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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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RE: More scare tactics?
By Mitch101 on 2/10/2010 12:38:47 PM , Rating: 3
The FDA has a problem with you importing your medication even though you can get them cheaper from another country. Sure they are scams out there and a lot of them but there are also legit places to get needed medication much cheaper made from the same manufacturing facility.

This is probably no different. Your getting something legit but someone out there is trying to make a buck selling someone packages with anti-freeze in them. The FDA steps in claiming health concerns which is legit because of the bogus fakes but messes it up for everyone.

China even makes fake toothpaste.

RE: More scare tactics?
By nbourbaki on 2/10/2010 1:13:13 PM , Rating: 5
Actually all of the e-liquids I buy are from U.S. based vendors selling US made pharma quality nicotine and USP PG/VG. I avoid anyone selling Chinese made e-liquids. It costs considerably more, but in my mind, it's worth it.

There are many vendors selling quality products in the e-cig space.

RE: More scare tactics?
By omnicronx on 2/10/10, Rating: 0
RE: More scare tactics?
By slybootz on 2/10/2010 4:06:45 PM , Rating: 4
For you to say that 'we have no idea what is in these products' is laughable. Granted, some e-cig users are using inferior and poorly constructed devices, and using e-liquids that are not manufactured in the US. Many others, though, are using products manufactured in a laboratory, and e-liquids manufactured in a safe environment. Myself, I make my own e-liquid, so that I am positive I know what ingredients I am inhaling. All ingredients used are USP-grade(US pharmaceutical), and therefore has already undergone extensive testing. For an analogy, what about a person whose hobby is HomeBrew Beer making. If they are using FDA approved ingredients, their beer is acknowledged as 'safe'. They don't need an FDA study on every brew they make just to confirm its safety.

By saying that every e-cigarette user does not know what they are putting in their bodies, you are generalizing quite a large community of e-cigarette users.

RE: More scare tactics?
By bighairycamel on 2/10/2010 5:32:26 PM , Rating: 2
I am not responding specifically to your above post because I've read most of your posts here and I find that you're making many assumptions about the FDA and what they can and can't regulate that are incorrect.

First of all, e-cigs ARE NOT an illegal market like you claim in at least one of your posts. E-cigs ARE NOT banned, only imports are banned.

Secondly, the FDA does not and cannot regulate everything humans ingest. The only reason why the FDA has their nose in this mess is because the e-cigs were being marketed as a healthy lifestyle product. Think dietary supplements. The FDA does not regulate vitamins or minerals for example, but if you release a product with unknown/untested compounds and label them as "healthy" (like diet pills) the FDA can, and probably will, step in.

I work in a highly FDA regulated business so we regularly take training courses on their rules and regulations.

And think about this. Cigarettes are not currently regulated. Why would they even be allowed on the market being full of carcinogens if the FDA had their say? E-cig manufactures feel the same rules should apply to them. However unlike e-cigs, cigarettes have never claimed to be "healthy".

RE: More scare tactics?
By bighairycamel on 2/10/2010 5:37:13 PM , Rating: 2
Err, quick correction. I forgot about the legislation from last year that allows the FDA to partially regulate cigarettes. However, it specifically stated in the bill that they could not outright ban them. They are essentialy only given authority to regulate chemical levels and issue recalls.

RE: More scare tactics?
By Richardito on 2/11/2010 9:34:24 AM , Rating: 2
"However unlike e-cigs, cigarettes have never claimed to be "healthy"." What age are you, 14? Cigarettes were being marketed as healthy when they came out. This is what I hate about the internet- ignorance camouflaging as knowledge...

RE: More scare tactics?
By bighairycamel on 2/11/2010 10:28:44 AM , Rating: 2
OK so in the LAST 60 YEARS cigarettes have not been marketed as healthy. My god, a generalized statement! I'm so young and ignorant! Please enlighten us on all things Mr. internet encyclopedia!

Next time you could just correct the statement rather than making a personal attack. THAT, my friend, is the trademark of a 14 year old.

RE: More scare tactics?
By slybootz on 2/11/2010 12:51:42 PM , Rating: 2
LOL e-anger frustrates me.

