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Nurse Barbara Kilgalen, a participant in the Virginia Commonwealth University study, demonstrates e-cigarette use. The study indicates that electronic cigarettes epically fail at delivering nicotine to the body.  (Source: Paul Courson/CNN)
Despite popularity, the questions about e-cigarettes may not be all they are cracked up to be

Last year we wrote on the health risks associated with electronic cigarettes, commonly known as "e-cigarettes".  The devices have been billed as "healthy living" products and as a tool to help smokers quit their addiction.  Advocates say that since electronic cigarettes simply give smokers a vapor with nicotine and no burned chemicals, that they are relatively safe.

Those claims may be inaccurate, though.  Last March, the Food and Drug Administration banned imports of the devices, which are largely manufactured in China.  The FDA wants to investigate health concerns.  Namely, the FDA found that chemical formulas for the smoky vapor often contained dangerous components; at least one manufacturer used diethylene glycol as a key ingredient, a chemical commonly used in antifreeze and toxic to humans.

Now a new study adds to the doubts about e-cigarettes, indicating that they are about as successful at delivering nicotine as puffing on an unlit cigarette.  Dr. Thomas Eissenberg at the Virginia Commonwealth University led the study.  The study involved 16 participants and extensively monitored nicotine levels in the body and heart rates when using both traditional and electronic cigarettes.

The study, the first study of e-cigarettes to be conducted by U.S. doctors, found that almost no nicotine was actually delivered by the devices and instead users were actually inhaling a nicotine-devoid toxic vapor of compounds like diethylene glycol or nitrosamines, a family of cancer-causing nitrogen compounds.

Describes Dr. Eissenberg, "They are as effective at nicotine delivery as puffing on an unlit cigarette.  These e-cigs do not deliver nicotine.  Ten puffs from either of these electronic cigarettes with a 16 mg nicotine cartridge delivered little to no nicotine."

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute and will soon be published in the journal Tobacco Control, a product of the British Medical Journal Group.

Nicotine has some beneficial health effects, particularly for the mentally ill, so it is disappointing that e-cigarettes appear unable to deliver the compound.

Despite the mounting criticisms, many e-cigarette users stand by the product.  Jimi Jackson, a former tobacco smoker in Richmond, Virginia, who sells electronic cigarettes, comments, "I smoked 37 years, and when I found them, I was, like, 'Thank, you Jesus.'"

The FDA is currently being sued by a company called "Smoking Everywhere" that imports e-cigarettes from China.  The company wants the FDA to lift the ban on e-cigarette imports.  The company's court filings reveal just how popular the devices are -- the company sold 600,000 e-cigarettes in a year via the company's network of 120 distributors in the United States. 

Why should the FDA lift its ban?  According to Washington lawyer Kip Schwartz, representing "Smoking Everywhere", "We are on the verge of going out of business, which is why we are suing the FDA in U.S. District Court."


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Are you serious?
By WoWCow on 2/10/2010 11:59:58 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Nicotine has some beneficial health effects, particularly for the mentally ill, so it is disappointing that e-cigarettes appear unable to deliver the compound.


Now look, this article stated nicotine (one of the most addictive substance known to mankind) has failed to deliver in e-cig products.

I honestly think and feel that is a GOOD thing; human bodies do not process nicotine well (if at all). The article you linked is possibly good for those who are already mentally ill, but definitely not something the general population should take. Why not suggest offering alternative methods of intake?

It is really better for those smokers to NOT have to take a drug; giving them the placebo effect is enough. I sure as hell don't want nicotine vapor catching on to me and giving me the shakes.

Want an example? Sigmund Freud could quit cocaine, but couldn't quit smoking... what does that tell you about nicotine?




RE: Are you serious?
By JasonMick (blog) on 2/10/2010 12:09:16 PM , Rating: 1
You are misinformed, nicotine administered by itself is actually relatively non habiting forming.

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicotine

quote:
Technically, nicotine is not significantly addictive, as nicotine administered alone does not produce significant reinforcing properties.[36] However, only after coadministration with an MAOI, such as those found in tobacco, nicotine produces significant behavioral sensitization, a measure of addiction potential. This is similar in effect to amphetamine.[37]


Large doses can obviously be fatal because it's a stimulant, but in small doses can deliver a variety of benefits. From the same article:

quote:
For instance, recent studies suggest that smokers require less frequent repeated revascularization after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).[47] Risk of ulcerative colitis has been frequently shown to be reduced by smokers on a dose-dependent basis; the effect is eliminated if the individual stops smoking.[48][49] Smoking also appears to interfere with development of Kaposi's sarcoma,[50] breast cancer among women carrying the very high risk BRCA gene,[51] preeclampsia,[52] and atopic disorders such as allergic asthma.[53] A plausible mechanism of action in these cases may be nicotine acting as an anti-inflammatory agent, and interfering with the inflammation-related disease process, as nicotine has vasoconstrictive effects.[54]


Also, it can help with mental illness, as the linked article states, and epilepsy.


RE: Are you serious?
By Flunk on 2/10/10, Rating: -1
RE: Are you serious?
By Jellodyne on 2/10/2010 12:39:54 PM , Rating: 5
If the wiki is wrong point out how. Or point out conflicting research. Just slamming wikipedia as a source (for an informal blog posting anyway) says 1. you can't find any conflicting "real" sources and 2. you're an idiot.


RE: Are you serious?
By porkpie on 2/10/2010 12:51:13 PM , Rating: 2
All the research I've read says Jason (and Wikpedia) is wrong:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6405269/
http://www.trdrp.org/research/PageGrant.asp?grant_...

