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A new FDA study finds that e-cigarettes contain many carcinogens and toxins, like their smoking counterparts. Manufacturers' claims that they make for "healthy" use appear blatantly incorrect.  (Source: Sean O'Key/
Proof yet again that things that sound to good to be true really are

They are billed as affordable and safe ways to enjoy the experience of smoking without the health risks.  Every day thousands of customers across the country "light up" e-cigarettes, a new product that is taking the online world by storm.  E-cigarettes consist of cartridges filled with nicotine and other chemicals, spiced with flavors such as chocolate, cola or bubble gum.  The "cigarette" typically lights up as it vaporizes the nicotine-chemical cocktail, which it delivers as steam to the user.

As sales for the devices, market as a healthy-living product, have skyrocketed, the Food and Drug Administration became concerned.  Exactly how "healthy" were these cigarette substitutes? 

The FDA began testing them and it quickly discovered that the e-cigarettes, like their smoking counterparts, are hazardous to the health.  The samples from various manufacturers contained dangerous carcinogens.  Further, at least one manufacturer's mix contained diethylene glycol -- a chemical used in antifreeze, and a toxin to humans.

Dr. Jonathan Samet, director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Southern California comments, "We know very little about these devices, but to say they are healthy -- that's highly doubtful."

Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, commissioner of the FDA adds, "The FDA is concerned about the safety of these products and how they are marketed to the public."

One of the largest manufacturers of the devices, Florida-based Smoking Everywhere has remained mum on the reports.  The devices do appear, thus-far to be legal as a combination drug-device product under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Dr. Jonathan Winickoff, chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics Tobacco Consortium urges people to think of the children, commenting, "It is very important that parents let their children know these are not safe and to make recommendations, or even enforce rules that they not be used."

Dr. Matthew McKenna, director of the Office of Smoking and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adds, "Children who use these products may also be using other tobacco products.  It's a good idea to make sure the child is aware of the dangers of tobacco in products in general."

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By Murst on 7/24/2009 10:34:59 AM , Rating: 3
I tried an electronic cigarette a year ago in an attempt to limit what I'm spending on real cigarettes. I even wrote a couple reviews on my blog about them ( ).

After about 2 months of use, the atomizer on my device broke, and I haven't bothered replacing it - I just went back to regular cigarettes. From what I've read, it is pretty common for the atomizers to break.

What I would like to know is: are these devices still much safer than smoking regular cigarettes? From what I got from the article, a large part of the safety issue is in the process of creating the liquid. But can a properly made liquid contain no carcinogens, yet still contain nicotine?

( Also, another nice thing about the e-cigs is that there was no problem of me using one at work - but if it turns out it is unsafe, I can see that not happening anymore )

RE: Interesting
By jslusser on 7/24/2009 12:28:46 PM , Rating: 3
The FDA study seems a little odd to me. The two base substances in the the smoke liquid that most reputable manufactures use are propylene glycol and some use vegetable glycerin, both of these are approved by the FDA for consumption.

I'm not sure why they found diethylene glycol (DEG), which is harmful. I think what this study is saying is, there are quality control issues related to the products. Many of these come from China, but some are made in the US. For example, Johnson Creek makes its "Smoke Juice" here in the US.

Here's the full FDA report. See table 1, page 4.
It's not exactly like this summary article. For example, DEG was detected in one type (out of 17) of cartridge. In many of the Low or No nicotine cartridges, nothing was detected.

It definitely looks like the FDA can justify regulation of the products based upon the study.

RE: Interesting
By mooncancook on 7/24/2009 1:09:21 PM , Rating: 5
just wait for Apple's i-Cigarette then

RE: Interesting
By PhoenixKnight on 7/24/2009 5:45:58 PM , Rating: 5
Too bad they won't have user-replaceable cartridges.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)

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