Sunday, November 16, 2008

E-Cigarettes and Health


Smokeless nicotine comes under scrutiny.

You may never have heard of it—but it’s the newest drug in town. It’s called an electronic cigarette, or “e-cigarette.” Electronic cigarettes use batteries to convert liquid nicotine into a fine, heated mist that is absorbed by the lungs. No smoke, but plenty of what makes cigarettes go, if you don’t account for taste—or ashtrays and smoke rings.

In an attempt to work around the world’s growing ban on cigarette smoking in public places, a Hong Kong-based company developed the first e-cigarette in 2004. Since then, other companies have done the same, claiming that e-cigarettes are much healthier than regular smokes.

Last month, that claim was vigorously disputed by the World Health Organization (WHO). In fact, WHO said electronic cigarettes can be deadly. Stressing that the device had not been adequately tested, Douglas Bettcher, the director of WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative, told the Associated Press that “there’s no experience in pharmacology yet of nicotine replacement therapies which actually inhale nicotine in the lungs.” Replacement therapies such as skin patches and gum have undergone thorough clinical testing, Bettcher said. For these reasons, “the World Health Organization does not consider the electronic cigarette to be a legitimate nicotine replacement therapy.”

The anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) doesn’t think much of e-cigarettes, either. In the U.K. Times Online, ASH director Deborah Arnott said that “at the moment we don’t know enough about this product. Quality control in China is not the highest, and our advice is it’s best to use nicotine products like gums and patches. The electronic cigarettes fall into a regulatory gap and they haven’t been chemically tested.”

So far, electronic cigarettes are being actively marketed in China, Great Britain, Canada, Brazil, Israel, Sweden, and other countries. The cartridges containing the liquid nicotine are available in several flavors, and battery life is estimated at one to three days for most units. The e-cigarette web site www.e-cig.org offers a list of “best places to use your electronic cigarette,” such as airplanes, in church, at the mall, in a restaurant, bar or hospital, or “at your kid’s school recital.”

According to China View News , a “changeable filter contains a liquid with nicotine and propylene glycol. When the user inhales as he would when smoking, air flow is detected by a sensor and a micro-processor activates an atomizer which injects tiny droplets of the liquid into the flowing air, producing a vapour.”

The unit, which looks like a long cigarette, is powered by a rechargeable battery. Propylene glycol is a commercial product sold as a low-toxicity version of antifreeze, among other applications.

E-cigarettes are readily available for purchase online, and at least one American firm has announced plans to market versions of e-cigarettes domestically. However, none of the manufacturers to date seems to be working through the existing regulatory framework, which in most countries calls for toxicity analyses and clinical studies. Jason Cropper, managing director of the Electronic Cigarettes Company, told BBC News that e-cigarettes “are certainly healthier than smoking cigarettes. Tests have been done on mice in the lab and they have shown they are not harmful.” However, Cropper said, no human trials had been undertaken because they are too expensive.

The World Health Organization became involved in the matter after several e-cigarette manufacturers began using the World Health Organization’s logo on advertisements and product inserts. “It’s 100 percent false to affirm this is a therapy for smokers to quit,” Bettcher said. “There are a number of chemical additives in the product that could be very toxic.”

Meanwhile, The Ruyan e-cigarette, a joint effort by Ruyan Holdings Ltd. of Hong Kong and Ruyan America, Inc., won Most Innovative Product of 2008 at the Tobacco Plus Expo in Las Vegas last May.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

This product will likely lead youth to start smoking. It is important for today's youth to realize that smoking is not the norm. The marketers are pretending like they are doing everyone a favor, but they are actually serving injustice to our youth.

Anonymous said...

The comment below me is ridiculous. Why would youth start smoking electronic cigarettes instead of regular cigarettes? I was a cigarette smoker for 35 years. I switched to an ecigarette 6 months ago. I haven't had a normal cigarette since. My lungs feel amazingly clean, my smoker cough is gone, im sleeping better then ever. It is AMAZING. These things are a god send to smokers who enjoy their addiction but dont enjoy the bad health. I bought Intellicig EVOlution from www.intellicigs.com BEST THING I EVER DID!

Dirk Hanson said...

