(WTVM) - When they first hit the market in 2007, e-cigarettes were a novelty.
Users felt like they were smoking, but the products only emitted water vapor.
Now the battery-operated devices that look like cigarettes have gained traction, and people who use them now call it "vaping".
Some smokers report that e-cigarettes helped them quit smoking and with it came freedom from addiction to real cigarettes and the chemical additives in them known to cause cancer.
Retail stores catering to vapers blossomed, even here in Columbus.
The products are legal of course, though more and more schools like Muscogee County ban their use to keep them from children.
For adults, e-cigarettes are about as effective as the nicotine patch, according to a study published in the medical journal Lancet.
Health experts at Boston University say it is essential that the FDA allow companies to market e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool, making it unnecessary for companies to lean on a marketing campaign that glorifies smoking behavior.
E-cigarettes are not currently regulated by the FDA.
The agency would like to change this of course, and is pushing to regulate e cigarettes as a tobacco product.
We agree these nicotine delivery products should never be marketed or made available to children.
But adults who want to quit should be able to decide for themselves if e-cigarettes work for them without the government creating mountains of regulations to stand in their way.
WTVM Editorial Committee
1909 Wynnton Road
Columbus, GA 31906