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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 melvin121 on 2/10/2010 4:12:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Problem is, there have been no studies nor people to confirm these long term effects that would happen 'over time'. Do you know anyone that has taken these e-cigs for 10 years? Most likely the answer is no, so while they may not be as bad as smoking, you are merely making an assumption that you can not possibly backup


I was simply saying that 50 years ago there were no studies of long term usage (or 10 year studies like you put) of smoking either. So I find it odd that the FDA can boldly warn about potential health risks when their information is pretty much the same as yours/mine...

quote:
Making matters worse, you are comparing the effects of smoking to completely different chemicals which are contained within the ecigs. Why would you assume that the outcome of using these ecigs would be the same? The only common trait between the two is that they both contain nicotine and they are both inhaled.


Im comparing nicotine delivery, one from smoking and one from e-cigs. And people using e-cigs are saying that generally they are feeling better and notcing change in their bodies compared to when using a traditional cigarette. The common demonimator here being nicotine the "addicting" component of smoking end of story. The whole purpose of the e-cig is the delivery and even "enjoyment" of nicotine and smoking minus the 4000 known chemicals of smoking cigarrets, ones that are known to be toxic/cancer causing. The nictoine in itself has different arguments of being not bad, yet fatal if you have to much of it...

Hey Did you know that eating BBQ'ed food can cause cancer, especially charcol ones? why? cause of the burning of the charcol releasing carcinogens, just like smoking...So one argument I hear/see about e-cigs is the fact that your not burning anything, hence no carcinogens. Again, yes there are other chemicals, and yes some found in antifreeze, but you might want to chek out what else thats in..it might scare you.

What is unknow is that the current chemicals found in these e-cig are either: fatal/cancer causing/ or even lead to a whole new slue of health issues. But again, I thought I stated this in the first part of my post, info is unknown at this point.

As for the FDA, its owned and run by the gov't, and you cant tell me that some of their actions aren't exactly side stepping either.

I'm guessing your not a smoker (on my 6th week of no smoking ang going strong)...let me let you in on a secret. Yes smokers know its bad for them...its a weird complicated thing..but this may come to a suprise to you that generally, smokers do NOT have a death wish...So even though there is still so many unknowns of these e-cigs, so many smokers are butting out because of them. is there a risk? I dont know...but niether does the FDA.


RE: More scare tactics?
By nbourbaki on 2/10/2010 4:53:32 PM , Rating: 4
October 2008: In a study funded by Ruyan, Health New Zealand conducts a detailed quantitative analysis and concludes that carcinogens and toxicants are present only below harmful levels. On the basis of the findings, the e-cigarette is rated several orders of magnitude (100 to 1000 times) less dangerous than smoking tobacco cigarettes. The nicotine dose is comparable to that of a medicinal nicotine inhaler. Overall, the product tested was deemed a "safe alternative to smoking." http://www.healthnz.co.nz/ecigarette.htm

I think you do a great disservice to smokers scaring them out of trying something that is orders of magnitude safer than smoking.


RE: More scare tactics?
By omnicronx on 2/11/2010 12:25:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think you do a great disservice to smokers scaring them out of trying something that is orders of magnitude safer than smoking.
He didnt try and scare anyone, hes just making a valid point. Nobody knows the real risks of ecigs yet, as we don't have any long term studies to back it up.

Once again, you are naive to even consider a study based on a 5 year old product as credible. Even with cigarettes one could smoke for 5 years straight, quit and have no ill effects down the line, does that make cigarettes healthy? Furthermore these comparisons are ALL flawed, they all directly compare ecigs to cigarettes, totally disregarding that they only share a few of the same chemical properties.(most of which focus on the amount of nicotine, I have yet to see any study that looks at the other chemicals within ecigs in depth)

Furthermore, did you just scan the link you presented for facts that would prove your point?
quote:
Avoid bottled nicotine. Liquid nicotine (e-liquid) is commonly sold in small bottles of up to 30 mL or more, on the internet, or from stores in the USA, often meant to last consumers one month; often unlabelled as to nicotine dose. Health New Zealand Ltd does not recommend sale or use of e-liquid permitting a lethal dose of nicotine to be swallowed.*

Nicotine solution sold in child-proofed cartridges avoids this risk. Lethal dose for a child is 10mg nicotine. Many bottles on sale contain many times this amount. Even if the cap of a liquid nicotine bottle is child proofed, the risk remains if someone else leaves it open.

For adults, absorption of a fatal dose of 40-60 mg of nicotine could rapidly occur due to spilling the liquid on one’s skin while using liquid nicotine to (cheaply) fill an e-cigarette – a risk heightened by inattention (distraction, fatigue, alcohol, drugs). (Wash it off immediately). Gloves should always be worn.

Avoid gravity feed. E-cigarettes should not be tipped up above mouth level, as the e-cigarette liquid can ooze out and drain nicotine on to the lips.

Avoid child-openable brands of e-cigarette and refill cartridges. Some brands of e-cigarette and of refill cartridges can be pulled apart or opened by young children, giving access to the nicotine solution in which the refill wick is soaked. These brands are a potential hazard.*

What about all these potential hazards that are not even possible with normal cigarettes?

I'm not saying you should be scared of ecigs, I'm saying you should keep yourself informed. As I stated in another post, its very likely that inhaling carcinogens is worse than inhaling a form of vapor, but that does not make ecigs safe, and nobody can claim they are 100-1000 times safer until long term studies have been preformed.


