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E-cigarettes Still Present Health Risks

Posted: Monday, December 9, 2013 4:00 pm

By Katie Schroeder Rock County Health Educator | 3 comments

E-cigarettes or e-cigs, short for electronic nicotine delivery systems, are becoming the “next big thing” in the tobacco world.

The main components of an e-cigarette include an electronic vaporization system, rechargeable batteries, electronic controls and cartridges for the liquid that is vaporized. They are designed to vaporize and deliver a mixture of nicotine, propylene glycol and other chemicals to the lungs. Unlike conventional tobacco cigarettes, e-cigs generate water vapor instead of smoke.

One of the major risks of e-cigarettes is they are so new to the market there are currently no FDA regulations released, allowing them to fall through federal loopholes, such as taxation and marketing tactics. This also means there is no age-restriction on purchasing the devices, and many companies market to the younger crowd with their fun flavors, such as “Gummi Bear” and “Fruit Loops.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) worry “e-cigarettes will addict more young people to nicotine, by attracting non-smokers, who might later shift over to regular tobacco.”

Recent findings from the U.S. FDA show at least 10 toxicants can be identified in e-cigarettes, including known carcinogens and ingredients used in antifreeze.

A recent study in Turkey found propylene glycol (potentially toxic) in every electronic nicotine delivery system sample as well as tobacco specific N-nitrosamines (powerful carcinogens) in numerous samples.

A study in Germany also found e-cigarettes release toxins into the air, including acetic acid, acetone, isoprene, formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, causing concern for potential second-hand risks.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no scientifically proven instruction for using electronic cigarettes as a replacement or method to quitting smoking.

They contain nicotine (amounts vary widely), an addictive chemical, and each product’s ingredients vary, so consumers have no way to find out what is actually being delivered by the product.

The bottom line is e-cigarettes cannot be used as a safe method of replacement to conventional cigarettes.

Health officials continue to learn more of the adverse health risks and are hopeful the FDA will soon release rules and regulations.

If you need assistance quitting smoking, the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line is available 24/7, offering free phone support and cessation counseling. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for resources today