I get what you are saying, leaford, but there is still considerable debate over the extent to which nicotine-based products constitute a fruitful direction for harm reduction. Are e-cigarettes the "light" cigarettes of the 00's?

The American Psychological Association posted on this:
http://www.apa.org/science/psa/sb-hatsukami.html

"Consumer research demonstrates that [e-cigarettes] constitute a significant threat to cessation efforts. Current smokers have a high degree of interest in these products, and falsely assume that these products dramatically reduce the risk of tobacco product use when compared to conventional cigarettes (Shiffman, Pillitteri, Burton, & Di Marino, 2004).... Most disturbing is the data indicating that one of the reasons smokers are interested in these products is because it will enable them to put off the need to quit smoking (Zeller, 2003)."

Anonymous said...

If you follow the direct link that user Dirk Hanson posted above, you will see that the The American Psychological Association was NOT refering to "Electronic Cigarettes" but rather past brands of actual tobacco cigarettes, or tobacco containing devices, such as the "Eclipse" brand that was developed and marketed by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco.

An E-cigarette does not contain tobacco, and that is a major difference.

Quoted from the linked article above:
"There are also products that are nicotine delivery devices that heat rather than burn tobacco, and which claim to reduce the levels of toxic combustion products (e.g., Eclipse, Accord)."

That is what the article was reffering to, not electronic cigarettes.

I personally completely agree with the first anonymous poster, we do NOT want to lead our youth to smoking -- so why should we automatically criticize this option that can ultimately lead to LESS REAL CIGARETTE SMOKERS?

This is quite obviously a cleaner and more realistic alternative for those who are already addicted to smoking traditional cigarettes. If this product can truly deliver the actual feel of smoking (which other nicotine containing products such as gums and patches are lacking- that specific mental part of the addiction which is the hand to mouth association from smoking cigarettes) with no actual smoke/ harmful chemicals and if it creates no second-hand smoke harm to others while possibly even helping people who are currently struggling to kick their nicotine addiction... this can truly be a very helpful product in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

What was not mentioned here is that propylene glycol is harmess and is also used in moisturisers, food and parfums. It is considered safe to place directly into food as an additive.

Anonymous said...

Horrible Idea those e cigarettes . The FDA needs to get involved with this. I mean if this isn't federally monitored and people begin using these to quit smoking then who will we be able to slap a gigantic absorbent tax on ? Get real people this is all a way for the government to to tell people what is good for them. Let the people decide. As for it encouraging the youth to take up smoking if you post that here there or anywhere ,fear that it may happen and generally make a big to do about it guess what they will take it up for the simple fact that the establishment" thinks they shouldn't. I have smoked for 20 years , I feel like crap in the mornings now . i want to quit and have tried several stop smoking remedies to no Avail . I am going to try the E cigarette and who is to tell me I can't.

Anonymous said...

I have been using my e-cigarette for exactly 27 days and have not had the want or desire for a "tobacco" cigarette for 26 days. My husband now uses one along with my father. I feel great, my kids are very happy that the "ashtray" smell is gone! This is a great product and I am stocking up before the government decides it is too bad for their pocketbooks and bans them.

Anonymous said...

Still amazed how government effects some opinions. Doesn't everyone recognize what they are doing - like they always do? Until they can get a piece of the action and slap a label on it they will put the scare out anyway they can AND until they can figure our a way to allow doctors to subscribe this as a drug. All about the money. Millions of people are prescribed Nicotine patches and other every year. Are you seriously telling me something you ingest through your digestive system is less "toxic"? Ask a REAL doctor about this and I am sure they will tell you this is as safe or more safe than what is currently being used. Wake up.

Anonymous said...

I am in agreement with most responders. If this is truly the "safe" cigarette the government has spent timeless legislation trying to prevent, then I am all for the e cigarette. Keep the government in its cage and let the people decide!

OxnardTheGreat said...

What is wrong with you people? This is a safe alternative to cigarettes, that contain over 4,000 chemical additives. This is has to be safer than cigarettes. Eating crap is safer than cigarettes. But you want to take away an alternative. You say that inhaling nicotine hasn't been tested, but it has, there's several inhalers and nasal sprays available through high priced big pharmacy. This could stop lung cancer, and lung diseases caused by tar. You just like telling others how to live their lives. If you get your way, the blood from cigarette deaths will be on your hands.

