Atlanta, GA (CBS Atlanta) — It would seem that some still believe smoking is cool, or at least that smoking e-cigarettes is.

In a recent study out of Rutgers University, the popularity of e-cigarettes was determined after users were asked to report their experiences with them compared to other nicotine inhalers.

E-cigarettes, which work by vaporizing nicotine-containing solutions, seem to be a relatively new phenomenon with recent attention being given to regulations to control when and where they can be used.

Researchers concluded that while nicotine inhalers have been around for years, the idea of using one wasn’t dubbed cool until recently.

“It’s remarkable how these products have been around for over 15 years now, and physicians and consumers are not aware of them,” said Dr. Michael Steinberg, an internist at Rutgers University told Live Science.

Steinberg and his colleagues gave 40 smokers both e-cigarettes and nicotine inhalers and then asked participants to report their experiences with both.  Participants repeatedly scored the newer e-cigarettes higher than other nicotine inhalers.  In summary, the results of the study displayed high ratings for helpfulness, acceptability, and “coolness.”

Why is this?

Steinberg believes that it may have something to do with the marketing of e-cigarettes.  Recently e-cigarettes have been advertised much more than their nicotine inhaler predecessors.

This could change the entire tobacco industry, making e-cigarettes the new standard once regulations are put in place.

“If e-cigarettes are what’s going to be dominating the tobacco market in decades to come, we need to be able to demonstrate that even though these are appealing and popular products, they are safe to use,” Steinberg said. “If they can be regulated so they are safe products, we can take advantage of their popularity and their appeal and use them as a harm-reduction nicotine-delivering device.”

Currently an estimated 42.1 million people, or 18.1% of all adults, in the U.S. smoke cigarettes, leading to 16 million Americans suffering from a disease caused by smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Should e-cigarettes become regulated, Steinberg and others believe that it could lead to much healthier choices for those Americans that do smoke.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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