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Researchers find e-cigarettes are less addictive than tobacco

The urge is there, it's just not as strong

New research from the Penn State College of Medicine suggests that consumers who use e-cigarettes regularly are less likely to get hooked on nicotine than people who smoke cigarettes.

While the researchers conclude that e-cigarette users are less dependent on nicotine, they say it isn't clear whether e-cigarette "vaping" leads to eventual cigarette smoking, as some health advocates believe. They say further study is needed to determine that.

E-cigarettes are a type of battery-powered device that uses an electric charge to heat and vaporize a liquid mixture that is inhaled as an aerosol. The aerosol usually contains nicotine, to mimic the effects of a cigarette, but it may also contain flavorings and other chemicals.

Not harmless

The study tried to compare e-cigarette and cigarette dependence by surveying more than 32,000 people who either used e-cigarettes or who smoked. Of those who used e-cigarettes, nearly all had once regularly smoked tobacco cigarettes.

The survey showed e-cigarette users waited longer to "vape" after waking up in the morning than smokers waited to have their first cigarette. Vapers were also less likely to describe themselves as addicted, or to feel like they really needed their product. But everyone in the survey felt they "needed" a shot of nicotine.

Although the researchers concluded that e-cigarette use doesn't produce the same kind of nicotine addiction tobacco does, they also say the chemicals in the aerosol are not harmless, even though the e-liquid contains fewer chemicals than what is found in cigarette smoke.

Not as addictive

“No doubt about it, e-cigarettes are addictive, but not at the same level as traditional cigarettes,” said the study’s lead author, Guodong Liu.

There appear to be two types of consumers who purchase and use e-cigarettes; cigarette smokers who find e-cigarettes a better alternative to tobacco, and young people who have never been smokers. It is the latter group that has health advocates worried.

“Adolescents very much by nature want to experiment with everything and anything,” Liu said.

Lin says health researchers will need to know a lot on almost every aspect of these increasingly popular devices before there can be a coherent action plan to better manage this new emerging tobacco delivery product.

New research from the Penn State College of Medicine suggests that consumers who use e-cigarettes regularly are less likely to get hooked on nicotine than...

U.S. researchers say e-cigarettes not a gateway to tobacco

Study said it looked for evidence but didn't find it

When electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) appeared in the marketplace a few years ago, it caught anti-smoking advocates by surprise.

Cigarette smoking was on the decline. Now there was another product that looked like a cigarette, delivered nicotine, but contained no tobacco. Was it safe? Would it lead to a resurgence of smoking?

Since then, opposition to e-cigarettes among these groups has hardened. The devices are said to deliver harmful chemicals and serve as a gateway to cigarettes, hooking young people on nicotine.

Questioning conventional wisdom

While the health effects of e-cigarettes are still being studied, new research calls into question the contention that they are a gateway to tobacco. Researchers from the University at Buffalo (UB) and University of Michigan flatly assert the evidence isn't there.

“The national trends in vaping and cigarette smoking do not support the argument that vaping is leading to smoking,” said Lynn Kozlowski, the paper’s lead author and a professor at UB.

Kozlowski says that existing research shows that as use of e-cigarettes has increased, overall smoking rates in the U.S. have declined. Kozlowski says the research team looked for the link between e-cigarettes and tobacco but didn't find it.

Questioning previous research

But what about previous studies that contend there is a link? Kozlowski and his colleagues say these studies have flaws. In particular, he says these studies don't clearly define what "smoking" is.

“Measures of ‘at least one puff in the past six months’ can mean little more than the experimenting vaper was curious how cigarettes compared,” Kozlowski said.

Kozlowski says the study only looked at the risks associated with moving from vaping on an e-cigarette to becoming a regular cigarette smoker. Critics of e-cigarettes, meanwhile, have worried that young people are increasingly vaping, and will develop a nicotine dependency that will eventually only be satisfied with tobacco.

Different ideas across the Atlantic

As we noted in 2015, the UK and U.S. have different ideas about e-cigarettes. Public health officials in the UK had just released a report saying e-cigarettes were 95% less harmful than cigarettes.

"My reading of the evidence is that smokers who switch to vaping remove almost all the risks smoking poses to their health," said Professor Peter Hajek of Queen Mary University, a co-author of the report.

The report also concluded there was no evidence that people who used e-cigarettes later took up smoking. Kozlowski says efforts in the U.S. should focus more on product safety.

“The public deserves accurate information on the health risks of e-cigarettes versus cigarettes,” Kozlowski said. “From the best evidence to date, e-cigarettes are much less dangerous than cigarettes. The public has become confused about this.”

When electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) appeared in the marketplace a few years ago, it caught anti-smoking advocates by surprise.Cigarette smoking w...

Researchers renew concern over teens' use of e-cigarettes

While conceding the risks are less than cigarettes, they worry about the increased number of users

The U.S. Surgeon General recently warned that American teens are risking their health with their increasing use of cigarettes.

Now, researchers at Texas A&M University are echoing that concern after drilling deeper into the Surgeon General's report.

They point to the very rapid growth in e-cigarette use between 2010 and 2015. By last year, surveys showed that 40% of high school students had tried an e-cigarette at least once and 16% had used one in the past 30 days.

The only saving grace, says Amy Fairchild, associate dean of academic affairs at the Texas A&M School of Public Health, is teens appear to be smoking fewer cigarettes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in November 2015 that teen use of cigarettes had hit an all-time low.

“The consequences of combustible tobacco use are well known and serious, while e-cigarettes—while not risk free—represent a far lesser harm,” she said.

Where are teens getting e-cigarettes?

A concern, however, is the easy access teens appear to have to e-cigarettes. When they first hit the market a few years ago, they were completely unregulated. Now, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authority to regulate them and has set age limits on their purchase.

The FDA has set the age limit at 18, while a few states, such as California, have set higher age limits on sales. But researchers say that doesn't seem to be stopping very young teens – those in middle school – from obtaining the devices.

Fairchild suggests increasing the tax on e-cigarettes – making them more expensive – as a way to deter use by young people.

“Kids are extremely price sensitive,” she said. “There is evidence to suggest that you can tax e-cigarettes and other less risky smokeless products out of their hands. At the same time, if the tax is lower than for combustible cigarettes, current smokers aren’t also stripped of a financial incentive to switch to reduced risk products.”

While e-cigarettes have fewer toxic chemicals than tobacco, but they do contain chemicals, and Fairchild says there is concern that we don't have a complete picture of the potential harm they could do.

But the effects of the nicotine these devices contain is pretty well known. Fairchild says nicotine can harm brains that are still developing, meaning anyone under age 25 should steer clear of it.

The U.S. Surgeon General recently warned that American teens are risking their health with their increasing use of cigarettes.Now, researchers at Texas...

Surgeon General warns that teens face serious health risks from e-cigs

With 1 in 6 teens saying they have used e-cigs, it's time for action, new report argues

Back in 1964, the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Luther Terry, released a report that documented in exhaustive detail the health risks of cigarette smoking, something that had been considered benign and even healthy just a few years before.

Now another report from the U.S. Surgeon General is raising concerns about e-cigarette use among U.S. youth and young adults, now estimated to amount to 1 in 6 high school students.

“All Americans need to know that e-cigarettes are dangerous to youth and young adults,” said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, in releasing the report. “Any tobacco use, including e-cigarettes, is a health threat, particularly to young people.”

The report finds that, while nicotine is a highly addictive drug at any age, youth and young adults are uniquely vulnerable to the long-term consequences of exposing the brain to nicotine, and concludes that using nicotine in any form is dangerous to young people.

The report also finds that secondhand aerosol that is exhaled into the air by e-cigarette users can expose others to potentially harmful chemicals.

"First comprehensive review"

Today’s report, which was written and reviewed by more than 150 experts, is the first comprehensive federal review of the public health impact of e-cigarettes on U.S. youth and young adults. After years of study, the Food and Drug Administration in May set the legal age for using tobacco and e-cigarettes at 18 after finding that the rate of teen "vaping" was increasing markedly. 

“We have more to do to help protect Americans from the dangers of tobacco and nicotine, especially our youth. As cigarette smoking among those under 18 has fallen, the use of other nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, has taken a drastic leap. All of this is creating a new generation of Americans who are at risk of addiction,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell at the time the age limit was announced. 

There have been numerous, conflicting studies about the health effects of e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems. Some countries, most notably Britain, have concluded that e-cigs are less harmful than regular tobacco products. In 1995, Public Health England (PHE) -- roughly equivalent to the U.S. FDA -- said it had found e-cigs about 95% less harmful than smoking.

"My reading of the evidence is that smokers who switch to vaping remove almost all the risks smoking poses to their health," said Professor Peter Hajek of Queen Mary University. Hajek co-authored the report with Professor Ann McNeill of King's College London

Perhaps, but in November, a University of Southern California study suggested that the health of young users may be at serious risk in the short- and long-term. The reason, the authors say, is that e-cigarette use and vaping can be associated with an increased frequency of smoking and heavier smoking habits overall.

Recommendations

The latest Surgeon General's report includes a series of recommendations to reduce vaping and smoking by young people, including:

  • continuing to regulate e-cigarettes at the federal level;
  • raising and strongly enforcing minimum age-of-sale laws for all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes;
  • incorporating e-cigarettes into smoke-free policies;
  • regulating e-cigarette marketing;
  • sponsoring high-impact media campaigns to educate the public on the harms of e-cigarettes among young people; and
  • expanding research efforts related to e-cigarettes.

“Protecting our nation’s youth from the harms of tobacco and nicotine is a top priority for HHS and this Administration. And this report, outlining the harms of e-cigs and providing clear steps to reduce their impact on our kids, is an important step in our fight,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell. “We cannot let the enormous progress we’ve made toward a tobacco-free generation be undermined by e-cigarettes and other emerging tobacco products.”

“We need parents, teachers, health care providers, and other influencers to help make it clear that e-cigarettes contain harmful chemicals and are not okay for kids to use” Dr. Murthy said. “Today’s report gives them the facts about how these products can be harmful to young people’s health.”

A new interactive website containing key information from the report, written especially for parents and adult influencers of youth, is available at E-cigarettes.SurgeonGeneral.gov.

Back in 1964, the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Luther Terry, released a report that documented in exhaustive detail the health risks...

Study raises new health questions about teen use of e-cigarettes

Researchers link e-cigarettes to persistent cough

Health officials have always been worried about teen smoking. Getting hooked on nicotine early in life makes it harder to quit later on and can lead to health problems down the road.

When e-cigarettes were introduced to the marketplace, they drew the same kind of concern, as statistics showed teens were among the early adopters. While there is no tobacco in an e-cigarette, there is nicotine, and health activists worried that teens who used the devices would gravitate to cigarettes later on.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently reported that teens are more likely to use e-cigarettes than smoke tobacco. By eighth grade, it says only 3.6% had started smoking but 9.5% were using e-cigarettes. By 12th grade, it found more than 16% were using e-cigarettes.

But being a gateway to tobacco is not the only concern about these nicotine delivery systems. New research suggests even those who don't later start lighting up can be damaging their health by inhaling the nicotine-laden vapor.

Persistent cough and bronchitis

Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) say they have found an association between e-cigarettes and development of a persistent cough, bronchitis, and congestion or phlegm in the young people who use them.

“E-cigarettes are known to deliver chemicals toxic to the lungs, including oxidant metals, glycerol vapor, diketone flavoring compounds and nicotine,” said lead author Dr. Rob McConnell. “However, there has been little study of the chronic health effects of e-cigarettes.”

The study compared kids who had used e-cigarettes to those who had never tried “vaping.” It found that young people who had used e-cigarettes in the past were 85% more likely to exhibit respiratory symptoms. Current users were twice as likely.

“The Food and Drug Administration recently banned the sale of e-cigarettes to children under 18 years of age, and California just prohibited sale to young adults under 21,” McConnell said. “Our results suggest that these regulations and an environment that discourages the initiation of any tobacco product may reduce the burden of chronic respiratory symptoms in youth.

But because e-cigarettes are relatively new, McConnell said he believes they need additional study so doctors can better understand their long-term effects.

Health officials have always been worried about teen smoking. Getting hooked on nicotine early in life makes it harder to quit later on and can lead to hea...

Vaping in teens leads to heavier smoking patterns, study finds

Researchers link the habit with increased cigarette smoking, prompting health concerns

The popularity of e-cigarettes continues to rise for teens across the U.S. Middle and high school students are glorifying habits like vaping, and many still believe that the products don’t pose much of an immediate threat to their health.

While different studies have disagreed over that fact, new findings from the University of Southern California suggest that the health of young users may be at serious risk in the short- and long-term. The reason, the authors say, is that e-cigarette use and vaping can be associated with an increased frequency of smoking and heavier smoking habits overall.

Heavier smoking patterns

Dr. Adam M. Leventhal and his colleagues came to their conclusions after analyzing surveys given to 10th grade students in ten public high schools in Los Angeles County between 2014 and 2015. Questions focused on the frequency and heaviness of e-cigarette and cigarette use, as well as vaping habits. A follow-up survey was given six months later to gauge any changes.

The analysis found that students that smoked or vaped at the time when they took the first survey were more likely to increase their e-cigarette smoking frequency by the time the second survey was taken. Similarly, the researchers found that adolescents who smoked cigarettes were more likely to increase their smoking frequency and heaviness if they also vaped; this was especially true for infrequent smokers.

The researchers believe these findings speak to the need for stronger tobacco control policies, though they admit that more research will need to be conducted to verify the results. The full study has been published in JAMA

The popularity of e-cigarettes continues to rise for teens across the U.S. Middle and high school students are glorifying habits like vaping, and many stil...

Researchers: exploding e-cigarettes more common than you think

Doctors urge greater monitoring of design and manufacturing process

When e-cigarettes were introduced a few years ago, they were presented as a safer alternative to cigarettes. They delivered the same nicotine but not the tars and some other contaminants present in tobacco.

What might have gotten lost in the discussion, however, is another safety issue. Users are putting an electronic device in their mouths. And just as we have seen with other electronic devices, like smartphones, they sometimes explode.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina's (UNC) Tobacco Prevention and Evaluation Program decided to focus solely on e-cigarette safety rather than any other adverse health effects they might have.

They said that in the first half of this year, doctors at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals treated 10 inpatients with severe burns and facial fractures. The injuries, they say, all came from e-cigarette explosions.

Serious injury

According to their study, most of the injuries required surgery, and one patient lost his eye when an e-cigarette exploded while he puffed on it.

Clare Meernik, lead author of an editorial published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), says the UNC burn center's experience is not an outlier.

“We think these explosions are happening to a greater extent than the current medical literature suggests,” she said.

Other safety officials have recognized a threat. E-cigarettes have been banned from airline luggage, for fear they could ignite a fire while the plane is airborne.

The BMJ editorial says there should be better monitoring of e-cigarette-related injuries, as well as better oversight of the manufacturing process.

Dr. Felicia Williams, of the UNC School of Medicine, says victims of an exploding e-cigarette suffer from flame burns, but also from exposure to chemicals. She's concerned most emergency rooms, where victims tend to first be treated, are unaware of the severe nature of the burns.

