FDA Lab Analysis Puts the Heat on E-Cigarettes

Their websites have names like SmokeAnywhere.com and SmokingEverywhere.com, and manufacturers of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are touting that their products are "cheaper than a cigarette," have a "cool design," come in "different flavors" and are a "tar-free option" to traditional cigarettes. The website of E-Cigarettes National boasts that its new electronic cigarettes have "eliminated over 3,900 chemicals for the smoker that is looking for a smart alternative," and one site even advertises it as a "health cigarette." But the heat on electronic cigarettes is growing. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation, Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis (DPA) recently purchased samples of e-cigarettes and analyzed cartridges from them for nicotine content and the presence of potentially cancer-causing tobacco constituents. DPA found one percent diethylene glycol -- a toxic ingredient used in antifreeze -- in the cartridge of one cigarette. Half the samples tested contained tobacco-specific nitrosamines, which are known human carcinogens. All but one of the e-cigarette cartridges labeled as containing no nicotine did, in fact, contain low levels of nicotine. And three different cartridges with the same label were tested and found to emit "markedly different amounts of nicotine with each puff." DPA suggests the findings indicate "that quality control processes used to manufacture these products are inconsistent or non-existent." E-cigarettes are currently manufactured, advertised and sold without FDA oversight.


I am a part of e cigarettes national that you listed in the article and want to set some facts in order if you do not mind. You state that it is fair and ok to do that on this site.

Diethylene glycol that you state only as an ingredient or chemical in anti-freeze is also in every single tobacco cigarette sold to the public. It is used as a humectant in tobacco cigarettes to keep the tobacco moist.

The tobacco-specific nitrosamines you speak of are also in tobacco cigarettes, they are also in cosmetics and are not mentioned because they are considered by the FDA as "impurities" and not a public threat.

Yes, e cigarettes have over 3,900 less chemicals than regular tobacco cigarettes. Any basic course in basic science will tell you that it is a much smarter choice. Anyone who does not agree might need to talk to any 5th grade science teacher to get the proper answer.

The e cigarette is not marketed as a cessation device, so why was a cessation device used as the "control"? The control should have been a marlboro, marlboro light and ultralight since they are marketed as an "alternative" to smoking.

You see, when the smoke clears, the vapor wins hands down. I am not asking you to believe me, but rather the public, because they are smart and see right through the propaganda. The reason I say this? They are not buying the FDA's story, but they are buying e cigarettes by the tens of thousands

Spins-of-the-Day are short pieces, so space did not allow for a more extensive description of [[Diethylene glycol|diethylene glycol]], however in the Spin we provided a link from the name of the chemical to a more thorough description of it in PRWatch's tobacco portal, [[http://www.tobaccowiki.org TobaccoWiki.org]]. If you click on the link (which we provided again in this response), you will see that the second sentence the article points out that ethylene glycol is used as a humectant in tobacco, as well as in other products, like synthetic sponges, paper products, in cork compositions, and in book-binding adhesives. The information in this article about the uses and health effects of diethylene glycol was, in fact, taken from tobacco industry documents, and the industry got the information from the government-funded [http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?HSDB Hazardous Substances Databank], a division of the United States National Library of Medicine. You are welcome to contribute more information to TobaccoWiki's article on diethylene glycol, provided the information you add can be referenced to an authoritative source.

Regarding your statement that e-cigarettes are not marketed as smoking cessation devices, that is not true. While your company may not be marketing them this way, many other business are. A quick look on the Web found the [http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/243476822/Smoking_cessation_products_mini_Electronic_Cigarette.html "Smoking cessation products mini electronic cigarette"], and a Web site called [http://www.stop-smoking-updates.com/quitsmoking/cigarette-cessation/stop-smoking-methods/quit-smoking-with-electronic-cigarette.htm "Stop Smoking"] that writes that the electronic Cigarette is "a good aid in a stop smoking program." It further advises that using e-cigarettes in a cessation program can help people "give up their habit of smoking more quickly." There are also sales-oriented videos on YouTube, like [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rz59cKAA9wM this one] from ChinaVision Wholesale Electronics titled, "Stop Smoking: Quit The Electronic Way With E Cigarettes," that clearly promotes the e-cigarette as a smoking cessation device.
[http://greensmoke.com/ GreenSmoke.com] uploaded a video onto YouTube titled [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-StgIiL7OdI New Quit Smoking Cessation Product Try an Electronic Cigarette!] So, clearly e-cigarettes are being promoted all over the Web as cessation devices, your company nothwithstanding.

Neither Marlboros, Marlboro lights nor Marlboro ultralights have ever been marketed as a smoking cessation devices, so that claim is patently absurd.

I will allow that e-cigarettes may emit fewer chemicals than a traditional, combusted cigarette, and from this standpoint could potentially be a safer smoking alternative. The idea of pursuing harm reduction by designing a non-combusted, cigarette-like smoking device has been around for a long time, and has, in fact been created by the big tobacco companies (e.g., products like "Accord," and "Eclipse").
But whether someone is ingesting 3,900 fewer chemicals, or 10,000 or 20,000, "fewer" is immaterial. All it takes is one known human carcinogen to cause cancer. With e-cigarettes, the question is, what is the dose and frequency of exposure? Whether tobacco-specific nitrosamines come from chewing tobacco, electronic cigarettes, pipes, or traditional cigarettes is similarly immaterial. The Hazardous Substances Databank still defines tobacco-specific nitrosamies as "the most abundant strong carcinogens" in smokeless tobacco and in smoke, and "major contributors to the induction of cancers."