Anonymous said...

I hate this government polocies which only think of their benefit of billions of dollars towards tobacco taxes. we kill ourselves and pay them.. just because of our addiction. if we find a healthier alternative to the deadly cigarette, why should anyone stop us from using it.

this e-cigarette is a dream come true. iam a smoker since i was 16, smoking for 10 years- three weeks into e-smoking i never felt the crave for a tobacco cigarette and inface i started hating the smell. i was waiting for an order of eliquid to ship, i tried the regular cigarette and will u believe me or not i couldnt smoke 3 puffs, it so bad..

if e-cigarette is toxic, as many of our health lords explain,,, agreed, its toxic,,, but what about the tobaccco cigarettes,,, are they not toxic?????? why are they on the shelves then???? just keeping a age restriction and posters WE CARD KEEP YOUR ID READY at gas stations doesnt solve the problem... people still use it.. i had no problems buying cigarettes right from the age of 16. no one cares for these id cards.. does that prevent minors or youth from smoking??? no it doesnt...

If Philip Morris pays the US government Billions of dollars each year.. fine.. the government should as k philip morris to manufacture e-cigarettes and put them on the shelf and keep paying the government the same billions they are paying today..

I saw a video review of the e-cigarette by the Surgeon General,, he says "Nicotine has never been delivered by inhalation in its pure form" so what???? ask the FDA to fund the research and testing of this product.. Where have the billions gone we all paid all our lives and all those in the graves by now of smoking---

every citizen has the right to health. what can you expect of this government??? there are 40 million people without health insurance.. I ask why insurance for health?? why cant it be PAYMENT FOR SERVICE DELIVERED????? when they dont care about th health of their citizens in the larger form .. why does the government care about the health of long chronic smokers- who already have black stained lungs and will eventually die of tobacco smoke.

It sucks when i see al this... raise your voice demand the health you have been paying for....

Sometimes health has to go over money and federal revenue policies.. this is the time... WAKE UP!!!
All th best

Anonymous said...

I started smoking at 13 yrs old. I am 43. I never heard of a kid dying from lung cancer, they just get hooked as an adult. I love to smoke and frankly I am tired of begin penalized for the "youth “as well as being treated like a kid by not having a say over my own body. So far the government has told business and people what to do and it is so easy for others to "click up" with their social ideology. So what if you don’t like to smoke, stay the hell away from me then, stay out of my bars and restaurants and keep your kids at home because I am sick of hearing about them. “Oh God, will someone please think of the children!" is a catch all excuse. This damn world doesn’t revolve around their asses. So buy your e-smokes!

Anonymous said...

this machine is not a therapy to quit smoking, is a machine to replace nicotine! nicotine is a deadly toxin, the liquified nicotine content of a pack of twenty can kill a human, nicotine causes the release of cholesterol into the blood stream which cloggs your arteries, it also shrinks your gums, i cant see how vaporising it removes its lethality, in my opinion this method of taking such a quick waterbased and chemical hit of nicotine could be even worse than smoking the stuff, im sure people who use these e-cigaretes are wandering around with a happy face because they think their addiction isnt messing them up because it doesnt involve smoke, nicotine is still the one which cloggs your arteries, can cause athersclerosis, among other shit! im not trying to ruin your fun but im just saying it as its is and im a smoker too

Anonymous said...

Pro's: Convienient and easy to use. Smoke in your bed without the risk of falling asleep and lighting your place on fire. Smoke in your car without the distractions of lighting up or ashing it. Can use it at work without having to go outside for a smoke break if you have a jonesing for a drag. Smoke is similar to a hookah with a variety of flavors to choose from. Cheaper than most cigarettes after the initial investment. Good clean nicotine buzz without the harshness of actual burning.

Cons: Expensive initial investment. battery charge life is limited. A lot of places will tell you to put it away anyway. Subjectively speaking MORE addictive than regular cigarettes due to the ability to smoke much deeper and stronger drags. Will probably become illegal soon in many countries since it IS a drug delivery device.

Anonymous said...

I think all of you are fogetting that there are e-ciggs with no nicotine. So you can stop smoking and not have the nicotine.

sherafy said...