No way to track

Currently, the researchers say there isn't a system in the U.S. health care system to track these injuries. Most cases are gleaned from media reports. They point to a 2015 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that more than nine million people in the U.S. are using e-cigarettes as a reason to increase the focus on safety.

“We believe the FDA should immediately develop safety standards that all manufacturers must comply with, Williams said. We know that some explosions are related to battery issues, but other mechanisms may also be involved.”

Improved safety standards, she says, would reduce the number of severe burns and other injuries. Since the FDA now has the authority to regulate e-cigarettes, the researchers say that authority should extend to the design and manufacture of these devices.

When e-cigarettes were introduced a few years ago, they were presented as a safer alternative to cigarettes. They delivered the same nicotine but not the t...

Watch an e-cigarette blow up a woman's purse

A surveillance camera in a New Jersey mall captures the dramatic moment

Since their introduction, e-cigarettes have been extremely popular as a tobacco alternative, but health officials insist there remain unanswered questions about their effect on health.

Maybe they ought to be more focused on safety.

E-cigarettes are basically electronic devices. A battery provides the heat to vaporize a liquid containing nicotine. Users inhale the vapor, getting much the same nicotine they would from a cigarette.

But as we know from smartphones and other electronic devices, sometimes batteries can overheat and even explode. Earlier this month it was caught on surveillance cameras at a New Jersey mall.

A shopper, Mara McInerney of Matawan, N.J., was at the counter of a Sunglasses Hut in the Freehold Raceway Mall when her purse suddenly exploded. You can watch the dramatic footage below.

Total loss

McInerney wasn't hurt, but she said the contents of her expensive purse, along with the purse, were a total loss. This isn't the first time an e-cigarette has exploded, but it is the first time that it's been caught on tape.

As we reported in May, an Albany, N.Y., man said he was “vaping” when his e-cigarette exploded in his mouth, knocking him to the ground. Kenneth Barbaro was hospitalized with burns to his hands, knocked-out teeth, and a injuries to his tongue.

That same month, the U.S. Transportation Department issued a final rule, banning e-cigarettes from checked bags aboard aircraft.

“Fire hazards in flight are particularly dangerous, and a number of recent incidents have shown that e-cigarettes in checked bags can catch fire during transport,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said at the time.

The Federal Aviation Administration has since issued a similar ban on the Samsung Note 7 smartphone, which has suffered a number of high profile fires and explosions.

Since their introduction, e-cigarettes have been extremely popular as a tobacco alternative, but health officials insist there remain unanswered questions...

Vaping among teens may not be that problematic, researchers suggest

One study finds that most teens vape for the flavorings and not nicotine

Recent trends among teens seem to favor vaping with e-cigarettes, with many high- and middle school students saying that they’ve tried it. While many fear that this habit could lead to nicotine and smoking dependence, a new study suggests that the problem may not be that worrisome.

Researchers have found that many teens that vape don’t do so for the nicotine; instead, many teens say that the flavors offered by e-cigarette products are the drawing point. This throws into question the supposition that teens are vaping nicotine in the first place and that there is a “nicotine epidemic” amongst this age group.

Vaping for flavor

The researchers came to their conclusions after analyzing the results of the 2015 Monitoring the Future Survey, wherein teens were asked about their vaping experiences. The survey was a nationally representative study of 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students.

Out of 15,000 students who took part in the survey, nearly 4,000 admitted to having vaped at some point. Narrowing the numbers further, the researchers found that 1,701 had done so at least once, 1,085 had done it up to five times, and 616 had done it at least half a dozen times.

When asked what they had vaped most recently, two-thirds of respondents gave the answer “just flavoring.” Vaping nicotine came in second by a large margin, with only 13% of 8th graders, 20% of 10th graders, and 22% of 12th graders giving that answer. Vaping marijuana was even less pervasive, with only 14% of 12th graders, and 6% and 7% of 8th and 10th graders giving that answer, respectively.

Targeted interventions

These findings indicate that vaping nicotine is not nearly as big of a problem as many experts have stated in the past. This is good news, say the researchers, because interventions to stop vaping can be modified to be more specific and effective.  

“Because many US youth who use vaporisers do not vape nicotine, they are candidates for primary interventions, which are particularly strategic to combat nicotine use, because they take place before the need to address nicotine’s addictive properties,” they said.

Additionally, the researchers say that designating e-cigarettes as Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) may be unfair since most teens do not use them for that purpose, although they do say that vaporiser use does increase tobacco and nicotine prevalence.

The full study has been published in Tobacco Control

Recent trends among teens seem to favor vaping with e-cigarettes, with many high- and middle school students saying that they’ve tried it. While many fear ...

E-cig explosions blamed for facial injuries, severe burns

Dozens of lawsuits allege serious injuries caused by exploding batteries

The exploding cigar was a mainstay of slapstick humor back in the day. But there's nothing funny about an exploding e-cigarette, according to those who've had the experience.

Dozens of lawsuits have been filed by consumers who say their e-cigs blew up, causing serious and expensive injuries. The Food and Drug Administration has found 134 reports of overheating, fires, and explosions of the devices in the U.S. between 2009 and January 2016, the Wall Street Journal reports. The FDA is phasing in rules covering the devices, which will eventually require government approval before they can be marketed. 

Most of the lawsuits allege that the explosions and injuries were caused by the lithium-ion batteries used in the devices, which are mostly made by Chinese companies. The industry argues that the number of explosions and fires is small considering how many of the devices are in use and says many of the mishaps are the result of user error.

Severe burns

A jury in Riverside, Calif., recently awarded $1.9 million in damages to a woman who suffered severe burns when her e-cigarette exploded while hooked up to a car charger. Like most such suits, hers named the retailer, distributor, and wholesaler rather than the manufacturer, since it's difficult to sue an overseas company.

The Journal article notes another case, that of Rachel Berven of Modesto, Calif. She had been using her vaping device -- as the e-cigs are called -- for about a year. One day she inserted a new battery and when she fired the device up, it exploded, ripping a hole in her mouth and spewing acid across her body, leaving her with three cracked teeth and scars on her legs and elsewhere.

In another gruesome case, a school counselor in California alleges that his e-cig exploded and tore through his eye, smashing two cheekbones and starting a fire.

Joseph Cavins said he was working at his computer on April 15 when his e-cig "suddenly exploded, striking Joseph in the left eye, continuing past his head, hitting the ceiling, ricocheting off the wall and landing on top of the computer station, where it started a fire," according to his complaint in Orange County Court, Courthouse News Service reported. He has sued four distributors and retailers. 

Cavins said the explosion smashed his orbital and sinus bones, "left several pieces of shrapnel inside the eyeball itself," causing doctors to remove the eyeball. He will need more surgery to fix his broken bones, reconstructive surgery on his sinus cavity, and he and his wife have both missed work. He sued four distributors and retailers.

The vaping industry contends that many of the incidents are the result of consumers using the wrong chargers. Others involve the more complex "mechanical mods," which are more customizable than the smaller, cigarette-like e-cigs. 

“When used and charged properly, vapor products pose no more of a fire risk than any other product that is powered by lithium-ion batteries, like cellphones or laptops,” Gregory Conley of the American Vaping Association told the Journal.

The exploding cigar was a mainstay of slapstick humor back in the day. But there's nothing funny about an exploding e-cigarette, according to those who've...

E-cigarettes blamed for blowing up in smokers' faces

Serious injuries occurred in some cases; one man lost an eye

Traditional cigarettes are really bad for you, but at least they don't blow up in your face, as e-cigarettes have been doing lately. In one of the most recent cases, an Albany, N.Y., man said his e-cig blew up and knocked him to the ground.

“Like a M80 bomb went off in my mouth,” Kenneth Barbaro said. “When I hit the button, I saw a huge yellow light. The next thing I know, I’m on the floor and my arms are paralyzed.”

Barbaro was hospitalized with burns to his hands, knocked-out teeth, and a splt tongue, he said in a televised report.

“When it blows up in your face, you’re not having a good time,” he said in a televised news report.

More serious

In an even more serious case, an e-cig exploded on April 15, tearing through a man's eye, smashing two cheekbones, and starting a fire. Joseph Cavins, now blind in one eye, has filed a lawsuit against vaping retailers and distributors, Courthouse News Service reported.

He said he was working at his computer when his vaping device exploded, hitting him in the eye, then hitting the ceiling, and finally landing on top of the computer, where it started a fire.

Cavins, a public school counselor, underwent seven hours of surgery. Doctors removed his left eye and performed surgery to fix broken bones in his face and to repair his sinus cavity.

The problem, according to Cavins' lawsuit, is that the batteries in vaping devices have "an inherent risk of fire and explosion," exacerbated by what it says is the cheap construction and poor design of many of the devices. 

If the temperature inside the lithium-ion battery builds up high enough, it can cause an explosion that propels the battery "like a bullet or rocket," Cavins' suit says. 

Several similar cases have been reported in recent months. 

Traditional cigarettes are really bad for you, but at least they don't blow up in your face, as e-cigarettes have been doing lately. In one of the most rec...

E-cigarette advertising linked to use by teens

Teens who had used the products were more likely to have seen an ad for the products first

Recent reports have indicated that e-cigarette use amongst teens is rising, but how much of it is attributed to the way these products are advertised? According to a study from The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, quite a lot.

Researchers have found a significant association between marketing for e-cigarettes and product use among middle and high school students. The teens report seeing advertisements for these products in many different places – a marketing tactic that closely resembles those used by the tobacco industry.

“E-cigarette companies are following what cigarette companies did. There are no restrictions on the messaging they can use, and health warnings do not appear on e-cigarettes like they do on cigarette packages. Flavored e-cigarettes are widely available and appeal to youth,” said Dr. Maria Cooper, co-author of the study.

Pervasive advertising

The study utilized data from the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey, which asked young people about their exposure to tobacco products. The researchers found that out of over 22,000 middle and high school students, 20% had tried e-cigarettes before and 9% were currently using them.

The researchers found that those who had tried e-cigarettes before were 16% more likely than their peers to have seen an advertisement for the products in print, online, in a retail setting, or in a movie or television show. Current users were 22% more likely to have seen these ads.

While teens reported seeing ads the most in retail settings or online, the researchers point out that the products are becoming more and more widespread.

“You go to a convenience store and the entire wall behind the cashier is tobacco advertising. We’re seeing e-cigarettes are following that trend. The internet and social media are also a concern because e-cigarette companies have a big online presence,” said Dale Mantey, lead author of the study.

Increased spending

The increase in advertising is no accident either. The researchers state in their paper that marketing for e-cigarette products nearly tripled from 2011 to 2012 – from $6.4 million to $18.3 million.

That trend would continue into subsequent years; expenditures for e-cigarette ads in the second quarter of 2013 eclipsed all of the spending for 2012. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that spending increased to $115 million in 2014.

While more research must be done to prove a definitive link between e-cigarette advertising and its use, the researchers believe that their study has laid some of the groundwork for future studies.

The full study has been published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Recent reports have indicated that e-cigarette use amongst teens is rising, but how much of it is attributed to the way these products are advertised? Acco...

Nicotine inhaler doubles chances of quitting smoking, study finds

Using the inhaler with a nicotine patch is optimal, New Zealand researchers say

A New Zealand study finds that smokers who used a nicotine inhaler were twice as likely to quit smoking as smokers using a placebo inhaler. The study also found that adding a nicotine inhaler to a nicotine patch doubled the chances of quitting over using a nicotine patch alone.

"There is considerable debate about whether inhaled nicotine is helpful for people who wish to stop smoking," said Julian Crane, a professor at the University of Otago, Wellington. "This is the first study to show that inhaled nicotine from a metered dose inhaler in the context of a smoker wanting to stop doubles their chances of quitting."

Crane says the findings are the first evidence that inhaled nicotine from a simple inhaler is highly effective and substantially increases a smoker's chances of quitting compared to the best current nicotine replacement treatment.

"Currently most smokers use nicotine patches to help them stop smoking. This study shows that if you add a nicotine inhaler to a nicotine patch, it doubles the chances of quitting over a nicotine patch alone," Crane said.

Inappropriate use less likely

The results of the New Zealand study funded by the Health Research Council appear in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

Crane said an advantage of the nicotine inhaler is that, unlike electronic cigarettes, it has no physical associations with the act of smoking.

"It also has benefits in that it is much less likely to be used inappropriately to administer other drugs given that it is a completely sealed unit," notes Crane.

The researchers are currently looking at how to make the inhaler available to all smokers who would like to use it.

A New Zealand study finds that smokers who used a nicotine inhaler were twice as likely to quit smoking as smokers using a placebo inhaler. The study also...

E-cigarettes permanently banned from airline luggage

Transportation Department finalizes interim rule issued in October

The Transportation Department has issued a final rule banning battery-powered electronic smoking devices – primarily e-cigarettes – from checked bags aboard commercial aircraft.

The government said it is taking the action as a safety precaution.

“Fire hazards in flight are particularly dangerous, and a number of recent incidents have shown that e-cigarettes in checked bags can catch fire during transport,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who called the ban a “prudent and important safety measure.”

The move was not unexpected. Back in October the agency issued an interim rule to the same effect, opening it to an extended comment period.

The final rule does allow passengers to carry e-cigarettes in the cabin of the aircraft, but it does not allow them to charge the devices during a flight.

Lithium ion batteries

Batteries, as a rule, make aviation officials nervous. There have been instances of lithium ion batteries in laptop computers and smartphones overheating, with some catching fire. Officials have long worried what would happen if a computer, packed in a suitcase and stowed in the body of a jetliner, caught fire.

In 2014 a plane in Tel Aviv had to be evacuated after the lithium-ion battery powering a passenger's iPhone 5 caught on fire, filling the cabin with smoke. A decade earlier a California teenager suffered second-degree burns when her cell phone caught fire without warning, with investigators pinning the blame on the lithium ion battery.

Granted, the batteries powering e-cigarettes are much smaller, but officials say it only takes a tiny spark to create a catastrophe.

“This final rule is the next step in hazardous materials safety standards following our interim final rule issued last October,” Marie Therese Dominguez, a Transportation Department officials, said. “The rule addresses the risk of fire brought about by carrying these electronic devices in checked baggage or charging them on board aircraft.”

The rule, however, does not stop people from carrying other devices powered by lithium ion batteries -- like computers, phones, and cameras -- in checked bags. It also does not stop a passenger from carrying battery-powered devices in carry-on luggage.

The Transportation Department has issued a final rule banning battery-powered electronic smoking devices – primarily e-cigarettes – from checked bags aboar...

E-cigs not as satisfying as the real thing, study finds

They're not a "satisfying alternative" and thus not effective at helping smokers quit

A new study disputes claims that e-cigarettes are a "disruptive technology" that can help smokers quit by replacing their traditional cigarettes. The study follows last week's action by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate e-cigs and restrict their sale to anyone under 18.

