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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 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'.
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

"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
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?
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.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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