I’m sure many of you have been hearing about the latest news that the FDA has finally issued new rules and regulatory authority over e-cigarettes. Well, it’s about time! The business has enjoyed unbridled malignant growth in the recent years with no regulation, no disclosure or transparency requirements, to the consternation of the medical community. To date, some findings are very disturbing:
1. There has been no disclosure of just what is contained in the cartridges. We know it has nicotine. But what else? So far, preliminary studies have revealed the following substances also contained in these cartridges: diethylene glycol (used in anti-freeze, very toxic to us humans), tobacco-specific nitrosamines (known carcinogens), anabasine, myosmine, and β-nicotyrine (known tobacco-specific impurities), nicotine in cartridges that are not supposed to contain nicotine, and the nicotine-containing cartridges had varying levels of nicotine.
2. The e-cigarettes come in candy and bubble gum flavors that are attractive to children and teenagers. Some marketers have been known to give out free samples to these minors.
3. These e-cigarettes have also been marketed as a better option to actual tobacco products, and there is the suggestion that it is a good smoking cessation alternative. Studies have shown that that they are no better than nicotine patches.
Canada’s health agency has been a step ahead. They have already banned the importation of the e-cigarettes from China and its commercial sale. Good for them!
Some lawmakers have made statements that the FDA has not gone far enough to protect the American consumer and that if it takes too long for them to complete their regulatory policies, more and more people would be harmed. Of note is that the CDC has issued a report that between 2011 to 2012, the rate of minors using e-cigarettes has gone from 4.7% to 10%, more than double in just one year!
Does anyone know the answers? We all know how incredibly addictive nicotine is. We don’t know enough of the interplay between nicotine and the other tobacco components and whether it would be a more potent carcinogen. Which is best: No nicotine? A little nicotine? Lots of nicotine? Are the ill effects of these substances dose related? Frequency related? Is a little crack cocaine supposed to be better than a lot of crack cocaine? Or heroin for that matter? There are many substances, which regardless of quantity, i.e. dosage, concentration, diluent or delivery device used, are just not good for human health and well-being.
Why do we continue to tolerate their promotion in the market, let alone their very existence, knowing they are uniformly harmful, if not lethal? Is there a daredevil streak in our human nature that allows for it? I think this is where I would draw the line with a civil liberties defense.
My mother banned smoking at the bakery (both the customer area and the baking area!) she co-founded in the sixties. Yes, she is a true trailblazer. We need more like her to stand up to the establishment, the uber-rich tobacco manufacturers and their well-paid lobbyists.
- US FDA Bulletin on E-Cigarettes, 04/24/2014
- Summary of Results; Laboratory Analysis of Electronic Cigarettes Conducted by the FDA
- E-Cigarettes Under Fire (WebMD.com)
- F.D.A. Will Propose New Regulations for E-Cigarettes (NYTimes.com)
- FDA Proposes Crackdown on E-Cigarettes (CNN.com)
- FDA Moves to Regulate Increasingly Popular E-Cigarettes (NPR.org)
- E-Cigarettes: Separating Fiction from Fact (everydayhealth.com)