The study by researchers at the Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS) at Georgia State University found that most smokers who have tried electronic cigarettes have rejected them as less satisfying than regular cigarettes, thus reducing their potential as a quit-smoking device.

E-cigs "need to improve as a satisfying alternative or the attractiveness and appeal of regular cigarette must be degraded to increase the potential of replacing regular cigarettes," according to lead author Dr. Terry F. Pechacek, professor of Health Management and Policy.

"It can be argued that efforts are needed by the public health community to reduce the appeal and attractiveness of the cigarette and other combusted tobacco products, namely, decreasing the product, promotion, placement and price advantage of these more lethal combusted tobacco products," the researchers wrote.

The findings are published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

Survey details

The researchers surveyed 5,717 U.S. adults in 2014, asking questions about their awareness of e-cigarettes, use of their products, and reasons for using traditional and novel tobacco products.

Among the 144 former cigarette smokers who had tried e-cigarettes, nearly 30 percent (or 43 people) continued to use them as a satisfying alternative to regular cigarettes.

But among the 585 smokers in the study, nearly 58 percent (or 337 people) reported they found e-cigarettes unsatisfying and stopped using them. 

A new study disputes claims that e-cigarettes are a "disruptive technology" that can help smokers quit by replacing their traditional cigarettes. The study...

New study shows that many e-cigarette products may contain a potentially dangerous chemical

In particular, cherry flavoring compounds carry the largest doses of said chemical

The e-cigarette industry has been taking a lot of flak recently in the U.S. Earlier this month, we reported on a study that showed that the products actually make consumers less likely to quit smoking – a major discrepancy in claims that many companies in the industry had made. Perhaps even more worrying is that the products are becoming more and more popular amongst middle and high school-aged children.

Now, a new study is backing up a previous study that the flavoring compounds used in many e-cigarettes pose major health hazards. Researchers at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) have completed an analysis of nearly 150 e-cigarette flavoring products and found that many contain a potentially harmful chemical.

May cause throat irritation

The research team, led by Doctor Maciej Goniewicz, found that one chemical, benzaldehyde, was particularly potent in some e-cigarette flavoring compounds. Benzaldehyde is not particularly dangerous under normal circumstances – in fact, it is used in many different foods and cosmetic products. However, that fact changes under certain conditions.

It has been shown that benzaldehyde can cause airway irritation when it is heated up and inhaled, much like it would be when smoking or “vaping” it. Out of 145 e-cigarette products that were tested, researchers found that benzaldehyde was found in 108 of them. One flavor, though, stood out from the rest. The research team found that benzaldehyde levels were 43 times higher in cherry-flavored e-cigarette products than any other type.

While the research does show that there may be signs for concern, Dr. Goniewicz remained non-committal, stating that more research would need to be done before any solid conclusions could be drawn on the products.

“This analysis reveals some very important implications. .  . Health care professionals should be asking patients not just whether they smoke tobacco cigarettes but also whether they vape e-cigarettes, and whether they are using flavored products,” he said. “For e-cigarette users, it’s important that they pay attention to how the products are affecting them. If they notice irritation, maybe a cough or sore throat, when they use e-cigarettes, they might want to consider switching to a different flavoring.”

The team has published a research letter on their work in the journal Thorax

The e-cigarette industry has been taking a lot of flak recently in the U.S. Earlier this month, we reported on a study that showed that the products actual...

Study finds social media a powerful tool in promoting e-cigarettes

Researchers say new regulations must take that into consideration

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in the process of finalizing rules to regulate e-cigarettes, and just about everyone who has been following the process assumes the rules will ban sales to people under 18.

When that happens, the focus will next shift to whether e-cigarette marketing is targeting young people who aren't allowed to buy the product. In fact, it already has.

You may recall that tobacco companies were accused of using youth-oriented marketing gimmicks during the 1980s and 90s. A new report suggests e-cigarette marketers are turning to social media to reach their most lucrative market.

Unfortunately for health officials, researchers at Drexel University and the University of Southern California suggest it is next to impossible to contain social media marketing.

Influential tweets

"As public health researchers our job is to figure out whether people are seeing messages that might lead them to make unhealthy decisions," Kar-Hai Chu, the study's author, said in a release. "If an e-cigarette tweet reaches underage users and makes them curious about trying e-cigarettes, that is something we would want to know. The results of the study could help provide guidelines and advice for many potential regulations."

Social media has changed the game for all marketers, not just those selling e-cigarettes. Companies can easily used social media platforms to extend the reach of their advertising. Not only that, they can more narrowly target their message to a specific audience and track its reception.

The problem the study authors see is that once an ad message goes beyond its primary target and is picked up by social media, anyone can see it, regardless off their age. It doesn't have to “go viral” to have major impact. Policymakers, the study says, need to understand that before finalizing regulations governing advertising.

Internet a major advertising medium

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted that 39.8 percent of teens who are exposed to e-cigarette advertising see it on the internet, especially on social media sites like Twitter.

"We chose Twitter because hundreds of millions of people all over the world use it to express their opinions about important topics, so it's a huge source of information and a quick and efficient way for researchers to learn about those opinions," Chu said. "A fascinating thing about Twitter is that users choose which messages they think are important to pass on to their friends. From a marketing perspective, companies and brands are very active on Twitter, including Blu, the brand we chose for this study."

The study followed three months of Twitter traffic, originating with tweets from the Blu e-cigarette company's official handle "@blucigs." As researchers expected, followers of @bluecigs spread the messages to others within their networks through retweets.

"The retweet network in our data demonstrated how rapidly and widely messages diffused--reaching an exponential number of users," said Christopher Yang, a professor in Drexel's College of Computing & Informatics, who was a co-author of the paper.

More important, he said, by the second level of followers, researchers saw a big shift in the types of users who were seeing the messages. After three months, a single tweet that originally went out to just 214 followers ended up through retweets reaching 2,600 unique users.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in the process of finalizing rules to regulate e-cigarettes, and just about everyone who has been following the p...

Report: using e-cigarettes could make you less likely to stop smoking

California study questions effectiveness as smoking cessation tool

When electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, first arrived on the scene, they were touted as a way to help smokers kick the habit. A new study suggests, however, that's not how they're being used.

Researchers at the University of California (UC) San Francisco say they discovered that adult smokers who use e-cigarettes are actually 28% less likely to give up cigarettes.

The study appears in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, a journal detailing information about respiratory medicine and critical care.

“As currently being used, e-cigarettes are associated with significantly less quitting among smokers,” concluded first author Sara Kalkhoran, MD, in the article.

Kalkhoran was a clinical fellow at the UCSF School of Medicine when the research was conducted but is now at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She believes the jury is still out on the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool.

Shouldn't be recommended

“E-cigarettes should not be recommended as effective smoking cessation aids until there is evidence that, as promoted and used, they assist smoking cessation,” she writes.

E-cigarettes are long and thin like a tobacco cigarette but are reusable devices that use an electric charge to create water vapor filled with nicotine. The user gets the nicotine rush without the tobacco smoke.

Health officials are still studying the safety of this inhaled vapor but have expressed strong reservations so far.

While it is true that many smokers have tried them, health officials worry that young adults – many of whom have never smoked – are trying them as well. Aside from the unknown health effects, they worry their use can create a nicotine dependency where none existed before.

The California researchers say they reviewed 38 studies that traced the association between e-cigarette use and kicking the cigarette habit among adult smokers. After combining the results of 20 studies they concluded that the odds of quitting smoking were 28 percent lower in smokers who used e-cigarettes compared to those who did not.

In other words, using e-cigarettes made it less likely to stop smoking.

Not marketed in the U.S. as anti-smoking tool

It should be pointed out that e-cigarettes are not specifically marketed as a way to stop smoking. It would require Food and Drug Administration approval to do so, since it would then be considered a medical device.

In the UK, they take a different view. The British National Health Service lists e-cigarettes as an accepted form of nicotine replacement therapy.

In August, a British report suggested e-cigarettes were about 95% less harmful than smoking.

"My reading of the evidence is that smokers who switch to vaping remove almost all the risks smoking poses to their health," Professor Peter Hajek of Queen Mary University wrote in the report.  

When electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, first arrived on the scene, they were touted as a way to help smokers kick the habit. A new study suggests, ho...

Why college students try e-cigarettes

Largely, for the same reason young people smoke cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are an object of intense focus by health researchers who worry that not enough is known about their health effects.

But what is known is worrisome enough. They might – might, because the research isn't there yet – be less harmful than cigarettes, and help heavy smokers ween themselves off tobacco.

On the other hand, they are nicotine delivery systems. If you aren't already hooked on nicotine through cigarettes, why in the world would you start using e-cigarettes and develop a dependence or addiction?

Researchers at the University at Buffalo asked that very question to a group of college-aged young adults, one of the product's biggest markets.

30% have tried it

More than 1,400 college students from four upstate New York universities were in the study group. Of that sample, 429 students -- about 30% – had tried e-cigarettes at least once.

Of those young adults, about 79% said they used e-cigarettes to “try something new,” and nearly 58% reported using them for enjoyment.

“Our findings suggest that college students and young adults may be more interested in using e-cigarettes for affective reasons, such as enjoyment or the pleasure they get from using these products, compared with use for cognitive reasons such as quitting smoking or because they perceive e-cigarettes to be a safer alternative to cigarette smoking,” said Megan Saddleson, PhD, who led the study.

Vaping for enjoyment

A small number of people – 15 students – reported “vaping,” the practice of inhaling nicotine vapor from an e-cigarette, daily. All daily vapers said they use e-cigarettes because they enjoy the product.

“The availability of flavors could be related to the enjoyment factor of e-cigarettes, especially among young people,” Saddleson said.

But 77% of the participants said they used e-cigarettes as a substitute for cigarettes, believing the vapor is less harmful than tobacco.

“Using e-cigs because they are less toxic could appeal to users and make the product more enjoyable for the user,” Saddleson said.

At the moment, e-cigarettes are not regulated at the federal level, though that is likely to change later this year. The Food and Drug Administration is in the final phase of readying regulations.

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are an object of intense focus by health researchers who worry that not enough is known about their health effects....

CDC worries e-cigarette ads influencing middle schoolers

More young people now use e-cigarettes than smoke

Companies that make and sell e-cigarettes are quick to point out how they are different from tobacco cigarettes.

For starters, they contain no tobacco. They deliver flavored nicotine in vapor form.

But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says these nicotine delivery devices have one big thing in common with cigarettes – the way in which they are marketed.

In its most recent Vital Signs report, the CDC notes e-cigarette ads use many of the same themes – independence, rebellion, and sex – used to sell cigarettes and other conventional tobacco products.

That's of concern, the CDC says, because it has found that about seven out of 10 middle and high school students – more than 18 million young people – see e-cigarette advertising in stores, online, in newspapers and magazines, or on television and in movies.

No marketing restrictions

Currently e-cigarette marketing faces none of the restrictions imposed on tobacco. Health officials are worried that will translate into a surge of young people being hooked on nicotine.

“The same advertising tactics the tobacco industry used years ago to get kids addicted to nicotine are now being used to entice a new generation of young people to use e-cigarettes,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden. “I hope all can agree that kids should not use e-cigarettes.”

The CDC is concerned about the health effects of nicotine on young, developing bodies. In 2014, e-cigarettes became the most commonly used tobacco product among youths, surpassing conventional cigarettes.

From 2011 to 2014, the CDC said e-cigarette use among high school students soared from 1.5% to 13.4%, and among middle school students from 0.6% to 3.9%.

Spending on e-cigarette advertising rose from $6.4 million in 2011 to an estimated $115 million in 2014, the CDC said.

Regulations still in the works

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the authority to regulate e-cigarettes, but is still in the final stages of that process. The FDA's official position is that many of the potential risks are unknown. It also says it is unknown whether the products have any potential benefit.

However, the BBC reported Monday that health authorities in the UK have approved a brand of e-cigarette as an aid to help people stop smoking. That means Britons could get a prescription for e-cigarettes through the government-run National Health Service.

Public Health England says e-cigarettes are far less harmful than tobacco and help smokers quit.

Companies that make and sell e-cigarettes are quick to point out how they are different from tobacco cigarettes.For starters, they contain no tobacco. ...

Study finds dangerous flavoring compounds in e-cigarettes

The most hazardous is diacetyl, which can cause "popcorn lung"

Much of the controversy over electronic cigarettes has centered around their nicotine content, but a study by Harvard researchers has found a chemical linked to severe respiratory disease in more than 75% of flavored e-cigarettes.

Diacetyl is a flavoring chemical that can cause bronchiolitis obliterans, commonly known as "popcorn lung" because it first appeared in workers who inhaled artificial butter flavor in microwave popcorn plants.

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers found diacetyl and two other potentially harmful compounds in many flavored e-cigs, including those targeted to young people with flavors such as cotton candy, “Fruit Squirts,” and cupcake.

“Recognition of the hazards associated with inhaling flavoring chemicals started with ‘popcorn lung’ over a decade ago. However, diacetyl and other related flavoring chemicals are used in many other flavors beyond butter-flavored popcorn, including fruit flavors, alcohol flavors, and, we learned in our study, candy-flavored e-cigarettes,” said lead author Joseph Allen, assistant professor of exposure assessment sciences.

Dangers are well-known

The dangers of inhaling diacetyl are well-known and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) warns employers about the risks posed to workers exposed to the chemical.

The study, published today in Environmental Health Perspectives, notes that there are currently more than 7,000 varieties of flavored e-cigarettes and e-juice (nicotine-containing liquid that is used in refillable devices) on the market.

E-cigarettes are not currently regulated, although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a proposed rule to include e-cigarettes under its authority to regulate certain tobacco and nicotine-containing products.

In the study, Allen and colleagues tested 51 types of flavored e-cigarettes and liquids for the presence of diacetyl, acetoin, and 2,3-pentanedione, two related flavoring compounds that the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association lists as “high priority,” meaning they may pose a respiratory hazard in the workplace.

At least one of the three chemicals was detected in 47 of the 51 flavors tested. Diacetyl was detected above the laboratory limit of detection in 39 of the flavors tested. Acetoin and 2,3-pentanedione were detected in 46 and 23 and of the flavors, respectively.

“Since most of the health concerns about e-cigarettes have focused on nicotine, there is still much we do not know about e-cigarettes. In addition to containing varying levels of the addictive substance nicotine, they also contain other cancer-causing chemicals, such as formaldehyde, and as our study shows, flavoring chemicals that can cause lung damage,” said study co-author David Christiani, Elkan Blout Professor of Environmental Genetics.

Much of the controversy over electronic cigarettes has centered around their nicotine content, but a study by Harvard researchers has found a chemical link...

Lawsuit charges e-cigarettes contain cancer-causing chemicals

Companies fail to warn of the chemicals as required by California law, suit alleges

A non-profit group has filed lawsuits against e-cigarette manufacturers, claiming they failed to warn consumers about two cancer-causing chemicals and the health effects of nicotine.

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) said it purchased e-cigarettes, e-liquids, and other vaping products from major retailers including RiteAid and 7-Eleven between February and October 2015 and found that 90% contained formaldehyde or acetaldehyde or both.

