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E-Cigarette Vapors Have High Concentrations of Metals // FDA About to Rule; Cancer Society Demands Investigation

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2013-04-02 20:39:22 - WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 2, 2013): As the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] is poised to issue new rules governing e-cigarettes, a new study has found some 22 potentially dangerous chemical elements in the vapor given off or inhaled. ..

These include many metallic particles – including 3 on the FDA's “harmful and potentially harmful chemicals” list [lead, nickel, and chromium] – with the concentrations of 9 "higher than or equal to the corresponding concentrations in conventional cigarette smoke," notes public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who has been called "the law professor who masterminded litigation against the tobacco industry."

Meanwhile, a medical group associated with the American Cancer Society has forcefully asked the FDA to re-examine their safety, and whether they can actually help people quit, complaining: "E-cigarettes have not been scientifically shown to be effective tobacco cessation tools, yet some distributors are marketing them either directly or indirectly for that purpose.",2817,2416185,00.asp


earlier study found that e-cigarettes also create elevated levels of acetic acid, acetone, isoprene, formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, notes Banzhaf, whose legal actions helped lead to the FDA's assertion of jurisdiction over this new nicotine replacement [NRT] product. ..
The new study also found aluminum, bismuth, cerium, chromium, iron, lanthanum, lead, nickel, silicate, silver, tin, and zinc.

Not long ago, USA Today reported on a variety of dangers presented by e-cigarettes, including damage to the lungs of users, and potential hazards to bystanders forced to inhale the nicotine-laden vapors.

It also reported: "'There's a danger e-cigarettes could lure in kids who might not otherwise smoke,' says anti-smoking activist John Banzhaf, a professor at the George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. He pushed for the Food and Drug Administration to regulate them." ..

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA] has warned the public that e-cigarettes contain various toxic, mutagenic, carcinogenic, and genotoxic chemicals, and that e-cigarette cartridges containing the nicotine and other toxic chemicals, many of which come from China, are subject to "none of the manufacturing controls required for FDA-approved nicotine-delivery products" [like nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, etc.].

Indeed, it is believed that some of the dangerous metals contained in the vapor given off by e-cigarettes comes from the soldering used in manufacturing the product.

In addition to nicotine and propylene glycol, the FDA reported that it found in samples of e-cigarettes a variety of "toxic and carcinogenic chemicals" including diethylene glycol, "an ingredient used in antifreeze, [which] is toxic to humans"; "certain tobacco-specific nitrosamines which are human carcinogens"; and that "tobacco-specific impurities suspected of being harmful to humans – anabasine, myosmine, and nicotyrine – were detected in a majority of the samples tested."

The FDA has also reported that e-cigarettes pose “acute health risks” which “cannot seriously be questioned” because they contain “toxic chemicals,” and the devices also “present a serious risk of addicting new users, including children.”

The regulatory agency also reported that: e-cigarette users suffer from a wide variety of potentially serious symptoms "including racing pulse, dizziness, slurred speech, mouth ulcers, heartburn, coughing, diarrhea, and sore throat"; "nicotine [one of the two major chemicals used in the product] in high doses can be dangerous and even fatal"; and that the toxic chemical diethylene glycol was found in the e-cigarettes which were tested.

Many other organizations have also warned about the dangers of e-cigarettes to both users and bystanders forced to inhale the vapors they generate:

MAYO CLINIC: The prestigious Mayo Clinic warns patients and visitors to its web site that "when the FDA analyzed samples of two popular brands, they found variable amounts of nicotine and traces of toxic chemicals, including known cancer-causing substances (carcinogens). This prompted the FDA to issue a warning about potential health risks associated with electronic cigarettes. Until more is known about the potential risks, the safe play is to say no to electronic cigarettes. If you're looking for help to stop smoking, there are many FDA-approved medications that have been shown to be safe and effective for this purpose."

JOHNS HOPKINS: The well-known Johns Hopkins medical organization has warned that "some manufacturers and retailers of e-cigarettes claim these products are healthier than normal cigarettes and can help you quit smoking. But in the absence of scientific evidence to support those contentions, it's best to avoid e-cigarettes until more research has been done. For now, if you're trying to quit smoking, stick with proven, FDA-approved stop-smoking strategies."

CONSUMER REPORTS: The respected and impartial consumer magazine "cautions that they [e-cigarettes] have not been approved by the FDA, so safety is a major concern. E-cigarettes vary widely, and it's unclear exactly which chemicals, other than nicotine, are in the devices. Nicotine itself is extremely addictive and can cause harm, too.” Consumer Reports says more in-depth health studies need to be done, and federal oversight of e-cigarettes is necessary, and there's another concern that's been raised about e-cigarettes – that they could actually lead to smoking the real thing. That's because the devices are easily available online to minors, and they come in enticing flavors such as vanilla and piña colada. .. -

ASSOCIATION FOR THE TREATMENT OF TOBACCO USE AND DEPENDENCE: "These products should be removed from the market until and unless they are proven safe and effective." "Simply stated, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that these products do what these manufacturers and distributors claim nor is there evidence published in peer reviewed scientific journals that these products are safe. . . . The efficacy of these 'electronic cigarettes' (if any) is unknown. Consequently, many smokers attempting to reduce or eliminate their cigarette consumption with 'electronic cigarettes' may become frustrated and give up their cessation attempts. . . . A number of smokers will die in the interval between an unsuccessful attempt and a future attempt. . . . Finally, there is reason to fear that naive children can be exposed to these products which could serve as a gateway tobacco product.

MAJOR HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS: The American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, and the American Heart Association have been very critical of this new product, and asked that it be regulated if not banned. The American Legacy Foundation has urged in a policy statement that "The FDA Should Take Electronic Cigarettes Off The Market Until It Is Satisfied That They Are Safe and Effective."

Just as it did with regard to conventional tobacco cigarettes, the evidence that e-cigarettes could likewise be a public health disaster is gradually accumulating, argues Banzhaf.

Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
2000 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052, USA
(202) 994-7229 // (703) 527-8418 @profbanzhaf

Contact Information:
George Washington University Law School

2000 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052, USA

Contact Person:
John Banzhaf
Professor of Public Interest Law
Phone: (202) 994-7229 // (703) 527-8418
email: email




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