E-CigarettesIn 2009, the FDA proposed a set of e-cigarette regulations that would include:

  • Prohibiting their sale to minors
  • Requiring manufacturers to include health warnings
  • Requiring manufacturers to submit product ingredients for FDA review

While the effects of the e-cigarette vapor remain unknown, health care providers would be wise to gather as much information as they can about these increasingly popular devices.

What They Are

E-cigarettes combine a battery with interchangeable liquid nicotine cartridges. Instead of smoke when inhaled, e-cigarettes produce a vapor. A recent study found that 22% of high schoolers use similar flavored e-cigs on a daily basis. These addictive devices continue to be most popular with high schoolers and young college students.  Reuters reports their growing popularity has resulted in more than 250 e-cigarette brands for sale in the U.S. and a $2 billion industry.

Do They Help People Quit Smoking?

E-cigarettes are not a smoking cessation aid approved by the FDA, and a recent study showed they may not ever achieve that status. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, noted that e-cigarette use did not result in smoking cessation or reduction in cigarette intake after one year of use.

Physician Groups’ Views

Perhaps not surprisingly, major medical societies embrace the idea of some type of government control over e-cigarettes. The American Medical Association gives a nod to the FDA for its regulation efforts concerning e-cigarettes as well as cigars and hookahs. The American Academy of Family Physicians calls to end all e-cigarette advertising until more is known about their safety.

Alluring to Youth

Teen use of e-cigarettes is on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some experts say e-cigarettes’ fruity, sweet flavors and ease of online purchase make them particularly appealing for the younger generation.

Dangers of Liquid Nicotine

E-cigarettes are filled and refilled with liquid nicotine, also called e-liquid, and it can be fatal. Ingesting or absorbing the substance through the skin can cause seizures, vomiting, heart problems and even death to adults and children.
E-liquids are widely sold online in concentrations that range from about 2 percent to up to 10 percent of nicotine. E-liquids on the higher end of the scale can be deadly, and experts warn children are attracted to the substance’s bright colors and sweet aromas. In addition, the e-cig aerosol that users breathe from also contain other harmful substances such as

  • Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
  • Diacetyl chemical flavoring
  • Volatile Organic Compound
  • Carcinogens
  • Heavy metals including nickel, tin, and lead

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Last Updated on March 18, 2021