A test on one e-cigarette found the level of formaldehyde was more than 470 times higher than the California safety standard.

Testing for formaldehyde and acetaldehyde was conducted by an independent lab accredited by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation. The two chemicals are known to cause cancer and are also linked to genetic damage, birth defects, and reduced fertility, the lawsuits argue. Under California’s Prop 65 consumer protection law, companies must warn consumers when their products expose users to chemicals that can cause cancer and/or birth defects.

Those named in the lawsuits include RJ Reynolds (Vuse brand), Fontem/Imperial Tobacco (blu brand), and NJOY.

In all, the nonprofit has launched legal actions against more than 60 companies for failing to warn consumers about exposure from e-cigarettes to nicotine and/or one or both of the two cancer-causing chemicals, formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, as required by California law.

Teen usage growing

The organization charged that teen use of e-cigarettes is skyrocketing: among 8th and 10th graders, twice as many say they use e-cigarettes as compared to those who smoke traditional cigarettes, with 17% of high school seniors nationally saying they smoke e-cigarettes.

“The tobacco industry is banned from targeting teens in cigarette ads, but they and the rest of the e-cigarette industry use all of the banned tactics in marketing e-cigarettes,” said Michael Green, Executive Director of CEH. “Parents should know that vaping presents real risks to young people. It’s long past time for this industry to end its predatory and deceptive marketing.”

In February, CEH sued 19 e-cigarette companies for failing to warn consumers about the reproductive health threats from nicotine in their products. In one settlement reached in those cases, the e-cigarette company Sapphire Vapor agreed to legally binding restrictions on sales and marketing to teens and prohibited the use of unverified health claims.

A non-profit group has filed lawsuits against e-cigarette manufacturers, claiming they failed to warn consumers about two cancer-causing chemicals and the...

FTC begins study of e-cigarette marketing

Growing use among teens has raised concerns

The Federal Trade Commission is planning to study the marketing of e-cigarettes, the first step in a process that could eventually lead to tougher regulation of sales and advertising practices for the fast-growing industry.

The agency will first send information requests to e-cigarette marketers and will use the information as a basis for a report on the sales, marketing activities, and expenditures in this new and complex industry.

Since the mid-2000s, the sale of battery-powered e-cigarettes has grown rapidly in the United States. Rather than burning tobacco, e-cigarettes heat liquid containing flavorings and chemicals (usually including nicotine) to produce an aerosol that the user inhales. E-cigarettes are sold both online and in conventional brick-and-mortar stores, are available in both disposable and refillable models, and come in a range of different flavors and nicotine levels.

The FTC is seeking clearance from the Office of Management and Budget to collect information from the e-cigarette marketers, which is the first step toward conducting the study. It will publish a Federal Register notice seeking public comment on the proposed collection of information from approximately five large and ten smaller e-cigarette marketers.

The Federal Trade Commission is planning to study the marketing of e-cigarettes, the first step in a process that could eventually lead to tougher regulati...

E-cigarettes banned in checked airline luggage

The batteries can catch fire during flight

If you've flown lately, you may have noticed airline crews warning that e-cigarettes are not allowed in checked baggage. The U.S. Department of Transportation has now made that ban official.

“We know from recent incidents that e-cigarettes in checked bags can catch fire during transport,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Fire hazards in flight are particularly dangerous.  Banning e-cigarettes from checked bags is a prudent safety measure.” 

In January, the department alerted airliners to the hazard and airlines began alerting passengers then. 

It can become quite a hassle for passengers who can't find room for their carry-on bags in the overhead bins. They're required to open their bags and remove the e-cigs before the bag is gate-checked.

Using or charging e-cigs is also prohibited.

The new rule does not prohibit a passenger from carrying other devices containing batteries for personal use (such as laptop computers, cell phones, cameras, etc.) in checked or carry-on baggage, nor does it restrict a passenger from transporting batteries for personal use in carry-on baggage, the department said.

 

If you've flown lately, you may have noticed airline crews warning that e-cigarettes are not allowed in checked baggage. The U.S. Department of Transportat...

Researchers find that ordering e-cigarettes online is pretty easy

Most websites have no way to verify the age of consumers

It's easy to purchase e-cigarettes on the Internet, researchers say. Too easy.

A study by the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine says e-cigarette markets who sell their products online are aggressive in their marketing and make purchasing e-cigarettes easy for all ages.

E-cigarettes are a relatively recent invention. Only around since 2007, they have sold millions because users inhale nicotine vapor, not tobacco smoke.

“We found e-cigarette vendors were highly engaged in promoting the culture of ‘vaping’ online, including posting images to Instagram, a social media site used by 52% of teens,” said Tim K. Mackey, first author of the study. “Despite the fact that 47 states prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, the results highlight the potential of the Internet to encourage e-cigarette initiation and underage purchasing. This is particularly concerning given that the FDA does not have specific proposed regulations for online e-cigarette sales."

E-cigarettes contain no tobacco but the courts have ruled that they are tobacco products. As such, they come under the regulatory control of the FDA, which has yet to enact regulations. Proposed regulations were issued last year and are currently being reviewed.

Increasing use by young people

While most states have moved into the vacuum to impose some regulations, such as setting age limits on who can purchase the products, e-cigarettes are finding their way to plenty of underage consumers.

The researchers point to data from the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey showing e-cigarette use tripled among middle and high school students from 2013 to 2014.

While the jury is still out on potential harm, e-cigarettes are growing in popularity, in part because these battery-operated devices that look and feel like a tobacco cigarette come in all sorts of flavors, like bubble gum and peach fuzz.

The researchers say people who use these devices exhale a mixture of volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, and ultrafine particles that usually contain aerosolized nicotine in a cloud of vapor.

The study looked at 57 online vendors and found that 68% of them displayed one or more health warnings about the devices on their website. But the authors said the notices were usually written in smaller fonts or placed discretely in the terms and conditions section of a website.

Hard to prove age

More disturbing, one-third of the vendors had no detectable way to determine the age of who was buying the e-cigarettes. Most required only a simple click to say the buyer was within the legal age limit.

“The study found that online e-cigarette vendors use a variety of sophisticated and aggressive marketing practices, including promotional offers and high social media engagement to promote the sale of their products,” said Mackey.

As a result, sales are booming. Industry analysts estimate that online sales make up 25% to 30% of the $2 billion annual e-cigarette market, which may account for a high presence of vendors on social media.

The researchers said the findings could impact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 2014 proposed regulations of e-cigarette use, sale, marketing, and manufacturing to include online monitoring of the laws.

It's easy to purchase e-cigarettes on the Internet, researchers say. Too easy.A study by the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say...

States urge tougher controls on e-cigarettes

Attorneys general want warning labels and child-proof packaging

Attorneys general from 33 states have signed off on comments stepping up pressure on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to strengthen proposed regulations of e-cigarettes, citing concerns that children and young adults may become hooked on nicotine.

E-cigarettes have been marketed as tobacco-free substitutes for the real thing. They deliver nicotine in a vapor and, because they don't produce smoke, are often used in public spaces where smoking isn't allowed.

In comments to the FDA, the attorneys general want proposed regulations to go a step farther than what is currently being discussed, requiring appropriate warning labels and child-resistant packaging to help protect youth from nicotine exposure.

Liquid nicotine concerns

The state officials also want the FDA to require liquid nicotine, nicotine-containing e-liquids and novel tobacco products, such as dissolvables, lotions, gels, and drinks, to carry warning labels regarding nicotine exposure that are similar to the labels on other tobacco products.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said she is concerned that liquid nicotine is particularly toxic to children and can be ingested or absorbed through the skin. That's why she and others are advocating child-resistant packaging.

There's currently a patchwork of state regulations in place. Seventeen states have already enacted laws requiring such packaging, but no federal standards currently exist. The attorneys general are also recommending flow restrictors for liquid nicotine and nicotine containing e-liquids to further protect children from exposure in the event that closures are not fully secured.

Youthful appeal

Madigan is concerned that e-cigarettes are being made to appear attractive to young consumers.

“With a variety of sweet, candy and fruity flavors, and marketing campaigns that feature themes from popular children’s movies, it is no surprise that the numbers of young people using e-cigarettes is rising,” said Madigan. “Nicotine is harmful no matter how it is consumed, and e-cigarettes should come with warnings about its dangers.”

Madigan cites statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), showing the percentage of high school students using e-cigarettes had more than tripled in one year – from 4.5 percent in 2013 to 13.4 percent in 2014, or approximately 2 million students.

“As more and more Americans – especially young people – take up e-cigarettes, it is more important than ever that the FDA ensures our children are protected from the dangers of liquid nicotine,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “Child-resistant packaging and health warnings are an essential step to keeping these potentially lethal toxins out of the hands of our children. The FDA must step up and regulate the sale and packaging of these dangerous products before any more kids are harmed.”

The FDA has only begun using its recently granted authority to regulate tobacco products, which include e-cigarettes. The agency says these products have not been fully studied, so consumers currently don’t know the potential risks, how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled during use, or whether there are any benefits associated with using these products.

The agency's Center for Tobacco Products held three public workshops earlier this year to obtain information on electronic cigarettes and the public health.  

Attorneys general from 33 states have signed off on comments stepping up pressure on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to strengthen proposed reg...

British study: e-cigs 95% less harmful than cigarettes

Brits worry too many smokers don't recognize e-cigs' benefits

Great Britain and the United States haven't always seen eye-to-eye. The latest example: e-cigarettes. Politicians and public health authorities in the U.S. continue to view e-cigs with caution while England has taken a more positive view -- most notably a new report from Public Health England (PHE) that finds e-cigs about 95% less harmful than smoking.

"My reading of the evidence is that smokers who switch to vaping remove almost all the risks smoking poses to their health," said Professor Peter Hajek of Queen Mary University. Hajek co-authored the report with Professor Ann McNeill of King's College London.

The expert independent evidence review also finds "no evidence so far that e-cigarettes are acting as a route into smoking for children or non-smokers." That contradicts a study by the University of California last year that found that adolescents who used the devices were more likely to smoke cigarettes and less likely to quit smoking. 

Falling smoking rates

The review, commissioned by Public Health England (PHE) -- an arm of the British Department of Health -- goes further and suggests that e-cigarettes may be contributing to falling smoking rates among adults and young people. 

The review found that almost all of the 2.6 million adults using e-cigarettes in Great Britain are current or ex-smokers, most of whom are using the devices to help them quit smoking or to prevent them going back to cigarettes.

It also provides reassurance that very few adults and young people who have never smoked are becoming regular e-cigarette users (less than 1% in each group).

Emerging evidence suggests some of the highest successful quit rates are now seen among smokers who use an e-cigarette and also receive additional support from their local stop smoking services.

Time to reconsider?

The report drew the expected response from the American Vaping Association, which represents manufacturers of the electronic nicotine delivery devices. It called for U.S. organizations and government agencies like the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) to reassess their views on vaping. 

"This report represents a major win for public health. Smokers need to know that vapor products are far less hazardous than smoking and effective for quitting," said Gregory Conley, AVA president. "With over 42 million Americans still smoking cigarettes, there is no excuse for major public health organizations to continue to propagandize against these lifesaving products."

Attitude gap

Nothing better illustrates the attitude gap between the U.S. and Britain than the concern expressed by U.K. health officials that too many people think e-cigs are just as harmful as traditional cigarettes. 

"The problem is people increasingly think they are at least as harmful and this may be keeping millions of smokers from quitting. Local stop smoking services should look to support e-cigarette users in their journey to quitting completely," said Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England. "E-cigarettes are not completely risk free but when compared to smoking, evidence shows they carry just a fraction of the harm." 

Ann McNeill, co-author of the review, agreed:

There is no evidence that e-cigarettes are undermining England’s falling smoking rates. Instead the evidence consistently finds that e-cigarettes are another tool for stopping smoking and in my view smokers should try vaping and vapers should stop smoking entirely.

E-cigarettes could be a game changer in public health in particular by reducing the enormous health inequalities caused by smoking.

 

Great Britain and the United States haven't always seen eye-to-eye. The latest example: e-cigarettes. Politicians and public health authorities in the U.S....

Study finds e-cigarettes may be as addictive as "real" ones

Nicotine in e-cigs is as addictive other forms of the chemical, researchers say

Electronic cigarettes or "e-cigs" have been touted as a safer tool smokers can use to wean themselves off of traditional cigarettes. But is that really true? After all, e-cig liquid contains nicotine and emits carcinogens, just like tobaco-based cigarettes.

A research team reports in the ACS journal Chemical Research in Toxicology that much of the nicotine in e-cigarettes is the addictive form of the compound.

Although e-cigs don't burn tobacco, they heat and vaporize a liquid that contains nicotine, flavorings and other substances. 

Some experts say the nicotine content in e-cigs could lead users to become addicted to e-cigs, or that it could even serve as a gateway to conventional cigarettes and other drugs. But not all nicotine is created equal, and studies had yet to investigate what kind of nicotine was in the liquids.

Out of three forms, scientists believe "free-base" nicotine is the only one that gets absorbed by the body, making it the most addictive kind. Najat Saliba and colleagues wanted to find out which nicotine forms are in e-cigs.

The researchers tested commercial samples of liquids made for the devices and found that, by and large, the nicotine was in the most addictive form. They also determined that the concentration of nicotine varied and often didn't match the concentrations the labels claimed.

Funding for the study came from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the U.S. FDA's Center for Tobacco Products.

 

Electronic cigarettes or "e-cigs" have been touted as a safer tool smokers can use to wean themselves off of traditional cigarettes. But is that really tru...

E-cigarette use tripled among teens -- a "staggering" increase, CDC reports

"A wake-up call that more and more of our kids are becoming addicted"

Federal health officials lit a match today that ignited a firestorm on both sides of the vaping divide, reporting that current e-cigarette use among middle and high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) called the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration "a wake-up call to all of us that more and more of our kids are becoming addicted to e-cigarettes.

"If e-cigarette companies are serious about helping people quit smoking, they must stop targeting our kids with their products and pull their advertisements from television," Boxer said.

The American Vaping Association -- an industry group -- in effect labeled the report a smokescreen and interpreted the numbers to indicate that "as youth experimentation with vaping has grown, teen smoking has declined at a rate faster than ever before."

The annual study found that current e-cigarette use (use on at least 1 day in the past 30 days) among high school students increased from 4.5% in 2013 to 13.4% in 2014, rising from approximately 660,000 to 2 million students. Among middle school students, current e-cigarette use more than tripled from 1.1% in 2013 to 3.9% in 2014 — an increase from approximately 120,000 to 450,000 students.

E-cigs now top tobacco product

This is the first time since the survey started collecting data on e-cigarettes in 2011 that current e-cigarette use has surpassed current use of every other tobacco product overall, including conventional cigarettes, the CDC said.

“We want parents to know that nicotine is dangerous for kids at any age, whether it’s an e-cigarette, hookah, cigarette or cigar,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Adolescence is a critical time for brain development. Nicotine exposure at a young age may cause lasting harm to brain development, promote addiction, and lead to sustained tobacco use.”

