Readily available on the internet and shopping malls, electronic cigarettes are marketed to teens and touted as a healthy substitute for cigarettes. E-cigarettes, which are often made to look like real cigarettes, are far from healthy.
The FDA has recently analyzed the ingredients in a small sample of cartridges from two leading brands of e-cigarettes. A chemical used in antifreeze that is toxic to humans was found, as well as other known carcinogens, such as nitrosamines, were detected.
These products have never been submitted to the FDA for evaluation or approval, so at this time the agency has no way of knowing, except for the limited testing it has performed, the various levels of nicotine or the different amounts or kinds of other chemicals that these products deliver to the user. In fact, little is known about the devices.
The devices, known as e-cigarettes, are battery operated and contain nicotine, flavors, and other chemicals that are converted into a vapor that the user inhales. Flavors such as chocolate, cola and bubble gum provide a youthful appeal. Manufacturers provide no health warning on the product and claim that they are a safe alternative to cigarettes because they do not burn tobacco.
The FDA said it has been examining and detaining shipments of e-cigarettes at the borders since Summer 2008, and is currently involved in a lawsuit challenging its jurisdiction over certain e-cigarettes.
Source: “E-Cigarettes Subject of FDA Warning”, MedPage Today, July 23, 2009
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