FDA seeks to prohibit sales of e-cigarettes
The American Food and Drug Administration revealed last week that an examination of the device, called electronic cigarettes by FDA scientists showed the warning level of carcinogens and other hazardous chemicals like diethylene glycol, which is used in antifreeze, in the content of electronic cigarettes.
The e-cigs or electronic cigarettes are devices operated by battery and comprising a cartridge with liquid nicotine, flavoring and, as tests showed, other toxic additives. When it is heated by battery it provides user with a mixture of pure nicotine, and other chemicals, turned into a vapor and breathed in by “smoker.”
The devices are heavily advertised as alternatives to traditional cigarettes and distributed to everyone who wants to buy them, including minors. They are selling everywhere, from online shops to kiosks and even in shopping centers. Nevertheless, the electronic cigarettes have not been approved or regulated by the FDA, they do not provide any information regarding adverse effects and warning labels as other smoking cessation therapies, like medications and patches. They even do not bear any health warnings as ordinary cigarettes, concerning the health risks related to nicotine consumption. The electronic cigarettes as well provide different flavors – from traditional flavor of tobacco and menthol to fruit and chocolate flavorings, which lure minors to smoke. The FDA recently banned such flavorings in traditional cigarettes exactly because of this appealing effect.
Public health groups said they have been preoccupied that electronic cigarettes might contribute to the raise of nicotine consumption and thus increase the rates of people addicted to nicotine. Joshua Sharfstein, vice chairman of the FDA invited noted scientists among which were Jonathan Winickoff, M.D., American Academy of Pediatrics president and Jonathan Samet, M.D., director of the Institute for Global Health, to take part in laboratory investigation of electronic cigarettes.
The spokeswoman for the FDA said that the have been very much concerned about the popularity of electronic cigarettes due to the unknown amount of nicotine and chemicals and the way the have been advertised. She stated that no-one from electronic cigarettes’ makers of marketers submitted the products for evaluation of their content.
The FDA’s experts investigated the content of nicotine cartridges from two best-selling electronic cigarettes. In one cartridge, the experts found diethylene glycol, an ingredient of antifreeze, which is hazardous for humans, while in other cartridges scientists found carcinogens. These analyses showed the increased level of nicotine and several other additives, harmful to people who inhale them.
The FDA has prohibited the importations of electronic cigarettes, and testing all samples of seized products, with only half of them meeting the standards of smoking cessation therapies in conformity with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration has been challenged concerning its legal authority over regulating electronic cigarettes in a lawsuit currently in Washington DC Supreme Court.
The FDA asked all consumers and public health experts to report about severe adverse effects or other issue related to the use of e-cigs to a FDA’S Hot-line or online at the official FDA web-site.