Hookah smoking roughly doubled for middle and high school students in the study, while cigarette use declined among high school students and remained unchanged for middle school students. Among high school students, current hookah use rose from 5.2% in 2013 (about 770,000 students) to 9.4% in 2014 (about 1.3 million students). 

The increases in e-cigarette and hookah use offset declines in use of more traditional products such as cigarettes and cigars. There was no decline in overall tobacco use between 2011 and 2014. Overall rates of any tobacco product use were 24.6 % for high school students and 7.7 % for middle school students in 2014.

Staggering increases

“In today’s rapidly evolving tobacco marketplace, the surge in youth use of novel products like e-cigarettes forces us to confront the reality that the progress we have made in reducing youth cigarette smoking rates is being threatened,” said Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “These staggering increases in such a short time underscore why FDA intends to regulate these additional products to protect public health.”

Cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco are currently subject to FDA’s tobacco control authority. The agency currently is finalizing the rule to bring additional tobacco products such as e-cigarettes, hookahs and some or all cigars under that same authority.

Sen. Boxer would like to see things move along a bit faster. In March, she sent a letter to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg along with a petition urging the agency to finalize a rule to regulate e-cigarettes and protect public health.

Yesterday, she wrote to the executives of five of the largest e-cigarette manufacturers urging them to refrain from advertising e-cigarettes on television, citing the effects of e-cigarette advertising on young people.

The Vaping Association, meanwhile, claimed the CDC's figures -- showing a huge increase in vaping and a decline in smoking by high school students -- amounted to evidence that vaping was helping students resist the urge to smoke cigarettes.

"While no vaping or smoking by teens is obviously the ideal, we do not live in a perfect world. There remains no evidence that e-cigarettes are acting as gateway products for youth. In fact, this study and others suggest that the availability of vapor products has acted as a deterrent for many teenagers and potentially kept them away from traditional cigarettes," said Gregory Conley, the group's president.

 

Federal health officials lit a match today that ignited a firestorm on both sides of the vaping divide, reporting that current e-cigarette use among middle...

Bill would outlaw marketing and sales of e-cigarettes to minors

Manufacturers using candy flavors to appeal to children

Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and five co-sponsors today introduced a measure that would ban companies from selling and marketing e-cigarettes to children. It would also direct the FDA to establish regulations for their safe packaging, doses, and labeling.

“E-cigarette makers think they can take us back to the days of Joe Camel,” said Speier. “They are selling nicotine to children in flavors like gummy bear, cotton candy, and chocolate cake. Something is gravely wrong with that picture. The SMOKE Act (Stop Selling and Marketing to Our Kids E-Cigarettes) would establish that e-cigarettes are for adults, not minors, and it would ensure they are safely regulated and packaged so that they can’t harm children.

The SMOKE Act would direct the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prohibit e-cigarette advertising that increases usage of the products by children. It would designate such advertising as an unfair or deceptive practice and vest the FTC and state attorneys-general with authority to prosecute violators and subject them to penalties.

More authority

The act would also give the FDA authority to ban e-cigarette sales to minors. It would require the FDA to establish childproof packaging standards, dosage limits, maximum levels of nicotine concentration, and nicotine concentration labeling requirements.

The bill would mandate a study on the impact that e-cigarette flavorings have on children’s use and smoking cessation, requiring the FDA to consider banning or restricting flavorings based on those findings.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that e-cigarette use by middle and high school students more than tripled from 2011 to 2013. Lack of child proof packaging has led to an escalating number of e-cigarette-related calls to Poison Control Centers, 51.1 percent of which involved young children, Speier noted.

E-cigarettes contain poisonous and addictive chemicals including nicotine and 5 to 15 times the level of formaldehyde present in regular cigarettes, she said.

The bill is supported by American Association of Cancer Research (AACR).

Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and five co-sponsors today introduced a measure that would ban companies from selling and marketing e-cigarettes to ...

New NY law requires childproof packaging for liquid nicotine

The measure follows the nicotine-poisoning death of a toddler

Liquid nicotine sold in New York must be packaged in childproof containers under terms of a new law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo yesterday. The measure also bans the sale of liquid nicotine to those under 21 in New York City and under 18 in the rest of the state.

New York banned the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors in 2010, but did not explicitly ban the sale of the liquid nicotine, according to a news release from the governor's office.

"This action will help combat nicotine addiction by keeping it out of the hands of minors, as well as prevent a heartbreaking accident that can occur if a child is exposed to this potentially dangerous substance,” Cuomo said. "I am proud to sign this legislation into law and thank the sponsors for their work on this much-needed initiative.” 

The measure follows the death of a one-year-old Fort Plain, N.Y., toddler who died after swallowing liquid nicotine. 

Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), who sponsored the bill, cited the boy's death as a reason why the law was needed.

"The accidental death of the one-year-old boy from Fort Plain, N.Y. as a result of liquid nicotine poisoning, the first of its kind in the nation, makes clear the need for this kind of common-sense legislation," Rosenthal said in a statement.

Highly toxic

Liquid nicotine, often known as electronic liquid or e-liquid, is a composite of nicotine and other chemicals. Concentrated liquid nicotine is highly toxic, even in small doses, and if ingested, liquid nicotine may cause tremors, vomiting, seizures, and potentially, death. For infants and children, ingesting liquid nicotine is particularly lethal.

According to a 2014 Centers for Disease Control Report, the number of calls to poison control centers involving liquid nicotine rose from one per month in September 2010 to 215 per month in February 2014. More than half of the calls (51.1%) involved children under age 5. 

 

Liquid nicotine sold in New York must be packaged in childproof containers, under terms of a new law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The measure also bans the...

Study: Teen use of e-cigarettes growing

Hawaii research at odds with national studies

When electronic cigarettes arrived on the scene they were billed as a safer alternative to cigarettes and a nicotine alternative that could help some smokers quit.

They may be that, though the jury is still out. But anti-smoking activists worried that these devices, which deliver nicotine through water vapor instead of smoke, would eventually be adopted by teens, hooking them on nicotine. Sooner or later, the activists said, these young people would graduate to cigarettes.

Cancer researchers in Hawaii say they are seeing evidence teens are, in fact, gravitating to e-cigarettes. Their data, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that nearly 30% of the more than 1,900 teens surveyed in Hawaii had tried e-cigarettes. Of those, 17% were regularly using e-cigarettes, a practice known as “vaping.”

Three times greater

Those numbers are about 3 time greater than previously reported in earlier research. In fact, very few adolescents in the national studies were just using e-cigarettes.

The Hawaii survey, which questioned 14- and 15-year-olds, measured responses to a broad range of substances – e-cigarettes, cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana. Researchers said teens who only used e-cigarettes were found to be intermediate in levels of risk and protective factors between nonusers and those who used both cigarettes and e-cigarettes.

“This raises a question about whether e-cigarettes are recruiting low-risk youth, who would otherwise not try smoking, to tobacco product use,” the authors wrote.

Dr. Thomas Wills, of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center's Prevention and Control Program, said researchers aren't sure why the rate of e-cigarette use is so high among teens in Hawaii. He thinks one reason may be that young people underestimate the difficulty of abstaining from nicotine once you become addicted. But there could be other reasons.

Aggressive marketing

"The marketing is very aggressive here," he said, noting that manufacturers place ads at venues such as movie theaters that are accessible to teenagers.

They also make flavored liquids in varieties such as mango and pineapple. Other reasons could include the high tax rate on cigarettes in Hawaii, which makes alternatives such as e-cigarettes more attractive from a cost perspective.

The Food and Drug Administration has been studying these issues for more than a year, with the expectation the agency will issue e-cigarette regulations. Some manufacturers have supported regulations that would bar e-cigarette sales to minors.

Fuel for debate

The Hawaii study may add fuel to the debate over e-cigarettes, and whether these devices are a gateway to tobacco. Researchers at the University at Buffalo say it may be hard to determine that, since the data we have on teen smoking is not that accurate.

Their study says many public health agencies rely too heavily on reports of monthly cigarette use, a broad statistic that makes it difficult to draw conclusions about current habits and historical changes in behavior.

“We need information on smoking intensity to assess health risk, because heavy smoking causes more disease and death than light smoking,” said study co-author Lynn Kozlowski. “Also, non-daily smokers often represent lower-level exposure to carcinogens and can be more likely to quit.”

Not only should there be more accurate ways to assess cigarette smoking, Kozlowski says health researchers need much better data on who is using e-cigarettes and how they're using them.

“Given the increasing popularity of vaping, there needs to be more regular and diligent reporting of frequency and intensity of the use both of cigarettes and tobacco/nicotine products like e-cigarettes to insure accurate conclusions about the trends in teen tobacco use,” Kozlowski said.

When e-electronic cigarettes arrived on the scene they were billed as a safer alternative to cigarettes and a nicotine alternative that could help some smo...

NY toddler dies after drinking liquid nicotine in e-cig refill

Incidents of nicotine poisoning have surged with the popularity of e-cigarettes

A toddler in New York is the latest apparent victim of a new household hazard -- liquid nicotine refills for e-cigarettes. Police in Fort Plain, N.Y., said they answered a call concerning an unresponsive child. The child was taken to a local hospital and died a short time later.

Sgt. Austin Ryan of the Fort Plain police said investigators were told the child drank from a bottle containing liquid refills for e-cigarettes.

Though shocking, such accidents are becoming increasingly common. Earlier this year, it was reported that a CDC study published in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that calls to poison control centers for nicotine ingestion by children shot up from 1 per month in September 2010 to 215 per month this past February. And, the report says, the number of calls per month involving conventional cigarettes did not show a similar increase during the same time period.

The New York General Assembly recently passed a measure requiring child-resistant containers on e-cigarette refills, which are often flavored with fruit and other sweet substances attractive to children.

The CDC report said that more than half (51.1%) of the calls to poison centers due to e-cigarettes involved young children 5 years and under, and about 42% of the poison calls involved people age 20 and older.

The analysis, which compared total monthly poison center calls involving e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes, found the proportion of e-cigarette calls jumped from 0.3% in September 2010 to 41.7% in February 2014.

Poisoning from conventional cigarettes is generally due to young children eating them. Poisoning related to e-cigarettes involves the liquid containing nicotine used in the devices and can occur in three ways: by ingestion, inhalation or absorption through the skin or eyes.

Red flag

“This report raises another red flag about e-cigarettes -- the liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes can be hazardous,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Use of these products is skyrocketing and these poisonings will continue. E-cigarette liquids as currently sold are a threat to small children because they are not required to be childproof, and they come in candy and fruit flavors that are appealing to children.”

"One teaspoon of liquid nicotine could be lethal to a child, and smaller amounts can cause severe illness, often requiring trips to the emergency department," the American Association of Poison Control (AAPC) centers said recently.

Adults should use care to protect their skin when handling the products, and they should be out of sight and out of the reach of children, AAPC said. Additionally, those using these products should dispose of them properly to prevent exposure to pets and children from the residue or liquid left in the container.  

The American Association of Poison Control Centers recommends the following steps:

  • Protect your skin when handling the products.
  • Always keep e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine locked up and out of the reach of children.
  • Follow the specific disposal instructions on the label.
  • If you think someone has been exposed to an e-cigarette or liquid nicotine, call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.
A toddler in New York is the latest apparent victim of a new household hazard -- liquid nicotine refills for e-cigarettes. Police in Fort Plain, N.Y., said...

Senators call for stronger warning labels on e-cigarettes

Big tobacco concocting its own health warnings that don't tell the whole story, they charge

 

A group of Democratic U.S. Senators are calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today to adopt stronger warning labels for e-cigarettes, charging that big tobacco companies are not telling the whole story.

 

"Media reports have recently highlighted that in the absence of a clear federal standard, e-cigarette manufacturers owned by big tobacco companies are beginning to concoct their own health warnings about their products that lack uniformity and are not comprehensive in listing all of the health threats the products pose," the Senators wrote in today's letter to the FDA.

They said inadequate health warnings on e-cigarettes reinforce the need for the FDA to quickly finalize proposed deeming regulations that would expand the agency's regulatory authority over the nicotine-based products.

A recent New York Times story noted the inconsistent standard that currently exists in the unregulated e-cigarette industry, with manufacturers including warning labels on their products that fail to fully advise consumers of the well-established consequences of nicotine use.

"In FDA's proposed 'deeming regulation,' the agency includes a warning label for e-cigarettes that does not adequately warn consumers on the known dangers of nicotine use. The proposed label reads 'WARNING: This product contains nicotine derived from tobacco. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.' We support requiring a label on nicotine's addictive properties, but we ask the FDA pursue requirements for more extensive warnings that address health risks that e-cigarettes pose," the Senators continued.

Signing the letter were Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Edward Markey (D-MA).

In August, thirteen Members of Congress - including Boxer, Durbin, Blumenthal, Reed, Brown, and Markey - asked the FDA to move quickly to finalize a proposed rule on e-cigarettes within one year, and to include provisions that would limit youth access to the addictive products.

In February, Senator Boxer and her colleagues introduced the Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act, a bill that would prohibit the marketing of electronic cigarettes to children and teens. The measure would permit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to determine what constitutes marketing e-cigarettes to children and would allow the FTC to work with states attorneys general to enforce the ban.

A group of Democratic U.S. Senators are calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today to adopt stronger warning labels for e-cigarettes, charging...

World Health Organization declares e-cigarettes "promise and threat"

More regulations needed to silence unproven health claims, WHO argues

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) is weighing in on electronic cigarettes, declaring that they represent an “evolving frontier filled with promise and threat for tobacco control.” 

 

In a report prepared for an upcoming conference in Moscow, WHO questions whether e-cigs actually help smokers quit the habit, calls for bans on advertising and restrictions on using the devices indoors. It also suggests regulations are needed to:

  • Impede e-cigarette promotion to non-smokers and young people;
  • Minimize potential health risks to e-cigarette users and nonusers;
  • Prohibit unproven health claims about e-cigarettes; and
  • Protect existing tobacco control efforts from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.

The suggested regulations outlined in the report include a ban on e-cigarettes with fruit, candy-like and alcohol-drink flavours until it can be proved they are not attractive to children and adolescents.

E-cigarettes have been marketed in almost 8,000 different flavours, and there is concern they will serve as a gateway to nicotine addiction and, ultimately, smoking, particularly for young people, the report warns.

Experimentation with e-cigarettes is increasing rapidly among adolescents, with e-cigarette use in this group doubling from 2008 to 2012, the report says.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is weighing in on electronic cigarettes, declaring that they represent an “evolving frontier filled with promise and th...

E-cigarettes may be OK as last-gasp quit-smoking solution: American Heart Association

The association says physicians shouldn't discourage e-cigs when all else has failed

Everybody knows that smoking is bad. Vaping? It's worse than not smoking at all but the American Heart Association says it may be worthwhile as a last-chance effort for smokers who have tried everything to quit smoking and failed.

In a policy statement released today, the AHA said physicians shouldn’t routinely discourage e-cigarette use as a last resort to stop smoking.

