Smoking out tobacco: The rise of the e-cig

Updated 12 February 2013
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Smoking out tobacco: The rise of the e-cig

The camera zooms in on a stubble-bearded hunk dragging on a cigarette and blowing out a thick cloud of smoke with what seems to be great satisfaction.
It resembles the TV smoking ads of yesteryear, now banned in most of the world, yet this modern-day offering is approved for American television viewers.
“You know what the most amazing thing about this cigarette is? It isn’t one,” explains a narrator as the modern-day Marlboro Man fixes the viewer with a broody stare before returning the reusable smoke to a container that resembles the traditional pocket-sized cardboard pack.
The NJOY “cigarette” is electronic — its tip lights up with the help of an LED and what appears to be smoke is actually water vapor.
The actor is not smoking, but “vaping.”
“Cigarettes, you have met your match,” proclaims the ad for a product that claims to mimic “the look, feel and flavor of the real thing” — minus the tar, ash, smoke and most toxins.
NJOY is one of a flurry of e-cigs entering the market as tobacco prices skyrocket and smokers become ever more concerned about the toxins they inhale.
But the jury is still out on whether the gadgets are safe or not.
“Without question, e-cigarettes are safer than traditional tobacco cigarettes,” said Joel Nitzkin, of the American Association of Public Health Physicians.
“They deliver nicotine, with only the tiniest traces of other toxic chemicals.”
But there are concerns that these battery-driven alternatives, officially called electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), may pose health hazards we are not even aware of yet — just like cigarettes before their ill-effects became clear.
“The safety of ENDS has not been scientifically demonstrated,” the World Health Organization said in response to a query.
“The potential risks they pose for the health of users remain undetermined.”
The UN’s health organ said some testing “suggests the presence of other toxic chemicals, aside from nicotine,” and “strongly advised” consumers not to use them.
E-cigs first emerged in China in 2003 as an alternative to tobacco, which kills nearly six million people each year.
Just like their predecessors in the 1950s and 60s, electronic cigarettes are being advertised with attractive women and rugged, virile men — hinting at a better, more popular you.
It’s a strategy that seems to work. A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM) last month said 80 percent of users questioned in the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia believed e-cigarettes to be less harmful than their tobacco counterparts.
NJOY chief executive Craig Weiss told AFP that industry predictions are for electronic cigarette sales, which have doubled in the United States every year since 2008, to reach $ 1 billion in 2013.
“Growth in the category has occurred as a result of the millions of smokers who are actively seeking an alternative to cigarettes,” he said by e-mail.
The company would not comment on the health aspects.
According to Nitzkin, the hazard posed by traditional tobacco cigarettes is about 100 times higher than today’s smokeless tobacco alternatives.
“When burned, cigarettes create a tarry residue that sticks to the inside of the smallest bronchial tubes of the lungs and in the alveoli, where the body absorbs the oxygen and releases the carbon dioxide.
“This tarry residue stays in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the life of the smoker,” he said — a side-effect that ENDS do not have.
Yet the European Respiratory Society said this month it could not classify e-cigs as a safe alternative to smoking, and stressed the principle that tobacco users “should not trade one carcinogenic product for another.”
Last month, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority banned an ad for an e-cigarette, Nicolites, saying: “claims that the product was not harmful had not been substantiated.”
Some researchers have also expressed concerns that non-smokers may get hooked on nicotine through e-cigarette use, or that the gadget would keep people addicted to nicotine who might otherwise have quit.
Nicotine can be harmful to children, pregnant women and adults with heart disease.
A recent study among 3,400 high school pupils in France showed that 12 percent of 15-to-16-year-olds who claimed never to have smoked before had experimented with ENDS, and 19 percent of 17-year-olds.
“As a doctor, I cannot recommend the electronic cigarette,” lung specialist Bertrand Dautzenberg told AFP recently at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris.
“But I would not interfere with a smoker who wants to take it up. With a cigarette, there is a 50 percent chance of killing oneself. With the electronic cigarette, we aren’t too sure yet, but it is probably less,” he said.


WWE’s Roman Reigns hails ‘unbelievable’ Saudi Arabia

Updated 26 April 2018
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WWE’s Roman Reigns hails ‘unbelievable’ Saudi Arabia

  • Greatest Royal Rumble event takes place in Jeddah on Friday
  • The event marks the start of a 10-year partnership between WWE and the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: If you believe the hype, including his own, WWE’s Roman Reigns has come to Saudi Arabia to win at the Greatest Royal Rumble.
But ask him about outside of the ring, and his visit to the Kingdom, the athlete says that everyone is winning, from WWE, to its athletes and the new fans they have met here.
“It’s the best feeling to be here in Saudi Arabia. Whenever you go to a new country for the first time and they see you for the first time, it really escalates that excitement, it makes it so special.
“It’s unbelievable coming to Saudi Arabia. We are always trying to break new ground, to move forward, break new ground, we are always trying to do better. I think this is a great example.”
The Greatest Royal Rumble marks the start of a 10-year partnership between WWE and the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia. Samoa Joe will compete in an Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match against Seth Rollins, Finn Bálor and The Miz in one of an incredible seven Championship matches at the Greatest Royal Rumble event.
WWE fans will also see John Cena vs Triple H, The Undertaker take on Rusev and Brock Lesnar compete against Roman Reigns in a Steel Cage Universal Championship match.
“We are trying to show Saudi Arabia to the world, that’s a big thing. We trying to be there for progress, to get better as human beings, to promote equality. Anything you can do on that level, it’s greater than you can do in the ring,” said Roman, at a press conference in Jeddah.
“It’s the best feeling to be here in Saudi Arabia. Whenever you go to a new country for the first time and they see you for the first time, it really escalates that excitement, it makes it so special.
“It’s so gratifying. There’s no real way to describe it, each time I get thrown down, any time I’m in pain, and I get that special energy and emotion back from the ground it makes it so worth it.
“I can’t wait to get to the stadium. When that curtain goes back and you see thousands of fans, when you hear that reaction, that emotion, that’s when you feel like superman.”
The event, which is now sold out, will air live in the Middle East on MBC Action, KSA Sports 1, Abu Dhabi Sports 1 and Abu Dhabi Sports 6, as well as stream live on Dawri Plus.
For WWE Superstar Titus O’Neil his goal is very clear, he’s here to entertain and spread a message that no matter where you are in the world, there are common things that unite us all.
“Our job is to put smiles on people’s faces and those faces are all colors, all religions, all backgrounds. We are entertainers and I feel our company, WWE, does the best job of breaking barriers and going into different situations and making the absolute best from it.
“That absolute best is making sure that every single person that comes to one of our events has a life-changing experience in Saudi Arabia and in Jeddah. This is the first time we are here, it’s the first time a Royal Rumble has had 50 men in the ring, and the first time that every single match is a championship match.
“Where-ever we are in the world we don’t separate by color or creed, we just want to entertain the masses. At the end of the day we all rooted in love and I embrace that, regardless of who you are, what religion you are we are all the same.
“Sports definitely unifies people and WWE have been doing it for years, bringing people from all different backgrounds into arenas and in front of televisions at home.
“The fact this show sold out in a very short space of time goes to show the fanbase is as strong here as it is anywhere else in the world.”