RE: More scare tactics?
By slybootz on 2/11/2010 12:55:37 PM , Rating: 2
when it comes to the chemicals in e-cigarettes, there HAVE been studies on them, so please do not claim that there haven't. The ingredients in [most] e-liquids are: PG/VG(or both), nicotine, and flavoring(typically alcohol based). E-liquids contain a very minimal number of ingredients, as opposed to the 4000+ chemicals(and 43 carcinogenic ones in cigarettes that we KNOW about). If you do research, you will discover that the ingredients in e-liquids HAVE been studied, and have been deemed safe[at least safer than the chemicals in combusted tobacco products].


RE: More scare tactics?
By omnicronx on 2/11/2010 1:30:42 PM , Rating: 2
READ PLEASE! No long term studies, and NO clinical trials! This is a 5 year old product, are you actually trying to imply that long term / clinical studies of any value have been preformed? Look at what the WHO has to say:
quote:
The World Health Organization proclaimed in September 2008 that it does not consider the electronic cigarette to be a legitimate smoking cessation aid, and demanded that marketers immediately remove from their materials any suggestions that the WHO considers electronic cigarettes safe and effective.[11] The WHO states that to its knowledge, "no rigorous, peer-reviewed studies have been conducted showing that the electronic cigarette is a safe and effective nicotine replacement therapy. WHO does not discount the possibility that the electronic cigarette could be useful as a smoking cessation aid." WHO Tobacco Free Initiative director ad interim Douglas Bettcher states, "If the marketers of the electronic cigarette want to help smokers quit, then they need to conduct clinical studies and toxicity analyses and operate within the proper regulatory framework . Until they do that, WHO cannot consider the electronic cigarette to be an appropriate nicotine replacement therapy, and it certainly cannot accept false suggestions that it has approved and endorsed the product. "


RE: More scare tactics?
By SPOOFE on 2/11/2010 10:50:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
No long term studies, and NO clinical trials!

No need. The chemicals in E-cig fluid are fairly well understood. You might as well say you don't know how a Civic works after someone tells you about the function of an Accord.


RE: More scare tactics?
By nbourbaki on 2/11/2010 1:37:34 PM , Rating: 2
Typical. Original objection was no studies. Presented with fact, the argument changes to only short term studies.

You obviously have no first hand knowledge of what you're talking about and sowing fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Naive? I research, buy selectively and assess outcomes. If by chance there are some problems down the road, it's got to be a better outcome than smoking real cigarettes.


RE: More scare tactics?
By omnicronx on 2/11/2010 3:59:41 PM , Rating: 2
Stop being a troll, go read up and look at my post. My original response specifically targets the long terms effects, I never switched my position after being presented with 'facts'.
quote:
Problem is, there have been no studies nor people to confirm these long term effects that would happen 'over time'.


RE: More scare tactics?
By nbourbaki on 2/11/2010 4:18:24 PM , Rating: 2
You mean the one that said "Get this through your head, no testing"?

Or "No studies"

You seem to have a problem discussing issues or adding to the conversation without an insulting, condescending tone. I would say that would make you the troll.


RE: More scare tactics?
By nbourbaki on 2/11/2010 4:20:55 PM , Rating: 2
or

"The only real fact here is that nobody can claim any fact about ecigs as true. Why? Because there has no been any clinical or government body testing."


RE: More scare tactics?
By omnicronx on 2/11/2010 5:24:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Or "No studies"
Are you serious? You grabbed two words out of the entire quote when the quote in question specifically mentions long term effects?
quote:
Problem is, there have been no studies nor people to confirm these long term effects that would happen 'over time'.
As for my first comment, thats a different thread and a different topic. You made the claim that there are 'many vendors selling quality products' when there are no clinical tests to back it up. I probably should have backed up my claim more and I do I apologize if you felt that my comments were condescending.

I understand that you are a user and as such you are going to have strong opinions about ecigs, but the fact remains no clinical testing has been performed, as such nobody has the authority to make any claims about how safe ecigs really are.
(Good or Bad)

In other words I'm not advocating for either side here, I'm just saying that all studies are inconclusive at the very best so keep yourself informed.


RE: More scare tactics?
By omnicronx on 2/11/2010 12:09:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm guessing your not a smoker (on my 6th week of no smoking ang going strong)...let me let you in on a secret. Yes smokers know its bad for them...its a weird complicated thing..but this may come to a suprise to you that generally, smokers do NOT have a death wish...So even though there is still so many unknowns of these e-cigs, so many smokers are butting out because of them. is there a risk? I dont know...but niether does the FDA.
I am a smoker thank you very much (also trying to quit). I basically agree with you, as we seem to be on the same page.

The fact here remains that all studies conducted have been short term, and its really naive for one to think that a few studies performed over a small period of time as conclusive. Even smoking cigarettes it can take 50 years of use to get cancer, how on earth can anyone make the claim that these are safe?

These are not even being marketed as smoking cessation devices in most cases (i.e devices to help quit smoking). They are mainly marketed as safe smoking alternatives, when nobody can possibly prove it as such. That includes all of you who have tried it, and use it on a daily basis. Just because you don't feel the same symptoms as smoking, does not mean its good for you.

I'm not against ecigs, I think they could potentially be a good alternative to cigarettes, I'm just not that naive to think they are a safe alternative as it is impossible to prove it as such as this point in time.

In the end its not a bad thing for anyone to quit smoking, by nature inhaling carcinogens are more than likely worse for you in the long run, but their are a bunch of avid users even on this board that would like to claim that there are little to no side effects when they could not possibly know this for sure. Whether it be you, me, the FDA or some other government agency, nobody really knows.

Consume what you would like, but don't be spreading false information.


RE: More scare tactics?
By SPOOFE on 2/11/2010 10:53:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The fact here remains that all studies conducted have been short term, and its really naive for one to think that a few studies performed over a small period of time as conclusive.

The fact here remains that it's silly to demand a study when there's no real mystery; the ingredients, and the properties of those ingredients, are very easy to understand. Demanding a study is asinine.


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