What we don’t know – E-Cigarettes

Recently, the World Health Organization issued a strong statement against the use of E-Cigarettes. It declared that “Until such time as a given ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems) is deemed safe and effective and of acceptable quality by a competent national regulatory body, consumers should be strongly advised not to use any of these products, including electronic cigarettes.”

This declaration is part of a growing trend to warn and inform consumers of electronic cigarettes that the dangers are not immediately known. At the national level, the FDA stated that e-cigarettes are not a cessation device and conducted initial lab tests that found e-cigarettes contain detectable levels of toxic chemicals, including an ingredient found in anti-freeze. Furthermore, these same lab tests found that cartridges labeled as nicotine free did in fact contain traceable amounts of nicotine.

A recent article in the SF Chronicle, also touched on this idea, but with a very different conclusion. According to the author, until further research is done, the legislature should stand back and wait. But many local cities and counties in our state recognize the potential harm that these products could have on their citizens, and have taken steps accordingly.

Although the Chronicle article reaches a different conclusion, it is based on the same premise that there is not enough information to determine the safety of e-cigarettes. The World Health Organization and the FDA have both taken the stance that these products could pose a risk. And there is evidence that later this year, the FDA could begin to regulate e-cigarettes as a tobacco product. Until then, cities and counties across California are taking steps to ensure the safety of their citizens by adopting regulations that require a license to sell them, or even prohibiting their use in certain public areas.

–Lindsey Freitas

One Comment

  1. Fr. Jack Kearney
    Posted Sep 3, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    More recent research from Drexel University has shown that ecigs are relatively safe for the user and bystanders. Experts in addiction (such as the California Association for Alcohol & Drug Educators) have endorsed them as a smoking cessation tool. Other studies have shown them to work to help smokers quit. We should be handing these out to smokers, not trying to fight them!

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