“If someone refuses to quit, we’re not opposed to them switching from conventional to e-cigarettes,” said Aruni Bhatnagar, lead writer of the policy statement from the Dallas-based nonprofit group and a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. 

“Don’t use them indefinitely. Set a quit date for quitting conventional, e-cigarettes and everything else. We don’t think that will be the long-term or useful way to look at it because e-cigarettes may continue and fuel nicotine addiction. Nicotine is not innocuous — it’s known to be harmful and have cardiovascular effects,” Bhatnagar said.

Studies show that nicotine causes a short-term increase in blood pressure, heart rate and blood flow from the heart. It also causes the arteries to narrow.

“We consider exposure to nicotine as part of smoking. We don’t want separate definitions for combustible and e-cigarettes,” he said.

"Re-normalize tobacco use"

Despite the concession that e-cigarettes may be worth trying when all else fails, the AHA made it clear it is steadfastly opposed to letting the devices sneak in under the wire. 

E-cigarettes are dangerous because they target young people, can keep people hooked on nicotine, and threaten to “re-normalize” tobacco use, the AHA said, insisting that e-cigs are tobacco products and should be subject to all laws that apply to these products.

The association also calls for strong new regulations to prevent access, sales and marketing of e-cigarettes to youth, and for more research into the product’s health impact.

“Over the last 50 years, 20 million Americans died because of tobacco. We are fiercely committed to preventing the tobacco industry from addicting another generation of smokers,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “Recent studies raise concerns that e-cigarettes may be a gateway to traditional tobacco products for the nation’s youth, and could renormalize smoking in our society.”

Everybody knows that smoking is bad. Vaping? It's worse than not smoking at all but the American Heart Association says it may be worthwhile as a last-chan...

States want tighter regulation of e-cigarettes

The devices threaten to create a new generation of nicotine addicts, FDA is told

While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mulls new regulations of electronic cigarettes, the attorneys general of 29 states are urging the agency to adopt even tougher rules than it has already proposed.

“E-cigarettes have all the addictive qualities of regular, combustible cigarettes, yet they are completely unregulated by the FDA,” said New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, one of the author of a letter to the FDA signed by the 29 AGs. “While we applaud the FDA’s proposal to start regulating these tobacco products, it falls far short of what is needed to protect our youth.

Among other recommendations, the attorneys general pressed the FDA to prohibit flavors in e-cigarettes, and to restrict advertising and marketing for e-cigarettes in the same manner as for cigarettes.

"Each year, electronic cigarette companies spend millions of dollars advertising their product – often on prime-time television -- glamorizing smoking in the same way combustible cigarettes did before those commercials were banned. And each year, more and more youth try electronic cigarettes, exposing themselves to the proven dangers of nicotine,” the AGs argue.

While some claim that e-cigarettes may have the potential to help smokers quit using combustible cigarettes, the FDA has not approved them as smoking cessation devices, the AGs note, and they say they're concerned that e-cigs will cause teens to become addicted to nicotine and ultimately to start using cancer-causing combustible products that do contain tobacco.

In 2013, e-cigarette advertisements on television reached over 14 million teens, and magazine advertisements reached 9.5 million teens. In just one year, the five largest e-cigarette companies increased their marketing expenditures by 164%.

Over 35 years ago, tobacco companies recognized that flavored cigarettes were attractive to younger smokers, leading the FDA to ban flavored cigarettes.

“Today, we urge the FDA to do the right thing and protect our youth from yet another tobacco epidemic,” the letter continues. “We don’t need these e-cigarettes aimed at our youth. What we need are strong FDA regulations that protect the public health and protect our youth from a lifetime of nicotine addiction. The FDA should ban all flavored electronic cigarettes and should prohibit e-cigarette advertising on television, radio and youth-oriented magazines.”

While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mulls new regulations of electronic cigarettes, the attorneys general of 29 states are urging the agency to ad...

Researchers find challenges to regulating e-cigarettes

Marketers stepping up use of social media

 

E-cigarette manufacturers are free to use just about any medium they want to market their products. Unlike tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarette commercials may be broadcast on radio and TV and displayed online.

 

But the marketing medium of choice, it appears, is social media. A study in Tobacco Control may have implications for future Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations on the marketing of e-cigarettes and related products, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

“There’s this whole wild west of social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – and the FDA has no way to track what’s happening in those platforms,” said Jidong Huang, senior research scientist at UIC’s Institute for Health Research and Policy and lead author of the study.

The researchers collected tweets and metadata that mentioned e-cigarettes during a two month period in 2012. They captured more than 70,000 tweets related to the cigarette substitutes.

Most of the 70,000 tweets, it turns out, were commercials for brands of e-cigarettes. Only 10% were “organic,” or legitimate consumer opinions.

Links to products

The researchers found that 94% of the commercial tweets included a website link while only 11% of the organic tweets did.

E-cigarettes deliver nicotine in water vapor, often accompanied by flavorings, and simulate the physical act of smoking. Many of the users are former smokers and people trying to quit, who say e-cigarettes keep them from using the real thing.

Public health advocates worry that e-cigarettes will hook young people, who don't currently smoke, on nicotine. The FDA is in the process of drawing up regulations that will bar sales to minors.

The UIC researchers say that of the commercial tweets they monitored, only 11% mentioned quitting smoking. More than one-third directed viewers to a place where they could download coupons or get discounts to purchase e-cigarette products.

Twitter is the second-largest search engine after Google and that gives the UIC researchers pause.

“If kids or youth search for ‘vaping pen’ or ‘e-cig’ on Twitter, they will get links to commercial sites where they can purchase these items,” said Huang.

Unlike Facebook and some other platforms where one can set privacy controls, all information on Twitter is accessible to anyone.

Jury still out

So far the jury is out on whether e-cigarettes are a good way to help people stop smoking, as the industry claims, or a gateway to eventual tobacco use, as the industry's public health critics claim.

Previous research has shown rapid growth in both use and awareness of e-cigarettes among adults and young people in the last couple of years. However, there is limited evidence that can settle the argument about the product's merits or threat.

“We know very little about what these products are made of and what kind of chemicals are in the e-juice,” Huang said.

In an unrelated study, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine also conclude the FDA will have its hands full trying to draw up and implement e-cigarette regulations.

The study found that an average 10 new e-cigarette brands entered the Internet marketplace every month from 2012 to 2014. At present online consumers can choose from 466 e-cigarette brands.

Advice for the FDA

The researchers urged the FDA to tread carefully in drawing up regulations, warning against unintended consequences. Overly-stringent regulations, they say, would likely favor brands with strong financial backing and most of these would be owned by tobacco companies.

“Obviously, tobacco companies would be more concerned with protecting cigarette market share than smaller e-cigarette companies,” said lead author Shu-Hong Zhu.

In other words, put too many regulations in place and you run the risk of changing only the market share of different e-cigarette brands rather than reducing the prevalence of smoking.

The most important goal in e-cigarette regulation, says Zhu, is to reduce the number of people smoking cigarettes.

E-cigarette manufacturers are free to use just about any medium they want to market their products. Unlike tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarette commercials may ...

Study finds youth exposure to e-cigarette ads rising

But no move to regulate these ads is expected anytime soon

The makers of e-cigarettes take great pains to point out their products should not be sold to minors. That said, plenty of young people are exposed to television advertising for e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine through water vapor instead of smoke.

Because the products have only begun to be regulated, manufacturers are free to market them on TV, which has been off-limits for cigarette ads since 1971.

Researchers at RTI International and the Florida Department of Health have measured e-cigarette advertising on TV and say the number of youth and young adults exposed to these ads has more than doubled in the past 2 years.

Specifically, it found youth exposure to e-cigarette advertisements increased by 256% from 2011 to 2013 and young adult exposure jumped 321% in the same time period.

Absence of public health messages

“If the current trends continue, awareness and use of e-cigarettes will increase among youth and young adults,” said Jennifer Duke, senior research public health analyst and co-author of the study. “And unfortunately, in the absence of evidence-based public health messages regarding the health risks of e-cigarettes, television advertising is promoting beliefs and behaviors that pose harm to youth and young adults and raise public health concerns.”

The study, published in Pediatrics, looked at media industry data for ads promoting e-cigarettes across cable networks, where most of the ads run. They then calculated exposure for viewers ages 12 to 17 and 18 to 24.

The study determined that more than 75% of youth ad exposure occurred on cable networks like AMC, Country Music Television, Comedy Central, WGN America, TV Land, and VH1.

Further, the researchers say they discovered that e-cigarette ads appeared on programs like The Bachelor, Big Brother, and Survivor that were among the 100 most-watched programs by youth during the 2012-2013 TV season.

Heavy Internet advertising too

Another study earlier this year found a large increase in e-cigarette ads on the Internet. The public health foundation Legacy looked at how tobacco companies spent their advertising dollars and found an every-expanding percentage now goes to e-cigarettes.

With ever-tighter regulations on the sale of cigarettes, many U.S. tobacco companies have enthusiastically embraced e-cigarette products. More than 80% of the ads logged by RTI researchers in 2013 were for a single brand, blu eCigs, which is owned by Lorillard, a tobacco company.

“E-cigarette companies advertise to a broad TV audience that includes 24 million youth,” Duke said. “Given the potential harm of e-cigarettes to youth and their potential as a gateway to using cigarettes and other tobacco products, the FDA needs to regulate the positive images of e cigarettes on television and other venues where youth view advertising and marketing like they do for traditional cigarettes.”

Modest regulations

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations are in the works. Last month the FDA proposed regulations that would ban e-cigarette sales to minors. However, it stopped short of regulating how the products are advertised on TV.

One reason may be a rather fierce debate about how harmful the product really is. A number of public health researchers have suggested the jury is still out.

In fact, the FDA's chief tobacco regulator testified before Congress, saying there is little doubt e-cigarettes are healthier than cigarettes.

“If we could get all of those people who smoke to completely switch all of their cigarettes to noncombustible cigarettes, it would be good for public health,” Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products, told the lawmakers.

The makers of e-cigarettes, a tobacco substitute, take great pains to point out their products should not be sold to minors.That said, plenty of young pe...

Allergists caution e-cigarette users

No evidence to support claims e-cigs help users cut back tobacco use, researchers caution

E-cigarettes have captured the interest of smokers, and they've also captured the interest of researchers, who are turning out a flurry of studies of the risks and rewards of the nicotine burners.

One of the latest is an article in the June issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). It examines the risks associated with e-cigarettes, including the ongoing dependence on nicotine and the dual use of e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes.

The conclusion: caveat emptor – "buyer beware."

The article notes that while e-cigs are frequently promoted as helping smokers cut back, that theory hasn't been proven, and there's little evidence to support the claims.

"Despite the apparent optimism surrounding e-cigarettes and their purported therapeutic role in smoking cessation, there just simply is not enough evidence to suggest that consumers should use e-cigarettes for this purpose." said allergist Andrew Nickels, MD, Mayo Clinic Division of Allergy and Immunology, the lead author of the study.

Recently, however, a large survey of smokers in England found that people who use e-cigs to help them stop smoking are 60% more likely to succeed than those who use other over-the-counter therapies such as nicotine patches or gum.

The study, conducted by University College London and published in Addiction, surveyed 5,863 smokers between 2009 and 2014 who had attempted to quit smoking without the aid of prescription medication or professional support; 20% of people trying to quit with the aid of e-cigarettes reported having stopped smoking conventional cigarettes at the time of the survey.

Another cause for concern, the ACAAI report said, is that when people use e-cigarettes in public and still smoke regular cigarettes at home, they continue to expose children and asthma sufferers in the household to dangerous second hand smoke, the article cautions.

"Dual use of both e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes carries the risk of secondhand smoke exposure, causing worsening respiratory effects on children and asthma sufferers. It also promotes ongoing nicotine dependence," said Chitra Dinakar, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Children's Mercy Hospitals.

Long-term complications

Because e-cigarettes are fairly new, there could be other long-term health complications that have yet to be discovered. Results of long-term exposure to such substances are unknown. Due to the lack of production oversight, most consumers don't know what's in the e-cigarettes they buy, the article says.

Organizations like ACAAI are calling for enhanced scrutiny and regulation by the FDA. The ACAAI's position statement on e-cigarettes recognizes that nicotine delivered by any mechanism represents a drug exposure, and that vaporization instruments are a drug delivery system, both of which are within the FDA's scope of regulation.

Inhaling irritants such as smoke and vapors has an impact on the lungs, whether it is mild or severe and could cause asthma attacks in some individuals. These attacks are responsible for some of the 4,000 asthma-related deaths per year.

E-cigarettes have captured the interest of smokers, and they've also captured the interest of researchers, who are turning out a flurry of studies of the r...

Study finds e-cigarettes can be a useful quit-smoking tool

British study also finds no evidence e-cigs lead to renewed use of tobacco

E-cigarettes have taken something of a beating recently, as numerous studies have identified negative health consequences from using the nicotine burners while others have challenged the claim that e-cigs can help people stop smoking.

But now a large survey of smokers in England finds that people who use e-cigs to help them stop smoking are 60% more likely to succeed than those who use other over-the-counter therapies such as nicotine patches or gum.

The study, conducted by University College London and published in Addiction, surveyed 5,863 smokers between 2009 and 2014 who had attempted to quit smoking without the aid of prescription medication or professional support; 20% of people trying to quit with the aid of e-cigarettes reported having stopped smoking conventional cigarettes at the time of the survey.

The research, chiefly funded by Cancer Research UK, suggests that e-cigarettes could play a positive role in reducing smoking rates.

"E-cigarettes could substantially improve public health because of their widespread appeal and the huge health gains associated with stopping smoking," says Prof. Robert West of UCL's Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, senior author of the study.

Even better with professional help

West said, however, that the success rate for those using Britain's National Health Service stop-smoking program was even better -- nearly three times better than do-it-yourself smoking cessation programs.

The researchers noted that, while some use e-cigs to stop smoking, others may want to continue using them indefinitely.

"It is not clear whether long-term use of e-cigarettes carries health risks but from what is known about the contents of the vapour these will be much less than from smoking," West said. 

West also said he sees no sign that e-cigarettes are leading to a resurgence of smoking in the UK.

"Some public health experts have expressed concern that widespread use of e-cigarettes could "re-normalise" smoking. However, we are tracking this very closely and see no evidence of it. Smoking rates in England are declining, quitting rates are increasing and regular e-cigarette use among never smokers is negligible." 

E-cigarettes have taken something of a beating recently, as numerous studies have identified negative health consequences from using the nicotine burners w...

E-cigarettes may increase virulence of drug-resistant bacteria

They're not as bad as tobacco but that doesn't make them healthful

E-cigarettes have been losing much of their initial luster as a safer alternative to tobacco as one study after another finds some new problem with the electronic nicotine burners. 

The latest is something of a shocker: researchers say e-cigarettes appear to increase the virulence of drug- resistant and potentially life-threatening bacteria, while decreasing the ability of human cells to kill these bacteria.

