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FDA Challenged to Support Claims Regarding Electronic Cigarettes

Author: E-Cigarette Reviewed

Published: 2013-02-20

Synopsis and Key Points:

Advocates such as E Cigarette Reviewed calling on US FDA to take evidence based approach to electronic cigarette technology.

Main Digest

FDA Publicly Challenged to Support Unsubstantiated Claims Regarding Electronic Cigarettes - E Cigarette Reviewed Calls the FDA's Anti-Harm Reduction Strategy into Question.

Electronic Cigarettes - (Also known as an e-cigarette, personal vaporizer or PV), is an electronic inhaler that vaporizes a liquid solution into an aerosol mist, simulating the act of tobacco smoking. Proponents of electronic cigarettes often claim that electronic cigarettes deliver the experience of smoking while eliminating the smell and health risks associated with tobacco smoke. An electronic cigarette contains three essential components: A plastic cartridge that serves as a mouthpiece and a reservoir for liquid, an "atomizer" that vaporizes the liquid, and a battery.

The FDA is proposing a rule to bring new "tobacco" products under their regulation by April 2013. Although it hasn't been explicitly stated that this will include electronic cigarettes, they've made their intentions clear in the past and have recently held a public hearing on the topic. Their guidance on e-cigarettes fails to recognize their undeniable potential as a harm reduction device, and advocates such as E Cigarette Reviewed are calling on them to take an evidence-based approach to the innovative technology. Failing to base policy decisions on evidence encourages millions of Americans to revert to the exponentially more dangerous tobacco option.

Electronic cigarettes are an alternative to smoking tobacco, turning a nicotine-infused solution into vapor which is inhaled by the user. They contain no tar, carbon monoxide or the overwhelming majority of harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke.

The FDA's stance on e-cigarettes appears to be largely derived from an analysis they conducted of two brands in 2009. Out of the nineteen cartridges tested, one contained diethylene glycol and several contained nitrosamines - a carcinogenic class of chemicals associated with tobacco. They didn't mention the quantities in their press release, I assume because nitrosamines are found in FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapies in similar quantities and in tobacco at up to 1,400 times the quantities. Likewise, diethylene glycol can be found in 10 times the quantity in aspirin and it's only ever been found in one cartridge out of the thousands which have been tested.

The remaining concerns raised by the FDA are speculative, claiming that the lack of evidence leads to uncertainty with regards to their safety. It's impossible to deny that more research is needed to draw more weighty conclusions, but any organization which refuses to acknowledge that they have a high potential for the reduction of harm in comparison to tobacco cigarettes is actively ignoring mounting evidence and common sense.

E Cigarette Reviewed is calling on the FDA to support their position with evidence rather than bias and speculation. Reviews of multiple studies, emerging research, data on the average age of e-cig users and investigations into the risks of second hand vaping reveal that e-cigarettes are considerably less dangerous than tobacco, don't target teens and pose no risks to bystanders.

The risks of tobacco smoke are well-known and extensively documented. By warning consumers away from a source of significant harm reduction, they are effectively promoting harm through the continued use of tobacco.

About E Cigarette Reviewed: E Cigarette Reviewed is the leading source of electronic cigarette reviews. Electronic cigarette buyers use the site to compare and select the best e-cigarettes based on peer reviews. E Cigarette Reviewed aims to bring transparency to the electronic cigarette industry by extensively testing and reviewing the latest products on the market and offering an unbiased opinion to the users. For more information visit:

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