It is unfortunate that some e-cigarette companies have advertised their products as healthy, and as cigarette-cessation devices. Most reputable USA-based companies don't advertise this way, because if you advertise your product as a type of medical device, then of course you would have to obtain clearance from the FDA.

The companies that I purchase from, they market their products as an alternative to cigarette smoking. Think dietary supplement(although obviously an e-cigarette is NOT the same as a vitamin or other supplement).

RE: More scare tactics?
By SPOOFE on 2/11/2010 3:03:19 PM , Rating: 2
Cigarettes were being marketed as healthy when they came out.

Cite, please. When DID cigarettes come out? Because people have been aware that tobacco is unhealthy since the 1800s, if not before. The best you can say is that people were unaware of HOW unhealthy it was.

RE: More scare tactics?
By omnicronx on 2/11/2010 3:29:48 PM , Rating: 2
On June 12, 1957, Surgeon General Leroy E. Burney declared it the official position of the U.S. Public Health Service that the evidence pointed to a causal relationship between smoking and lung cancer.
That was the first time that the Surgeon General actually made the link between smoking and cancer.

It was not until a later report in 1964 that it was actually confirmed and it was not until 1970 that all packs of cigarettes came with a warning in the name of the Surgeon General.

A study in 1958 showed that even after the first warning from the Surgeon General, only 44% of Americans believed smoking caused cancer. By 1970 that number jumped to over 80%.

In other words you are quite wrong, for years cigarettes were marketed and sold as a healthy product, with the majority of the public believing it to be true even 50 years ago.

RE: More scare tactics?
By SPOOFE on 2/11/2010 4:08:38 PM , Rating: 2
You've succeeded in refuting nothing I said. Lung Cancer does not equal the totality of health. Again, it was known LONG before the lung cancer link was established that smoking was unhealthy.

Please show evidence that cigarettes were marketed as "healthy".

RE: More scare tactics?
By omnicronx on 2/11/2010 4:49:01 PM , Rating: 2
Oh man, do you live under a rock?

Google Image 'Old cigarette ads' and look for yourself.

Take a quick peek at some of the old adds from the 30's through the 50's.. They flat out lie in most of the ads.

For example: "Scientific Evidence on the Effects of Smoking! After 10 months, the medical specialist reports that he observed no adverse effects on the nose, throat, and sinuses of the group smoking Chesterfield."

The tobacco companies shoved adds down our throats, claiming they were healthy and had no adverse effects and we ate it up.

RE: More scare tactics?
By SPOOFE on 2/11/2010 5:05:08 PM , Rating: 2
Google Image 'Old cigarette ads' and look for yourself.

I just did. I found nothing indicating that people used to think cigarettes are "healthy". The link you provided does nothing to support that claim, either. The best you can find are examples of cigarettes claiming to be healthIER than other cigarettes.

Conclusion: You are full of it.

RE: More scare tactics?
By omnicronx on 2/11/2010 5:40:20 PM , Rating: 2
Buddy you are arguing semantics.

'no adverse effects on the nose throat and sinuses'..

If something has no adverse effects, is it good or bad for you?
You don't have to use the word healthy to know what they are trying to get across.

RE: More scare tactics?
By SPOOFE on 2/11/2010 6:52:01 PM , Rating: 2
You need to go to and look up the word "qualifier".

Again, I'm asking for evidence to support the original assertion, which is that "cigarettes were marketed as healthy when they came out". You're trying to claim that A cigarette company claimed they found "no adverse effects" in specific parts of the body but make no claim about overall health in general. Further, their claim may very well be true; take fifty nonsmokers and have them smoke a pack - heck, even a carton - of Chesterfields over a reasonable span of time and I can all but guarantee you that you won't find any adverse effects. This is because the harm of cigarettes comes through regular use over a long period of time.

In short, you've proven only that cigarette companies have, in the past, made silly and insignificant claims about their product that sound positive if one doesn't think about it too much. That's hardly support for the original claim that I initially responded to.

I don't know what game you're playing, but you clearly aren't prepared to argue this topic.

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