Although they’re often hailed as a healthier variant to regular cigarettes or even as a means to curtail nicotine addiction, the status of e-cigarettes or e-cigs continues to be as controversial as it was when they first appeared on the market. In the US, their sale is not banned, but the Food and Drug Administration has just issued a new warning as to the health risks they entail, as well as to them being illegal, WebMD informs.
In the US, e-cigarettes are available both online and in specialized tobacco kiosks, which is why the FDA has taken it upon itself to do some investigating and analyzing of some of the brands currently available for customers. Not surprisingly, it was found that two of the brands analyzed were illegal, as they included ingredients not listed and known as carcinogens, as well as not abiding by the current legal stipulations. Still, the FDA has not yet moved to ban the products altogether because of their legal status as of now.
“The products we reviewed so far we found to be illegal. There is pending litigation on the issue of FDA’s jurisdiction over e-cigarettes.” attorney Michael Levy, director of the FDA’s office of compliance in the division of drug evaluation and research, says, as quoted by the aforementioned publication. “We felt it important that while there is litigation and we are considering options, there is no reason to be confused about FDA’s position on this issue.” Joshua Sharfstein, MD, FDA principal deputy commissioner, adds.
The products reviewed also included 19 cartridges of two e-cigarettes and, shockingly, almost all did not fit the bill, WebMD stresses. “All but one cartridge marked as having no nicotine actually contained the addictive substance. Cartridges marked as having low, medium, or high amounts of nicotine actually had varying amounts of nicotine. One of the cartridges contained a toxic antifreeze ingredient, diethylene glycol. The devices emitted ‘tobacco-specific nitrosamines which are human carcinogens.’ The devices emitted ‘tobacco-specific impurities suspected of being harmful to humans.’” the publication says of the findings of the FDA.
While the FDA is still to make a decision as regards banning the e-cigarettes altogether, the latest warning does come as a blow to the products, especially since they’re often marketed as healthier, better variants to regular cigarettes. Add to that the fact that, because they can be used in non-smoking environments, they actually ruin antismoking efforts on behalf of the government and health groups, and it becomes clear they actually do more harm than good, WebMD also points out.