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e-Cigarettes Continue to Raise Concern with Federal Regulators

Sep 17, 2014

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that the health effects of e-cigarettes continue to remain unknown.

E-cigarettes provide a different nicotine delivery system that provides vapor, not  smoke. e-Cigarettes were developed in China and introduced in the U.S. in 2007, and are battery-powered cartridge devices filled with a nicotine-based liquid. When the e-cigarette is heated, an inhalable mist is created. According to a prior Fox News report, the long-term health risks associated with e-cigarettes are not known and the FDA is looking into regulating all so-called “yaping” devices.

The makers of e-cigarettes say that their products are safer than traditional cigarettes; however, the agency questions the safety of the nicotine products, wrote the Daily News Journal. "While e-cigarette aerosol may contain fewer toxicants than cigarette smoke, studies evaluating whether e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes are inconclusive," the FDA indicated in the report. The agency also questioned claims that e-cigarettes may help people quit smoking, stating in the report that, "No e-cigarette has been approved by FDA as a cessation aid."

The FDA also indicated that it has concerns about impacts to the environment and exposure to non-users of the devices. Daily News Journal also indicated that it has been working to bring e-cigarettes under its regulatory authority.

The public, wrote Forbes, is unaware of the toxicity of ingesting nicotine and the toxicity of nicotine skin absorption and related symptoms, including rapid heart beat, elevated blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, confusion, and seizures that lead to coma and death. Severe exposure may lead to low blood pressure and a low heart rate. In fact, e-Liquids are considered significantly more toxic than tobacco as the liquid is more readily absorbed, even when diluted.

Critics have been concerned that e-cigarette makers are marketing the devices to younger people, noting that, regardless of the method, e-cigarettes deliver nicotine. "It is not known whether e-cigarettes may lead young people to try other tobacco products, including conventional cigarettes, which are known to cause disease and lead to premature death," the FDA indicated in its report, wrote Daily News Journal.

E-cigarettes have been tied to mounting injuries including, burns, nicotine toxicity, and heart and respiratory issues. The FDA also indicated that more than 50 complaints were received over e-cigarettes in the one-year period from March 2013 to March 2014, Fox News reported, citing U.S. data obtained through a public records request. The data is “on par” with the combined number of reports received in the previous five years, Fox News wrote.

About 21 percent of all adult smokers use e-cigarettes, federal data indicate. The figure is a more than double prior years’ rates. According to David Ashley, director of the office of science at the FDA’s tobacco division, the increase is considered significant. Even more so, he said, is the increase in the number of e-cigarette-related telephone calls to poison control centers, according to a report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Both together does (sic) suggest there are more instances going on,” he told Fox News. Some industry analysts say that the e-vapor devices will outnumber traditional cigarettes in a decade; today the e-cigarette industry generates some $2 billion in annual U.S. sales. Traditional cigarettes are, currently, an $85 billion industry.

Complaints filed with the FDA cite breathing troubles; headache; cough; dizziness; sore throat; nose bleeds; chest pain and other cardiovascular problems; and allergic reactions, including itchiness and lip swelling, Fox News reported.

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