Put it this way: They say inhaling nicotine hasn't been tested. What is smoking an actual cigarette then? So lets propose you can smoke that cigarette but eliminate the thick, odorous chemicals and tar that you used to smoke. By this logic, you can't do any worse by smoking an e-cigarette. You are essentially smoking what you used to, just without many of the by-products.
So it is simply foolish to take that away from people, because you know what they will do? Yea, go back to regular cigarettes.
FYI: If your going to argue against me, please don't use circular reasoning, its just a waste of my time.

Anonymous said...

E-ciggarettes contain a carcigen found in anti-freeze. Its actually worse for you than smoking real cigarettes.

Anonymous said...

"Propylene glycol does not cause sensitization and it shows no evidence of being a carcinogen or of being genotoxic.[13][14]"

Anonymous said...

Ok, you can leave the "you're a genius!" comments after I post this, but I have...an idea! The FDA is pissy because this is not a smoke cessation technique. So...ready? To quit, buy these AND a smoker's aid such as patches or gum. Here's the catch: buy the No-nicotine version of the e-cigarette. Probably won't work, but it's a good idea.

All flair and exuberance aside, my entire smoking family says that the hand-to-mouth habit is harder to kick than just curbing the nicotine cravings with patches. So people who are trying to kick nicotine use as well, get these, and the patch, and be creative.

If the FDA manages to ban these and not ban cigarettes, obliterating the first good idea to eliminate some of the major hazards of tobacco smoking while not putting unfair pressure on smokers to quit, I will no longer be a US citizen.

So they don't KNOW all of the toxins in e-cigarettes and that scares them, but do they even have an ingredients list for real cigarettes? Would they even be comparable? If they ban these then one thing is certain...the board of the FDA has stocks in tobacco companies.....but seriously, it would be a bad move.

Not to mention, why would the e-cigarette even be advertised as a quitting enabler, they would stop selling if people started quitting.

Anonymous said...

1) If kids want to smoke, they will smoke anything(period)
2)Can the e cigarette be any worse than a real cigarette.
3) If people are so concerned about an e cigarette that might contain harmful ingredients. then what about real cigarettes that we know do!! If they're banning e cigs, then might as well ban real ones.
4) E cigarettes don't smoke like a real cigarette, you don't light it and smoke it till the end. You just take a puff when you want one. And it is easier to quit the e cigarette then real cigs. So, if you smoke try it, it is worth trying for yourself. It has helped me! and I gladly recommend it to smokers

Mark Shepard said...

Totally kids are going to start smoking now because an electronic cigarette (purchasable online by an adult only) has been introduced to the market. At least with this product your children can't pull a "hey mister" and get cigarettes from your local convenience store. Not to mention the fact that a large percentage of children smoke already. Pfft I call shenanigans on your anti-smoking hate blather I say it's better, I get the nicotine I crave without the tar/chemicals that I don't need or wnat.

Anonymous said...

I dont get you guys. a cigarette has over 4000 chemicals that are very unhealthy. The e-cigarette has 1. the e-cigarette might not be good for you but at least it's only 1 chemical that is harming you and no harm on anyone around you. the fact that there is no Tar means you don't mess up your lungs and a persome then has more energy to live an active life. It is not a therapy for helping people get over a nicotine addiction, but it is a decent replacement for a socially inapropriate addiction that (If you get one that looks like a pen - it looks like you are just sucking on a pen) eliminates horrible odours in already smoking areas. and alows people to be smokers in non-smoking areas.

Maybe it is not healthy - but no chemical addiction is, and this certainly is better that normal smokes.

If you want to bash e-smokes and you are a non-smoker, then ok i'll just come smoke a real cigarette right next to you becauses i know you like it.

Randy said...

I'll never understand how people can babble on about things they have no idea about! I'll say only what I know to be fact.Up until 17 days ago, I smoked about a pack a day for 20 years. I have not even had the urge, and that in itself is amazing to me! My cough seems to be dicapating. My clothes dont smell rancid. No second hand, offensive smoke. costs about 6 buck a week the way I do it (after $40 initial investment). I plan to use less and less nicotine in the unit until my addiction is reduced to a physical one, which can be dealt with later as far as I'm concerned.As far as health issues go, I'll stick to the mentality that it's got to be better than traditional cigs, until my research tells me otherwise!

