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E-Cigarettes

The rising popularity of electronic cigarettes, more commonly referred to as e-cigarettes, may result in a new generation of nicotine addicted Americans. There are a lot of claims and advertising about health benefits made by e-cig manufacturers, but there is very little research to back up these claims. Vapers should understand the potential risks involved with the use of these products as they make choices about what they put in their bodies.

What are Electronic Cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are battery operated products that are designed to deliver nicotine, flavor, and other chemicals. These products work by vaporizing liquid chemicals, producing a hot gas that resembles tobacco smoke. Various features of e-cigarettes include interchangeable cartridges (for different flavors and non-nicotine variants), rechargeable batteries, and synthetic chemicals.

The Risks of E-Cigs
Although companies may advertise e-cigs to be safe products, there are still risks consumers should be aware of:

  • Perhaps most importantly, these products are not regulated by the FDA or any other agency. That means e-cig smokers must trust that the manufacturer is accurately labeling the contents of the package. It also means that there is no independent quality control for potency or safety.
  • Many e-cigs, even if labeled otherwise, still contain the addictive chemical nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive and harmful substance. Skin exposure to, and ingestion of, liquid nicotine is toxic and has resulted in increased calls to poison centers across the country; a 1 mg/kg drop of liquid nicotine is enough to be a lethal dose for a human adult. Over 50% of poison control calls for e-juice involves children <6 years-old drinking flavored liquid nicotine used in e-cigs.
  • Nicotine is not the only toxic chemical that can be found in e-cigs. Compared to traditional cigarettes, e-cigs may contain fewer chemicals, but most of these chemicals have never been evaluated for safety when heated and breathed into our lungs. We do know that variable amounts of some cancer-causing substances (carcinogens) have been found in many brands.

Current Issues
Because the e-cigarette industry is fairly new, research on the health effects of vaping are largely unknown. This is also true for secondhand emissions. With e-cig companies actively marketing towards teens, it is possible that the dramatic decrease in the number of smokers in the U.S. over the past 30 years may start to reverse. The appeal of sweet flavors such as bubblegum and cotton candy make e-cigarettes attractive to children and teens.
E-cigs are not approved as a smoking cessation tool by the FDA. There are medically-approved and effective ways to quit smoking.

For more information call: 410-535-5400, x359 or visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: www.fda.gov/newsevents/publichealthfocus/ucm172906.htm

 

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