They are used to help people stop smoking.
Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes look like the standard fare, but are battery-operated devices that have a cartridge containing nicotine and other chemicals. They are inhaled just like a cigarette.
Now the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says those other ingredients are hazardous to your health.
Tests by the FDA of e-cigarettes reveal they contain toxins including a compound used in antifreeze. An FDA analysis of two brands of e-cigarettes NJOY of Scottsdale, Arizona and the Smoking Everywhere brand, found diethylene glycol, an antifreeze component, reports US News.
Another sample found carcinogens, including nitrosamines, according to Benjamin Westenberger, deputy director of pharmaceutical analysis division of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, which is a division of the FDA.
Besides delivering nicotine, e-cigarettes also deliver flavorings, propylene glycol, a sanitizer ingredient. Nicotine is thought to be non-carcinogenic but has been linked to high blood pressure, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The e-cigarettes are made overseas and in China and, until recently, have faced little regulation. The FDA now wants them regulated as a medical device.
"All of these results indicate an overall lack of quality control," said Westenberger. "These results indicate that these e-cigarettes could have safety and quality concerns."
Along with the testing, the FDA has seized 50 shipments of e-cigarettes and detained shipments at the border.
The American Lung Association is urging the FDA to “halt the sale and distribution of all e-cigarettes unless the products have been reviewed and approved for sale by the FDA.”
The Smoking Everywhere brand sued the FDA last April charging the agency banned shipments of e-cigarettes and insisted they go through the drug approval process.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, new FDA deputy commissioner Dr. Joshua Sharfstein said that "public health experts, including the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Cancer Society, have expressed concerns about the safety of these products and the risk that electronic cigarettes may increase nicotine addiction among young people and ultimately lead kids to try conventional cigarettes."
Do They Encourage Smoking?
Sold in malls in bubblegum, chocolate, and mint flavors, health experts are concerned e-cigarettes are being marketed to young people and may encourage smoking of tobacco.
"It looks like a cigarette, and it's used like a cigarette," Dr. Jonathan Winickoff, chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics' tobacco consortium, said during the news conference. "E-cigarettes might encourage children, preteens and young adults to take their first step toward smoking cigarettes," he said to US News.20182967
Sottera Inc CEO Jack Leadbeater, maker of NJOY, said in a statement their e-cigarettes have been tested by an independent laboratory and have been sold for two years with no adverse health consequences.
"We do not market our products to children, and indeed take affirmative steps to ensure that our products are not sold to minors by requiring retailers to agree to where the product is placed and request verification of appropriate age as it pertains to each state law."
For the first time since the mid-1960s, the number of Americans who smoke cigarettes has fallen below 20 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). #