If other chemicals in the smoke is what's addictive, not nicotine..then why do nicotine patches control the craving?


RE: Are you serious?
By omnicronx on 2/10/2010 1:07:46 PM , Rating: 5
Jason has it half right, the super addictive properties of cigarette smoking come from the addition of MAOIs. Nicotine raises dopamine levels and MAOIs hinder your ability to clean out excess dopamine levels creating a sort of 'perfect storm' of addiction.

All that being said, your nicotine patches, inhalers etc will still raise dopamine levels, which would still help control your craving as your body is getting the increased levels, just not at the same level as smoking a cigarette.

Personally when I was trying to quit with the gum, I found myself having cravings far more often then if I were to have a cigarette, most likely because I was only getting a smaller dopamine fix compared to what I was used too.


RE: Are you serious?
By omnicronx on 2/10/2010 12:58:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Technically, nicotine is not significantly addictive, as nicotine administered alone does not produce significant reinforcing properties.[36] However, only after coadministration with an MAOI, such as those found in tobacco, nicotine produces significant behavioral sensitization, a measure of addiction potential. This is similar in effect to amphetamine.[37]
A few lines later..
quote:
Modern research shows that nicotine acts on the brain to produce a number of effects. Specifically, its addictive nature has been found to show that nicotine activates reward pathways—the circuitry within the brain that regulates feelings of pleasure and euphoria.[38]
The article contradicts itself.. by reward pathways, they mean it raises dopamine levels, with or without MAOI's..

Most of your most common party drugs affect dopamine levels (such as ecstasy and cocaine) in a similar way, they too have addictive properties. If someone can show me any drug that vastly affects dopamine levels but is not have addictive properties, then I would be willing to agree with the article.
Until then...


RE: Are you serious?
By thurston on 2/10/2010 8:14:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If someone can show me any drug that vastly affects dopamine levels but is not have addictive properties, then I would be willing to agree with the article.


LSD, Psilocybin and Mescaline. They all three affect dopamine and serotonin levels but actually all have very non-addictive properties. Take any of the three drugs a few days in a row and they will show diminished effect. The tolerance is a cross-tolerance effect. A few days of using any of these drugs will cause diminished effect among the others(ex. use LSD three days in a row then take psilocybin on the forth day, little to no effect would be felt from the psilocybin. None of the drugs cause any kind of withdrawal effects.


RE: Are you serious?
By slybootz on 2/10/2010 10:09:53 PM , Rating: 2
Valid points, but still misleading. While all three of these hallucinogens are non-addictive, not all of them have an effect on dopamine. LSD affects serotonin and dopamine receptors. Psilocybin actually has not been proven to directly affect dopamine; it's main reaction is with serotonin receptors. Similarly, Mescaline does not directly affect dopamine, but rather it binds to, and activates, serotonin receptors in the brain. Unfortunately, since the 60s and as a result of the War-On-Drugs, hallucinogenic research on these substances has not gotten very far.

As far as addiction to these substances, they are not chemically addictive, no. But can they be psychologically addictive? YES. Pretty much anything that affects the reward pathway in the brain can become psychologically addictive. Example: while Marijuana is not chemically addictive, there are MANY people who have become psychologically dependent on the substance, which eventually manifests into a physical addiction(the body cannot function properly without it).

But this is a topic for another discussion....let's get back to the matter at hand: e-cigarettes.


RE: Are you serious?
By SPOOFE on 2/11/2010 10:58:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But can they be psychologically addictive? YES. Pretty much anything that affects the reward pathway in the brain can become psychologically addictive.

Like TV, sex, food, video games, following politics, fighting, drinking, driving, drinking and driving, walking, running, hiking, playing golf/tennis/hockey/etc., having conversations, not having conversations, reading, writing, collecting things, listening to music, going to clubs, doing a good job, getting an A on your test...

Clearly, there's some point where we can see a difference between "it's addictive" and "it can be addictive".


RE: Are you serious?
By omnicronx on 2/10/2010 12:48:16 PM , Rating: 3
Please don't quote wiki articles.. Nicotine by itself directly affects dopamine levels, but it is the MAOIs that helps your body clean up excess dopamine levels which essentially turns it into a super addictive drug cocktail.

MAOIs certainly enhance the addictive properties of Nicotine, but as it stands, to say its relatively non habit forming is incorrect. Its still is very much so habit forming, its just not one of the most addictive substances on earth when consumed alone.

Studies have also shown that nicotine alone can still have negative effects on fetal development, so it definitely still has its risks, it also would still raise blood pressure which is also unhealthy.

Nicotine by itself is very similar to caffeine, generally harmless by itself, and they both raise dopamine levels, and amazingly both have addictive properties. (as will pretty much anything that raises your dopamine levels)


RE: Are you serious?
By Smilin on 2/10/10, Rating: 0
RE: Are you serious?
By jimhsu on 2/10/2010 1:40:44 PM , Rating: 3
Please read the actual papers, people (sigh, no one does it anymore):

Transient behavioral sensitization to nicotine becomes long-lasting with monoamine oxidases inhibitors
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0091-3057(03)00223-5

Anyways:

Figure 2 - They show that behavioral sensitization (locomotion) with 0.5 mg/kg nicotine reverts to baseline levels about 90 days after injection.
Figure 3 - Coadministration of tranylcypromine, a MAOI, with nicotine significantly increases the baseline levels of sensitization, when compared with saline.
Figure 4 - Pargyline, another MAOI, has similar effects.

They conclude:

Results indicate that about half of the behavioral sensitization to 0.5 mg/kg nicotine and 85% of the behavioral sensitization to 0.3 mg/kg nicotine is lost after 3 weeks. ...


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