Together with the appear and feel of real cigarettes, free e cigarettes are experiencing a boom in popularity. But because the product’s popularity rises, so perform unknowns about its potential impact on public health.
As scientific studies on e-cigarettes make an effort to catch up with their popularity, it remains to be noticed when the products is a boon to quitting smoking or a setback toward the goal of getting rid of nicotine forever.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that convert nicotine into vapor. These products can be purchased within the counter and therefore are not subjected to exactly the same regulation as actual cigarettes. A 2011 survey showed that about 21 percent of smokers had used e-cigarettes at least one time – up from about 10 percent of smokers who took the same Web survey in 2010, as outlined by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study published online in February in Nicotine & Tobacco Research. About 7 percent of smokers who received exactly the same survey in 2010 via postal mail also said they had tried e-cigarettes at least once.
The Meal and Drug Administration announced in 2011 that this agency intends to propose regulating e-cigarettes as being a tobacco product, as outlined by Jennifer Haliski, a public affairs officer for FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. Any product containing nicotine from tobacco, unless marketed for therapeutic purposes, is recognized as a tobacco product, according to the 2009 court case, Sottera Inc. v. Food and Drug Administration.
However, concrete regulations on e-cigarettes have yet to become issued, as the science remains catching up.
“Further research is needed to look at the potential public health benefits and perils associated with electronic cigarettes and other novel tobacco products,” Haliski said.
Getting regular smokers to give up is actually a potential public health advantage of e-cigarettes, said Maciej Goniewicz, PhD, an assistant professor of oncology with the Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences.
Goniewicz said that to date he sees e-cigarettes being mostly utilized by regular smokers – as opposed to first-time smokers – rather than smoking cigarettes, offering another possibility to quit right after a relapse. Goniewicz is one of 5 authors of your Nicotine & Tobacco Research study published online in April 2012 that compared nicotine and organic compound vapors of 16 e-cigarette brands available in U.S., England and Polish markets. The study found 300 84devvqky of e-cigarettes defined as having high nicotine levels delivered .5 to 15.4 milligrams of nicotine – considered negligible when compared with toxins in regular cigarettes.
However, Goniewicz said there may be limited data about whether exactly what is exhaled from free e cigarette samples contributes to exposure for folks aside from the user.
“We know there’s almost nothing there when compared with cigarette smoke,” Goniewicz told The Nation’s Health. “But we don’t know what’s occurring following a extended exposure. We should wait for a studies.”
Regular utilization of nicotine, which is located in tobacco, will not be without its very own health effects. An addictive substance, nicotine use can result in increased blood pressure and heartrate and also nausea, sweating and diarrhea, in accordance with the National Institutes of Health. E-cigarettes are not the sole product to provide nicotine to users. Various products are utilized to provide nicotine to users as a tool for smoking cessation, but such tools are regulated by FDA.
FDA-approved over-the-counter cessation products include nicotine replacement chewing gum, lozenges and skin patches. Additionally, FDA regulates prescription medications that block nicotine’s effects with a smoker’s brain.
Tim McAfee, MD, MPH, director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health and an APHA member, said it is reasonably confident that when someone who smoked a pack each day switched completely to e-cigarettes it could represent an advantage to health, but you will still find many “caveats and ‘buts’ around that.”
One concern is the usage of e-cigarettes in businesses or restaurants to skirt clean air ordinances or indoor smoking bans, McAfee said. Usage of e-cigarettes in places with established indoor smoking laws can be quite a step backward for public health with regards to quality of air, as well as a negative for an individual who could have otherwise quit nicotine, he stated.
“Someone should not need to go in a nearby restaurant and wonder what’s emerging from a plastic device that is certainly completely unregulated,” McAfee said. “And we understand that nicotine originates out, which happens to be not fair to show people to inside a public space, since nicotine is a psychoactive substance.”
In Washington, D.C., two members of the Council from the District of Columbia usually are not expecting more studies before proposing regulations.
An exhibitor demonstrates an electronic cigarette at the consumer electronics show in Vegas in 2012. While such merchandise is growing in popularity, their health risks are unclear.
Councilmembers Yvette Alexander and David Grosso introduced legislation April 9 to classify e-cigarettes as regular cigarettes that are already prohibited in indoor areas within the city.
Alexander, who chairs the Council’s Committee on Health, said her council staff told her that they had seen people using e-cigarettes inside city bars and restaurants. With a subsequent escape to a convenience store to get one, a person told Alexander he had sought out the product inside a quest to stop smoking cigarettes, she said.
“These e-cigarettes are marketed in one way in that if you would like smoke it is possible to smoke indoors,” Alexander told The Nation’s Health. “You can beat the ban by smoking these free electronic cigarette kit, that’s one marketing tool.”
Alexander noted that e-cigarettes may also be touted as a replacement for folks seeking to quit smoking. However, it can be uncertain should they be less addictive than traditional cigarettes.
“Everyone is up in arms that I’m trying to ban the e-cigarettes,” Alexander said. “I’m just attempting to ban them as the same way tobacco merchandise is banned indoors. In order to purchase them and smoke them in places where you can smoke tobacco products, that’s fine. But we would like to keep up with the ban on tobacco products for indoor use.”
Another potential public health concern is exactly how the product is marketed toward teens and adolescents. Based on CDC, teens who use smokeless tobacco are more inclined than nonusers to smoke cigarettes, that is a trend CDC’s McAfee said he will not wish to see replicated with e-cigarettes.
Jennifer Pearson, PhD, MPH, a research investigator at the Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at the American Legacy Foundation, stated that e-cigarettes are a novelty product for teenagers, along the lines of hookah. Pearson is actually a co-author of a study on e-cigarette awareness published from the September issue of APHA’s American Journal of Public Health.
“It’s (viewed as) something fun, different you could do when you go out and something that can be done in the clubs because you’re not going to get kicked out,” Pearson said.
E-cigarettes consistently evolve, with new models in the lack of federal regulation. Goniewicz mentioned that rather than limit accessibility product, he would like that regulations ensure quality and safety and stop advertising to children.