E-Cigarettes Should Be Banned Until Made Safe:
-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Electronic cigarettes should
be banned until safety concerns have been addressed, University of
California researchers say.
Their study adds more fuel to the controversy over the
battery-operated devices that contain nicotine, flavorings and
other chemicals. The issue heated up this fall when the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration cited five e-cigarette distributors for
poor manufacturing practices and falsely claiming that the products
help people stop smoking.
The study found serious flaws in e-cigarette products and health
claims. The researchers evaluated six different brands of
electronic cigarettes that were bought online and found that:
- Fluid containing nicotine leaked out of most cartridges.
- The devices were difficult to take apart or put together
without getting nicotine all over the user's hands.
- Nicotine cartridge labeling was poor, with most replacement
packs lacking any indication of cartridge content, expiration date,
or health warnings.
- Cartridges that claimed to have no nicotine content looked
identical to those that claimed to have high nicotine content,
making them indistinguishable once removed from their packs and
- All brands had "ambiguous amounts of nicotine," with stated
levels ranging from 6 milligrams to 24 mg.
- None of the instruction leaflets or product Web sites offered
adequate instructions for proper disposal of used cartridges.
- Safety features did not always work correctly.
- Print and Internet material often contained information or
claims that could not be backed up by scientific evidence. Examples
included: "Be careful to avoid inhaling any significant quantity of
fluid. Although it gives you a slight tingling sensation, it is not
harmful," and "Within two weeks your lung capacity will increase by
30 percent ... Wrinkles in your skin will become less
Because electronic cigarettes are smokeless, they are marketed
to smokers for use in non-smoking areas.
But the researchers concluded that they should not be marketed
at all -- at least until they were safe to use. "Our observations,"
they wrote, "provide evidence that regulators should consider
removing [electronic cigarettes] from the market until design
features, quality control, disposal and safety issues have been
The study was released online Tuesday in the journal
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about
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