"As health care professionals, we are always being asked by patients, "Would this be better for me?" lead investigator Laura E. Crotty Alexander, M.D., said. "In the case of smoking e-cigarettes, I hated not having an answer. While the answer isn't black and white, our study suggests a response: even if e-cigarettes may not be as bad as tobacco, they still have measurable detrimental effects on health."

Crotty Alexander and other researchers at the VA San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS) and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), tested the effects of e-cigarette vapor on live methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and human epithelial cells.

MRSA commonly colonizes the region of the nasal passage where the bacteria and the cells that line the passage are exposed constantly to inhaled substances such as e-cigarette vapor and cigarette smoke.

"The virulence of MRSA is increased by e-cigarette vapor," Crotty Alexander said. Exposure to e-cigarette vapor increased the virulence of the bacteria. However, she added, the vapor did not make the bacteria as aggressive as cigarette smoke exposure did in parallel studies her group conducted.

Early warnings, not much action

Scientists have been warning of potential health hazards in e-cigs for years but the popularity of the devices has continued to grow amid light regulation.

In 2010, researchers at UC-Riverside concluded that e-cigarettes are potentially harmful and urged regulators to consider removing e-cigarettes from the market until their safety is adequately evaluated.

Last month, a CDC study reported that calls to poison control centers shot up from 1 per month in September 2010 to 215 per month in February 2014. The number of calls per month involving conventional cigarettes did not show a similar increase during the same time period.

Also in April, a study published in the academic journal Clinical Cancer Research finds that the vapor from e-cigarettes damages human cells in much the same way as the smoke from traditional cigarettes. Scientists at Boston University grew a batch of human bronchial cells in the presence of e-cig vapor and another batch in the presence of tobacco smoke. The result: the two batches of cells showed similar patterns of gene expression, which can cause the mutations that lead to cancer.

In March, a University of California San Francisco study found that e-cigs may be a new route to conventional smoking and nicotine addiction. UCSF researchers found that adolescents who used the devices were more likely to smoke cigarettes and less likely to quit smoking. 

Study details

To conduct the e-cigarette vapor experiment, the researchers grew MRSA in culture with vapor concentrations similar to inhalers on the market. They tested first for biochemical changes in the culture known to promote pathogen virulence and then introduced epithelial cell- and alveolar macrophage-killing assays.

The researchers looked at five factors that contribute to MRSA virulence: growth rate, susceptibility to reactive oxygen species (ROS), surface charge, hydrophobicity and biofilm formation. In particular, e-cigarette vapor led to alterations in surface charge and biofilm formation, which conferred greater resistance to killing by human cells and antibiotics.

Crotty Alexander said that one possible contribution to the increased virulence of MRSA was the rapid change in pH induced by e-cigarette vapor. Exposure changed the pH from 7.4 up to 8.4, making the environment very alkalotic for both bacterial and mammalian cells. This alkalosis stresses the cells, giving them a danger signal, leading to activation of defense mechanisms. The bacteria make their surface more positively charged, to avoid binding by the lethal antimicrobial peptides produced by human innate immune cells. The bacteria also form thicker biofilms, increasing their stickiness and making MRSA less vulnerable to attack.

These changes make MRSA more virulent. However, when MRSA is exposed to regular cigarette smoke, their virulence is even greater.

Cigarette smoke induces surface charge changes 10-fold greater than that of e-cigarette exposure, alters hydrophobicity and decreases sensitivity to reactive oxygen species and antimicrobial peptides.

In a mouse model of pneumonia, cigarette smoke exposed MRSA had four-times greater survival in the lungs, and killed 30% more mice than control MRSA. E-cigarette vapor exposed MRSA were also more virulent in mice, with a three-fold higher survival.

Unfortunately, while e-cigarette vapor is increasing bacterial virulence, Crotty Alexander has found that the vapor is also decreasing the ability of human epithelial cells to kill pathogens.

The study was presented at the 2014 American Thoracic Society International Conference.

E-cigarettes have been losing much of their initial luster as a safer alternative to tobacco as one study after another finds some new problem with the ele...

Smokers doubt that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional tobacco cigarettes

Usage is still low, with only 6% of the U.S. population having tried e-cigs

 

E-cigarettes are gaining mainstream attention as a competitor to traditional cigarettes, but a new study finds that smokers are less inclined to consider them safer than cigarettes.

 

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that in 2010, 84.7% of smokers surveyed believed e-cigarettes were less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but according to this new study in 2013, that number dropped to just 65%.

The study also looked at the perceived harmfulness of e-cigarettes among current smokers. In 2010, 84.7% of smokers surveyed believed e-cigarettes were less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but according to this new study in 2013, that number dropped to just 65%.

"This apparent decline in smokers' beliefs about reduced harm of e-cigarettes compared with regular cigarettes is perplexing against the background of advertising and media messages touting e-cigarettes as safer alternatives and cessation aids," said co-investigator Cabral Bigman, PhD, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

"One possible explanation is that the increased media attention over the lack of FDA approval and regulation of this emerging tobacco product, injuries arising from e-cigarette-induced fires, and health concerns from toxic chemicals in e-cigarettes in recent years may have conveyed conflicting information about the relative safety of e-cigarette use," Bigman said.

Low usage levels

While levels of awareness have increased rapidly, use percentage is still very low with only 6% of U.S. adults reporting ever using e-cigarettes. This small number means that e-cigarettes may not yet be a threat to tobacco control programs, but at the same time, means any claim that e-cigarettes are helping to reduce the harm done by regular cigarettes is probably premature.

"There is an ongoing debate within the public health community about whether e-cigarettes are a viable alternative for harm reduction and whether smokers are merely supplementing or truly replacing their smoking with e-cigarettes and achieving smoking cessation," said co-investigator Andy Tan, MBBS, MPH, MBA, PhD, Center of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania.

"It is uncertain whether increased population e-cigarette awareness and perceptions about reduced harm might play a role in encouraging smoking-cessation behaviors. However, public health professionals should systematically scrutinize the nature of marketing activities and media coverage of e-cigarettes, their impact on population awareness and perceptions of e-cigarettes, and how these factors may influence e-cigarette use and smoking prevalence in the U.S. population."

Fewer smokers believe e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to cigarettesInvestigators find rise in overall e-cigarette awareness, but note decline in the...

E-cigarettes have strong appeal to the mentally ill

Today's users aren't like the characters in "Mad Men"

A new study finds that people suffering from mental health disorders are three times more likely than others to be current e-cigarette users.  

Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine also found that people living with depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions are twice as likely to have tried e-cigarettes.

They are also more susceptible to trying e-cigarettes in the future in the belief that doing so will help them quit smoking traditional cigarettes, even though the FDA has not approved e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid, the scientists said.

"The faces of smokers in America in the 1960s were the 'Mad Men' in business suits," said lead author Sharon Cummins, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. "They were fashionable and had disposable income. Those with a smoking habit today are poorer, have less education, and, as this study shows, have higher rates of mental health conditions."

By some estimates, people with psychiatric disorders consume approximately 30% to 50% of all cigarettes sold annually in the U.S.

"Since the safety of e-cigarettes is still unknown, their use by nonsmokers could put them at risk," Cummins said. Another concern is that the widespread use of e-cigarettes could reverse the social norms that have made smoking largely socially unacceptable.

The study shows that smokers, regardless of their mental health condition, are the primary consumers of the nicotine delivery technology. People with mental health disorders also appear to be using e-cigarettes for the same reasons as other smokers – to reduce potential harm to their health and to help them break the habit.

"So far, nonsmokers with mental health disorders are not picking up e-cigarettes as a gateway to smoking," Cummins said.

"People with mental health conditions have largely been forgotten in the war on smoking," Cummins said. "But because they are high consumers of cigarettes, they have the most to gain or lose from the e-cigarette phenomenon. Which way it goes will depend on what product regulations are put into effect and whether e-cigarettes ultimately prove to be useful in helping smokers quit."

Study details

The study is based on a survey of Americans' smoking history, efforts to quit and their use and perceptions about e-cigarettes. People were also asked whether they had ever been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, depression or other mental health condition.

Among the 10,041 people who responded to the survey, 27.8% of current smokers had self-reported mental health conditions, compared with 13.4% of non-smokers; 14.8% of individuals with mental health conditions had tried e-cigarettes, and 3.1% were currently using them, compared with 6.6% and 1.1% without mental health conditions, respectively.

In addition, 60.5% of smokers with mental health conditions indicated that they were somewhat likely or very likely to try e-cigarettes in the future, compared with 45.3% of smokers without mental health conditions.

The study will be published in the May 13 online issue of Tobacco Control.

A new study finds that people suffering from mental health disorders are three times more likely than others to be current e-cigarette users.  Resea...

FDA takes on e-cigarettes, nicotine gels as it proposes to extend its authority over tobacco products

The new rules aren't as stringent as those now in place for traditional cigarettes

After years of delay, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued proposed new regulations for e-cigarettes, nicotine gels and and products that aren't currently regulated.

The new rules fall short of existing regulations governing traditional cigarettes, however, and are unlikely to satisfy anti-smoking advocates who had hoped for more stringent measures. They won't outlaw advertising or Internet sales and won't ban flavors, which critics say attract younger users.

However, manufacturers will have to disclose the chemicals used in their e-cigarettes, which will be required to carry health warnings.

“This proposed rule is the latest step in our efforts to make the next generation tobacco-free,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said the proposed rule is a good start but goesn't go far enough.

"Stopping the sales of these products to minors is a critical step that will help protect our children from a lifetime of nicotine addiction," Boxer said. "The FDA was also right to propose barring e-cigarette companies from making unproven health claims and requiring them to disclose the harmful ingredients in their products."

"Now it is time for the Administration to take the next important step by banning the outrageous marketing of e-cigarettes to our kids, including the use of candy flavors and cartoon advertisements that are shamelessly designed to lure and addict them," she said. 

In February, introduced legislation to prohibit the marketing of e-cigarettes to children and teens. Earlier this month, she and several other senators urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the FDA to take enforcement action against e-cigarette manufacturers who make unsubstantiated or false claims in their advertising, including unproven assertions that their products help smokers of conventional cigarettes quit.

Products covered

Products that would fall under FDA regulation for the first time include e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, nicotine gels, waterpipe (or hookah) tobacco, and dissolvables.

Manufacturers would be required to:

  • Register with the FDA and report product and ingredient listings;
  • Only market new tobacco products after FDA review;
  • Only make direct and implied claims of reduced risk if the FDA confirms that scientific evidence supports the claim and that marketing the product will benefit public health as a whole; and
  • Not distribute free samples.

In addition, the newly regulated products would have to meet these provisions:

  • Minimum age and identification restrictions to prevent sales to underage youth;
  • Requirements to include health warnings; and
  • Prohibition of vending machine sales, unless in a facility that never admits youth.

Death and disease

“Tobacco remains the leading cause of death and disease in this country. This is an important moment for consumer protection and a significant proposal that if finalized as written would bring FDA oversight to many new tobacco products,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “Science-based product regulation is a powerful form of consumer protection that can help reduce the public health burden of tobacco use on the American public, including youth.”

The proposed rule will be available for public comment for 75 days. 

After years of delay, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued proposed new regulations for e-cigarettes, nicotine gels and and products that are...

Studies trace huge jump in e-cigarette advertising

Opponents worry young people are getting hooked on nicotine

Tobacco companies face tough restrictions when it comes to marketing cigarettes. Advertising for e-cigarettes, on the other hand, faces no such regulations. At least not yet.

Not surprisingly, e-cigarette advertising spending in the U.S. tripled in one year, according to a study by RTI International. The researchers found ad spending went from $6.4 million in 2011 to $18.3 million in 2012.

“E-cigarette advertising expenditures are focusing heavily on national markets and TV ads, which will likely increase consumer awareness and use of e-cigarettes,” said Annice Kim, Ph.D., senior social scientist at RTI and co-author of the study.

Most of the ad spending was for television and magazines. Newspapers and the Internet received the lowest share.

Gray area

At the moment, e-cigarettes fall into a regulatory gray area. A federal court has ruled that they are tobacco products, even though they contain no tobacco.

But while cigarettes are barred from television and radio advertising, and face other restrictions, e-cigarettes remain unregulated, even though the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is reportedly drafting proposed rules.

Many former smokers praise e-cigarettes as a means to quit. They say e-cigarettes provide many of the pleasures of smoking, with nicotine delivered through water vapor that can be inhaled.

While e-cigarettes lack many of the toxins found in tobacco smoke, some health advocates worry that e-cigarettes could have some negative health effects that aren't yet known. Meanwhile, they are being heavily advertised.

“Our results suggest that federal-level efforts are needed to track e-cigarette advertising, as the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does not currently require companies to report e-cigarette ad expenditures,” Kim said. “Tobacco companies are required to report their ad expenditures annually to the FTC, but there are no comparable reporting requirements for e-cigarette companies because e-cigarettes are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”

Congressional push

Eleven members of Congress released their own report this week, not only showing a spike in e-cigarette advertising but claiming the marketing efforts are aimed at young people.

“For years, federal regulations prohibiting tobacco companies from targeting young people have helped to protect a new generation of smokers from getting hooked on nicotine,” said Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL). “Now, we must close this new gateway to addiction to protect our children.”

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), said he sees parallels between past cigarette marketing and e-cigarette marketing.

“E-cigarette makers are starting to prey on kids, just like the big tobacco companies,” Waxman said. “With over a million youth now using e-cigarettes, FDA needs to act without further delay to stop the companies from marketing their addictive products to children.”

States taking action

Some states have not waited for the federal government to draft rules governing e-cigarettes. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear this week signed legislation that outlaws the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

The law addresses concerns that young people will be lured into using e-cigarettes and, as a result, will become addicted to nicotine. E-cigarette makers, meanwhile, are trying not to be seen as promoting use by young consumers.

One of the main cheerleaders for the new Kentucky law was Lorrilard, a major tobacco firm and parent company of the Blu e-cigarette brand.

"Legislation that prevents the sale or distribution of electronic cigarettes to minors is the right thing to do," said Murray Kessler, Lorillard's chairman and CEO, who attended the bill signing.

Kessler said Lorillard has actively supported age of purchase legislation in other states and encourages states that have not passed similar legislation to do so.

Concerns about cigarette marketing

A new study by Dartmouth researchers, meanwhile, raises new concerns about young people's exposure to advertising for traditional cigarettes. This exposure, the study argues, leads to increased use of tobacco.

“For several years, the emphasis in the tobacco industry has been on direct marketing, especially to young people who are highly price sensitive and who may find coupons, samples, and promotions appealing,” said Samir Soneji, a Dartmouth professor and lead author of the study.

The research team said it found exposure to tobacco coupons and websites increased the chances that a young person would start to smoke. Direct marketing includes coupons and ads sent through the mail or posted on the web, as well as in-store displays and signs.

In 2010, the tobacco industry spent $236 million in cigarette coupons and $22 million in Internet marketing, the study found.

Internet marketing proved particularly effective as some of it made its way to social media, widely used by teens and young adults.

