As reported first in the WSJ Health Blog, the FDA is finally looking into electronic cigarettes, and they don't like what they see. Here is the FDA press release and here is the full report.
I have previously posted on my concerns about the safety of e-cigarettes. These posts are some of my more popular ones, with so many readers not understanding my concern. Their points are that e-cigarettes are at least better than tobacco cigarettes, and nicotine itself is safe, since it is sold over the counter. However, the FDA seems to validate my concerns. Here's what they found.
- In testing 19 products from two manufacturers, investigators found that the majority tested positive for tobacco impurities thought to be harmful to humans.
- In one sample, the FDA’s analyses detected diethylene glycol, a chemical used in antifreeze that is toxic to humans
- Half of the samples appeared to contain known carcinogens
- Some products testing positive for nicotine even though the label said no nicotine was present.
The FDA is also concerned about the appeal of e-cigarettes and the easy availability to children:
These products are marketed and sold to young people and are readily available online and in shopping malls. In addition, these products do not contain any health warnings comparable to FDA-approved nicotine replacement products or
conventional cigarettes. They are also available in different flavors, such as chocolate and mint, which may appeal to young people
Thus, I stand by the statements in my previous posts. Electronic cigarettes are not safe and should not be used to replace tobacco products, nor as a substitute for smoking cessation agents.