When we discuss "smoking cessation", I have to wonder what we all mean. Do we mean that one will cease to smoke (ie. stop igniting a plant and sucking in the products of that ignition), or do we mean that one will cease to use nicotine?
The term needs to be better defined. If we are talking about ceasing to inhale the products of combustion, the electronic cigarette has many users who claim to have done just that. If we are talking about ceasing to use nicotine, that number is much smaller.
This also brings up the question, "what's wrong with using nicotine?" It is an addictive substance which can, with chronic exposure, deposit in the organs and cause damage [http://www.sciencelab.com/xMSDS-L_Nicotine-9926222]. However, there is another common substance that most people consume on a daily basis that is addictive and can cause negative health effects over time: caffeine. Chronic use can contribute to heart and lung malfunction [http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/c0165.htm]. Why is it socially acceptable to be addicted to one non-life-interfering substance and not another?

Had they offered a degree of danger for people to consider, they would have done a service to the nation. Saying something is dangerous without saying how dangerous is fear-mongering.

I found out about e-cigs a few days ago when my sister told me she was going to see if her insurance would cover what turned out to be Nicotrol. I thought, Oh my god, there is a cigarette with no smoke finally!!! Well, imagine my shock when a few days later, after I'd found out about e-cigs via the internet, she tells me her insurance did cover the $500 cost for the device and I believe it was 168 individual capsules good for 1 use. Now, why is it that all I can find is that the FDA cautions & is trying to ban importation and nothing about the potential here to eliminate cigarettes and its associated 2nd-hand smoke for good. Don't get me wrong, I AM concerned about anything coming out of China due to lack of regulation, but I am doing my research online as well. I've been smoking for over 30 years, quit twice easily when weightlifting religiously. I discovered it was the inhaling more than the nicotine that I crave and I had no real craving problems. So that said, all of the tobacco companies and other private businesses ought to be jumping on this idea of creating a "cigarette" that is nontoxic that delivers a controlled nicotine dose. Personally, I'm buying one next week when I get paid. I have 4 beautiful devoted cats in my home who are 13 and 14 years old that constantly inhale my addiction, my home stinks, I stink. How can anything I inhale regularly in these devices be any worse than what I inhale 3x over from a cigarette both directly from the cigarette and then constantly in my home? It infuriates me that everyone is being cautioned and steered away from this much safer alternative rather than being given good reliable assessments of which are safe & which are not, that there are no attempts at seriously regulating content from each company importing, and that no one seems to be pointing out that if you are going to smoke, better to take in a few chemicals, exhale none, than to inhale and exhale 100s of carcinogens. That is not EVEN touching on tar. While I don't really know anything about studies on tar, all I have to do is look in my ashtray, stick it in the dishwasher and see how it doesn't come off. Connect that to my lungs and I personally can see tar being the biggest problem. So, I'm off to feed my inhalation needs while not exercising regularly and am, of course, hoping I'll just move on over to the 0 nicotine cartridges.

The FDA "lab analysis" uses double standards and false alarms to scare people!!

"Prominent Tobacco Researchers Expose Double Standard in FDA's Study of Electronic Cigarettes and Challenge FDA's Alarmist Attitude Toward the Devices"

Source: http://www.tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/

Only if democracy means freedom of choice only when the alternative is colored and spun as to be immaterial.

I see in a post below that ONE Carcinogen is too many... in that case, lets outlaw bacon, barbeque and outdoor air (well at least the outdoor air in my area that continually fail the EPA's requirements). Opps almost forgot, as of yesterday, tanning beds.

The fact of the matter is that YES some companies are promoting the ecigarette as a smoking cessation device, this is not actually UNtrue since most people who use the ecigarette can generally get off combustable cigarettes completely and switch to the ecig. I did after a two pack a day habit.

HOWEVER, does PRwatch do PR exclusively for the FDA? Did this organization even think to look at the device in terms of harm reduction? Did they even look at the companies who provide products that are not made with tobacco abstracts therefore have no TNSAs? What it anything was done to check that the ONE cartridge, (that was not ethylene glycol BUT diethylene glycol )could have been an contaminant in that particular sample? Does PRWatch even think it would be prudent for the FDA to investigate these devices as an alternative for smokers as opposed to a smoking cessation device and attack the verbage, not the product? Inquiring minds wanna know. I find it highly irresponsible for the FDA to do anything less, and for PRWatch to parrot them with no call to do more, is more irresponsible still.

As someone who smoked 40 combustible cigarettes a day (strongest on the American market) and polluted not only my lungs but the surroundings of those anywhere near me for 40 years to 0...nada, I think both you and the FDA, in the interest of honesty, owe it to the American smoker to say this either is, or is not safer than smoking regular cigarettes... 4000+ chemicals and tar tell me that it is.

Now, unless I have to get my Newports from the pharmacists I see no reason that I should have to obtain this product in this manner either. Fact of the matter is for something that kills someone every 6 secs I think it would be more prudent to put my Newports in the pharmacy than my ecig.

Spins-of-the-Day on [https://www.prwatch.org PRWatch] are summaries of news or journal articles, press releases, studies, blogs and other published media; they are not meant to be editorials. If is seems like we are "parroting" information, it is because we attempt to accurately summarize information contained in a given published piece.

The agency that evaluates advertising as to whether it is misleading or inappropriate is the [[Federal Trade Commission]]. The [[U.S. Food and Drug Administration]] evaluates the safety of products/drugs.

Anne Landman

Since this site is some sort of media relaying information, take a look at the information that is really IN that report and see if you can ask the question that all ecig users want answers to. Are they more dangerous that analogs (regular cigarettes). I am sure you will get a more honest answer than it seems the American people did. If they had enough information to make that claim, with all the years of tobacco research, they certainly have enuff info to say Yay or Nay.

As an ecig user I am sure I do not speak for myself that we appreciate the FDAs role of keeping things like lead and other things out of our products, however, I personally do not appreciate it when it looks as if the only 'safer' alternative is being lynched without supporting data.