Adam said...

If you believe a word of this article I would suggest verifying facts elsewhere.

This is classic (from this article): "Propylene glycol is a commercial product sold as a low-toxicity version of antifreeze, among other applications."

Scary stuff!

...but WAY out of context.

Wikipedia and other sources confirm that it is used
"As a non-toxic antifreeze for winterizing drinking water systems", not to mention a plethora of other medical, food, cosmetic, and other uses.

They put this same stuff in drinking water! It would seem they just add nicotine and flavoring, which if you research a bit you will see it is all stuff we already consume in various ways.

I am not saying it's good for you or not, but it's hard to believe that this could be more harmful than inhaling burning material.

I came to this site in my search to find out if e-cigs are healthy or not. Verify what you read, I wouldn't be surprised if every statement here is out of context!

Annonomoyous said...

i think the e cigarette is a great idea i mean i dont think they are actually safe but they cant be worse than regular cigarettes my boyfriend and i have been thinking about buying them and we did today he works at a cigarette company the best brand is the en joy they are cheaper than the Health E cigarettes and no consumers had any complaints with them like they did with the Health E cigarettes i am not sure if i will continue smoking them or go back to tobacco cigarettes time will tell but i would suggest all smokers to at least try the e cigarette

Electric Cigarette said...

A lot of people think of the electric cigarette as a stop smoking device. For me, smoking electric cigarettes has made smoking more enjoyable and has removed some of the downside and even made it somewhat cheaper – so it hasn’t done much to help me quit – al least I’m not getting so many chemicals, tar and other bad stuff.

green smoke said...

I have used an e-cigarette for over 8 months without tobacco cigarettes. I feel better, smell better and smoke it wherever. Every smoker should switch especially if they have a tough time quitting tobacco. Such an in-genius device! Most kids these days know better not to start smoking but even so I don't think this will get more kids into smoking or vaping period.

Anonymous said...

I support you people out there, E cig is the way to go. How bad can it be compared to real cigerette smoking? The bad verses good it 4000 to 1! The government is making a big fuzz out of it mainly because they fear the loss of billions in cigerette taxes. It is only just a simple logic that everyone can see.

e-cigarette reviews said...

I believe that this is a nice start in quitting to smoke. I have heard some of my friends getting rid of the traditional cigars.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "E-Cigarettes and Health":

My husband is dying from COPD caused from smoking. HIS LUNG SPECIALIST recommended trying the e-cigarettes. We purchased at the local mall and I am using them also. I have been using them for 22 days and I am already breathing better, my husband is still extremely ill, but at least can have this and not have as many episodes, plus it he can smoke in the hospital, which helps him to not be so edgy. I have gone from regular nicotine to light and switch out for -0- now and then. I enjoy it and plan on using the -0- nicotine for as long as I want. These are the best thing that could happen for us long term smokers who regret starting (30 years ago) but can't stick to not smoking at all. My kids are so happy that I use these now and we all feel better.

Electronic Cigarette said...

Electronic cigarettes do not contain the harmful substances found in traditional cigarettes such as tar, tobacco, smoke, and other dangerous chemicals. Electronic cigarettes only contain nicotine, which satisfies the smoker’s craving without all the nasty side effects from traditional cigarettes.

electronic cigarette said...

Electronic cigarette is useful if you want to quit smoking your normal cigarettes.

Placi funerare marmura alba said...

What was not mentioned here is that propylene glycol is harmess and is also used in moisturisers, food and parfums. It is considered safe to place directly into food as an additive.

Electronic Cigarettes said...

I get what you are saying, leaford, but there is still considerable debate over the extent to which nicotine-based products constitute a fruitful direction for harm reduction. Are e-cigarettes the "light" cigarettes of the 00's?

John said...

There is a good NY TIMES article about this subject matter:

"A Tool to Quit Smoking Has Some Unlikely Critics"

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/08/science/e-cigarettes-help-smokers-quit-but-they-have-some-unlikely-critics.html?_r=1

secigarette.co.uk said...

i disagree how could they hurt your effort to stop smoking? its just another great peice of technology that in my opinion helps liberate people. plus the obvious fact they can save you an absolute forutne compared to tobacco.

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