In the wake of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration‘s move to classify the electronic cigarette as tobacco rather than a more strictly regulated drug-delivery device, two University of Kentucky professors outline the dangers, and false claims, of the product in an op-ed piece in the Lexington Herald-Leader.
“E-cigs preserve the visual, sensory and behavioral aspects of smoking, which can prolong addiction, ” Ellen Hahn and Carol Riker contend. The product can also be a gateway to traditional cigarettes for non-users and, because of their flavorings, attract youth, they say.
E-cigarettes are reusable tubes that contain a mixture of liquid nicotine, flavorings, propylene glycol that mimics the look of smoke, as well as other chemicals. Hahn and Riker note that the e-cigarette industry says its product can be a replacement on occasions when traditional smoking is prohibited, but at the same time claims that e-cigs help smokers break the habit.
“Recent studies report serious labeling and quality-control issues as well as design flaws, none of which are reflected in the industry’s television ads, powerful Internet pitches and testimonials using Facebook and other social media,” Hahn and Riker write, adding the World Health Organization has concerns about the product and the FDA has not evaluated it for safety. “Continuing to market e-cigs without rigorous research and strict regulation is an uncontrolled experiment conducted by those whose primary interest is to profit from addition.” (Read more)