a balanced and objective environment.

Key topics

  • What is known about e cigarettes and what are the drivers behind their rapid rise in popularity?
  • Will e cigarettes re normalise smoking and act as a gateway in to tobacco use for a new generation?
  • How safe are e cigarettes and what evidence is available to support their efficacy?
  • What will the impact of the EU Tobacco Directive be for current and future users?
  • Will medical regulation deliver a safer and more effective product?
  • What are the concerns that medical regulation will address in e cigarette usage, marketing and availability?
  • Are there alternative regulatory frameworks that should or could be considered?
  • What are the potential consequences if e cigarettes remain a consumer product?