Ethics and E-Cigarettes

I will convey the various ethical considerations that come into play over the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes, vaping, and tobacco cigarettes. Despite the danger cigarettes pose to our health, 40 million individuals in the U.S. still smoke, and tobacco use remains the United States’ leading cause of morbidity and mortality. The recent claim that vaping and e-cigarettes are the new and safer form of smoking has attracted a significantly younger market in comparison to those who traditionally smoke cigarettes. Preventing youths from smoking is crucial for reducing overall smoking rates. Nearly all (95.6%) of smokers start smoking before age 21 years of age, with 88.0% starting before age 18. However, with greater regulation on vaping and e-cigarettes, comes a potential harm to current smokers seeking to quit. What are the ethical concerns of changing or ignoring this current epidemic sweeping our nation?

  • Paper Presentation
  • Ethics
  • Despite the danger cigarettes pose to our health, tobacco use remains the United States’ leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Where do vaping and e-cigarettes come in to play? This presentation explores the ethical dilemmas that arise when determining what to do about the current health epidemic sweeping the nation.

6 thoughts on “Ethics and E-Cigarettes”

  1. What an interesting and relevant dilemma to think about. Great to see all of your hard work, Hanne!

  2. The debate over e-cigarettes has become so impassioned, so I appreciate your evenhanded scholarly approach. You map out the ethical minefield quite effectively. I had not thought enough about the importance of weighing the value of e-cigs as an exit strategy for smokers wanting to quit against their threat as a gateway to addiction for young people. You also clearly reiterate a persistent dilemma: how to tell 18-year-olds that they are not yet mature or rational enough to decide whether to smoke, but are legally competent enough to be compelled to fight the country’s wars.
    Incidentally, in light of current events, e-cigs should rightly be indicted even more for their effects on lung function.


    First let me state that it is always a pleasure of mine to view the work that you do each semester, and hear about your research as you find a deeper meaning on various topics. As for smoking I can actually relate because I am a former smoker of tobacco, and I was still smoking when E-Cigs became a popularity. I began smoking as a teenager, and smoked until my early 20’s. As the years past the more I developed an ongoing deep cough that would become absolutely unbearable if I were to get sick, and last for months at a time. Part of this is due to me being asthmatic, but I definitely realized that the smoking was causing more irritation than my lungs already had due to health issues. When I tried “vaping” to quit cigs one time after only a couple days I realized that I too was having shortness of breath along with dryness, and irritation in my throat. I then decided to put down the vape, and continued smoking regular cigarettes until I got pregnant with my daughter. A lot of my friends were also smokers at the time, and I had many friends who tried the E-cig over the years as an attempt to cut down their nicotine consumption. They began having the same symptoms, and decided that the E-cig wasn’t for them as well. can also relate to your research on how the media kept smoking as an advertisement by supplementing an E-cig for a cigarette as being a better option. It makes me remember thinking myself that it was a better choice than the choice of a regular cigarette because of the water vapor versus the actual smoke, you had the choice to consume less nicotine in different vapes, and could choose many different flavors that were more tasty than the regular cigarette would be. My exact reason for trying an E-cig In the first place. I agree that the media is not going to stop advertising because it’s their way of making money, but as research shows smoking in general is harmful to our bodies. We all know that at 18 the mindset is different than the mindset of a 21 year old, and even a 25 year old. I think if we change the policy of what age people can purchase cigarettes maybe we can reduce the amount of smokers that we have. Although I don’t like that I can relate to this topic I feel it is important to share that along with the research you found when I was a smoker I too developed the same symptoms. It also shows that by age 24 (the age I got pregnant, and quit smoking) you begin maturing, and making better decisions based off things that could effect your life as well as others around you. This is why maybe if the policy changes it will encourage our youth to steer clear of ever picking up the habit. Great presentation as always Hanne! I can’t wait to see you again at school.
    Caitlin Tyree

  4. Pete,
    Thank you so much for your kind words! Weighing the value of e-cigarettes for current smokers as a way to level down/ween off against it’s attractiveness to the youth was the most important thing I found when doing my research. Quite the ethical dilemma indeed.

  5. Caitlin,
    Thank you so much for your consistent support and participation in all honors events. I am glad that you were able to relate to my topic on a personal level. The main reason I was drawn to this topic is because a majority of my family are past or current smokers, most having tried e-cigarettes as a form of leveling down. Also I thoroughly enjoy your comments on the mindset aspect of the issue as it is extremely important for this subject. I can’t wait to see you again at school as well!

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