Tobacco companies face tough restrictions when it comes to marketing cigarettes. Advertising e-cigarettes, on the other hand, face no such regulations. At ...

Study finds cancer risk in e-cig vapors

Changes in cells exposed to vapor are similar to those in cells exposed to tobacco smoke

Promoters of electronic cigarettes have been claiming that inhaling the vapor from e-cigs is less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes made from tobacco.

It sounds good but is it true? Maybe not.

A new study published in the academic journal Clinical Cancer Research finds that the vapor from e-cigarettes damages human cells in much the same way as the smoke from traditional cigarettes.

Scientists at Boston University grew a batch of human bronchial cells in the presence of e-cig vapor and another batch in the presence of tobacco smoke. The result: the two batches of cells showed similar patterns of gene expression, which can cause the mutations that lead to cancer.

Lead researcher Avrum Spira, M.D., said that while e-cigs may be safer than tobacco, "our preliminary studies suggest that they may not be benign." He said more research is needed.

"New route to ... addiction"

It's hardly the study to find potential problems with e-cigs. In March, a University of California San Francisco study found that e-cigs may be a new route to conventional smoking and nicotine addiction.

UCSF researchers found that adolescents who used the devices were more likely to smoke cigarettes and less likely to quit smoking. The study of nearly 40,000 youth around the country also found that e-cigarette use among middle and high school students doubled between 2011 and 2012, from 3.1 percent to 6.5 percent.

"Despite claims that e-cigarettes are helping people quit smoking, we found that e-cigarettes were associated with more, not less, cigarette smoking among adolescents,” said lead author Lauren Dutra, a postdoctoral fellow at the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.

“E-cigarettes are likely to be gateway devices for nicotine addiction among youth, opening up a whole new market for tobacco,” she said.

Poison control

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report finding a huge increase in the number of calls to poison centers involving e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine.

A CDC study published in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report says calls shot up from 1 per month in September 2010 to 215 per month this past February. And, the report says, the number of calls per month involving conventional cigarettes did not show a similar increase during the same time period.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) called the increase in poisoning cases "alarming" and said the report "should serve as a wake-up call to the American people that it is time for the FTC and the FDA to regulate these products to help prevent more tragedies."

"I am particularly concerned that many e-cigarettes are packaged in bright colors and flavored to smell like candy or fruit, which puts children at higher risk of poisoning," Boxer said.

Promoters of electronic cigarettes have been claiming that inhaling the vapor from e-cigs is less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes made from tob...

E-cigs linked to spike in calls to poison centers

CDC says more monitoring of nicotine exposure through e-cigarette liquid is needed

There's been a huge increase in the last few years in the number of calls to poison centers involving e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine.

A CDC study published in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report says calls shot up from 1 per month in September 2010 to 215 per month this past February. And, the report says, the number of calls per month involving conventional cigarettes did not show a similar increase during the same time period.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) called the increase in poisoning cases "alarming" and said the report "should serve as a wake-up call to the American people that it is time for the FTC and the FDA to regulate these products to help prevent more tragedies."

"I am particularly concerned that many e-cigarettes are packaged in bright colors and flavored to smell like candy or fruit, which puts children at higher risk of poisoning," Boxer said.

In February, Boxer introduced the Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act to prohibit the marketing of e-cigarettes to children and teens. 

The trade group for e-cigarette manufacturers, the Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA), said it supports stronger safety measures. In a statement, executive director Cynthia Cabrera said the manufacturers "support federal age restrictions on the purchase of vapor products, childproof caps and proper labeling to safeguard against accidental ingestion of e-liquid by minors or adults."

Kids at risk

More than half (51.1%) of the calls to poison centers due to e-cigarettes involved young children 5 years and under, and about 42% of the poison calls involved people age 20 and older.

The analysis, which compared total monthly poison center calls involving e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes, found the proportion of e-cigarette calls jumped from 0.3% in September 2010 to 41.7% in February 2014.

Poisoning from conventional cigarettes is generally due to young children eating them. Poisoning related to e-cigarettes involves the liquid containing nicotine used in the devices and can occur in three ways: by ingestion, inhalation or absorption through the skin or eyes.

“This report raises another red flag about e-cigarettes -- the liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes can be hazardous,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Use of these products is skyrocketing and these poisonings will continue. E-cigarette liquids as currently sold are a threat to small children because they are not required to be childproof, and they come in candy and fruit flavors that are appealing to children.”

A sweeping study

Data for this study came from the poison centers that serve the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories. The study examined all calls reporting exposure to conventional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or nicotine liquid used in e-cigarettes.

Poison centers reported 2,405 e-cigarette and 16,248 cigarette exposure calls from September 2010 to February 2014. The total number of poisoning cases is likely higher than reflected in this study, CDC says, because not all exposures might have been reported to poison centers.

“The most recent National Youth Tobacco Survey showed e-cigarette use is growing fast, and now this report shows e-cigarette related poisonings are also increasing rapidly,” said Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., Director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “Health care providers, e-cigarette companies and distributors, and the general public need to be aware of this potential health risk from e-cigarettes.”

The report shows that e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine have the potential to cause immediate adverse health effects and represent an emerging public health concern. That, according to CDC, makes developing strategies to monitor and prevent future poisonings critical.

There's been a huge increase in the last few years in the number of calls to poison centers involving e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine. A CDC study...

University of California study: e-cigs "new route" to nicotine addiction

Study found adolescents who use e-cigs are less likely to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes

Here's the latest chapter in the continuing debate over whether e-cigarettes are a cure or an affliction: a study from the University of California San Francisco that finds e-cigs may in fact be a new route to conventional smoking and nicotine addiction.

In what is said to be the first analysis of the relationship between e-cigarette use and smoking among adolescents in the United States, UCSF researchers found that adolescents who used the devices were more likely to smoke cigarettes and less likely to quit smoking. The study of nearly 40,000 youth around the country also found that e-cigarette use among middle and high school students doubled between 2011 and 2012, from 3.1 percent to 6.5 percent.

“Despite claims that e-cigarettes are helping people quit smoking, we found that e-cigarettes were associated with more, not less, cigarette smoking among adolescents,” said lead author Lauren Dutra, a postdoctoral fellow at the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.

“E-cigarettes are likely to be gateway devices for nicotine addiction among youth, opening up a whole new market for tobacco,” she said. The study was published online on March 6 in JAMA Pediatrics.

A trade group took issue with the study, saying it "is implying conclusions that simply aren't borne out by the data."

In a prepared statement, Cynthia Cabrera, Executive Director, Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA), said: "As the survey summary itself states, it wasn't designed to derive any insight about motivation or a possible causal relationship between use of e-cigarettes and combustible cigarettes. What the survey data does show is that cigarette smoking among teens has decreased." 

FDA action expected

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been considering regulations that could restrict advertising and sales of the popular battery-powered devices, which look like cigarettes and deliver an aerosol of nicotine and other chemicals.

Several states and cities, including New York and Los Angeles, have banned the use of e-cigs, generally treating them as though they were tobacco products. 

In Congress, five U.S. Senators introduced the "Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act" last month. It would  prohibit the marketing of e-cigs to children and teens. 

“We cannot risk undoing decades of progress in reducing youth smoking by allowing e-cigarette makers to target our kids,” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said. “This bill will help protect our children from an industry that profits from addiction.”

Manufacturers promote the devices as safer alternatives to cigarettes and as smoking cessation aids. They are sold in flavors such as chocolate and strawberry that are banned in conventional cigarettes because of their appeal to youth.

Cabrera denied that the e-cig industry is targeting children.

"Our industry does not sell or market to minors, and it is our view that no one under 18 should use electronic cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes and vaping products are intended strictly for adults who smoke cigarettes. We fully support limitations on the sale of these products to youth at retail to further reduce access to anyone under 18," she said.

Students studied

In the new UCSF study, the researchers examined survey data from middle and high school students who completed the National Youth Tobacco Survey in 2011 and 2012.

The authors found that the devices were associated with higher odds of progression from experimenting with cigarettes to becoming established cigarette smokers. Additionally, adolescents who smoked both conventional cigarettes and e-cigarettes smoked more cigarettes per day than non-e-cigarette users.

“It looks to me like the wild west marketing of e-cigarettes is not only encouraging youth to smoke them, but also it is promoting regular cigarette smoking among youth,” said senior author Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, UCSF professor of medicine and director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.

Contrary to advertiser claims that e-cigarettes can help consumers stop smoking conventional cigarettes, teenagers who used e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes were much less likely to have abstained from cigarettes in the past 30 days, 6 months, or year. At the same time, they were more likely to be planning to quit smoking in the next year than smokers who did not use e-cigarettes.

The new results are consistent with a similar study of 75,000 Korean adolescents published last year by UCSF researchers, which also found that adolescents who used e-cigarettes were less likely to have stopped smoking conventional cigarettes.

In combination, the two studies suggest that “e-cigarettes may contribute to nicotine addiction and are unlikely to discourage conventional cigarette smoking among youths,” said the scientists.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last year that the majority of adolescents who have ever smoked e-cigarettes also have smoked regular cigarettes. An estimated 1.78 million U.S. students have used the devices as of 2012, the CDC reported.

Here's the latest chapter in the continuing debate over whether e-cigarettes are a cure or an affliction: a study from the University of California San Fra...

Senate bill would restrict e-cigarette marketing to children and teens

E-cigs "a gateway to tobacco use," say the bill's sponsors

For years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been trying to decide what to do about e-cigarettes -- the electronic gadgets that vaporize nicotine, a process promoters say produces a healthier way of ingesting nicotine.

Apparently tired of waiting on the FDA, five U.S. Senators today introduced the "Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act" to prohibit the marketing of e-cigs to children and teens. 

“We cannot risk undoing decades of progress in reducing youth smoking by allowing e-cigarette makers to target our kids,” Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said. “This bill will help protect our children from an industry that profits from addiction.”

State and local jusidictions have also been stepping into the void left by the lack of action by the FDA. Earlier this week, a committee of the Los Angeles city council passed a measure that would treat e-cigs like tobacco cigarettes and subject them to the same restrictions. Before leaving office last year, ex-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed a bill outlawing e-cigs and plastic plates. 

Mass marketing techniques

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), another sponsor of the Senate measure, said e-cig makers are increasingly adopting mass marketing techniques previously used by tobacco companies to target children and teens.

"With fruit and candy flavors and glossy celebrity ads, e-cigarettes makers are undeniably targeting young people. Unfortunately, it’s working. We must take action now to prevent a new generation from walking down the dangerous path towards nicotine addiction,” Durbin said.

“When it comes to the marketing of e-cigarettes to children and teens, it’s ‘Joe Camel’ all over again," said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. "It is troubling that manufacturers of e-cigarettes – some of whom also make traditional cigarettes – are attempting to establish a new generation of nicotine addicts through aggressive marketing that often uses cartoons and sponsorship of music festivals and sporting events.” 

The other senators sponsoring the bill are Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.).

The Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act would permit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to determine what constitutes marketing to children, and would authorize the FTC to work with state attorneys general to enforce the ban.

The health implications of using electronic cigarettes are not yet clear, and the FDA has warned that consumers of e-cigarette products “currently have no way of knowing” if e-cigarettes are safe for their intended use, or how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled during use.

Gateway to tobacco

“E-cigarettes are a gateway to tobacco use by children and teens and should not be marketed to youth, period,” Sen. Markey said. “We’ve made great strides educating young people about the dangers of smoking, and we cannot allow e-cigarettes to snuff out the progress we’ve made preventing nicotine addiction and its deadly consequences."

According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, 1.8 million middle and high school students said they tried e-cigarettes in 2012, and a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the percentage of high school students who had tried them had more than doubled in just one year – indicating that e-cigarette companies could be targeting youth through advertisements.

More than 76 percent of those users said they also smoked conventional cigarettes, suggesting that for many young people, e-cigarettes could be a gateway to nicotine addiction and smoking of conventional cigarettes, the senators noted.

The bill has been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

In December, Senators Boxer, Blumenthal, Durbin, Harkin, Markey, and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) sent a letter urging the FTC to investigate the marketing practices of e-cigarette manufacturers.

For years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been trying to decide what to do about e-cigarettes -- the electronic gadgets that vaporize nico...

California man attempts e-cig lawsuit

Do they or don't they help tobacco smokers quit?

A California man named Eric McGovern is attempting to bring a class action suit against e-cig maker Njoy, on the grounds that e-cigs are allegedly not as harmless as they claim to be, and also that it is inconsistent regarding whether it does or does not help smokers give up the habit.

Courthouse News Service reports that McGovern's suit claims that e-cig vapor contains the “same impurities and the same cancer-causing agents as traditional cigarettes” (though the levels of such substances in tobacco smoke vs. e-cig vapor are not specified).

E-cigs are marketed as the less-harmful alternative to cigarette smoking, though this has not prevented criticism from those opposed to any use of nicotine, regardless of form. For example: last November, researchers at UC San Francisco released a report criticizing e-cigs for being “the new phase of the nicotine epidemic” and claiming that, instead of reducing the number of nicotine addicts (read: smokers of tobacco) in the world, e-cigs actually increase the number of nicotine addicts (read: inhalers of e-cig vapor).

However, traditional opposition to tobacco smoking was based not on opposition to nicotine use per se, but to the very real health risks that come from regularly inhaling pure tobacco smoke into your lungs. So the debate on whether e-cigs are good, bad or neutral could also be reframed as a debate over what, exactly, is bad about traditional cigarette smoking: is it bad only because of the harmfulness of the smoke? Or should we assume any use of nicotine is bad, even if smoke damage is removed from the equation?

The Courthouse News article about McGovern's lawsuit also reports this apparent non-sequitur:

Njoy touts e-cigarettes as a safe alternative by implying that its product is as safe as vegetables and plants that contain nicotine, McGovern says.

"In reality, a typical consumer would need to ingest, as an example, 244 grams of tomatoes to equal the amount of nicotine a passive smoker would absorb in about three hours in a room with a minimal amount of tobacco smoke," the 25-page lawsuit states.

Assuming this is accurate, it still conflates two different things: the question of whether nicotine-containing plants can safely be ingested is entirely different from the question of how many plants one must ingest specifically to get a certain dose of nicotine. (If cigarette addicts jonesing for a nicotine fix are in the habit of eating tomatoes instead, this trend has not yet received mainstream media coverage.)

And, of course, neither question addresses how much nicotine one might expect from a typical e-cig dose, let alone how much if any nicotine passive non-e-cig users could expect if they sat in a room with an e-cig user.

McGovern is being represented by Brian Chase, a personal injury lawyer out of Newport Beach.

A California man named Eric McGovern is attempting to bring a class action suit against e-cig maker Njoy...

Los Angeles may be next to restrict e-cigs

A proposed ordinance would treat them like traditional tobacco cigarettes

There doesn't seem to be much middle ground on electronic cigarettes; people either love them or hate them. And those who hate them tend to be in positions of power.

The Los Angeles city council is the latest to consider outlawing the gadgets. A pending ordinance would basically treat e-cigs as though they were traditional, tobacco-burning cigarettes, outlawing them in public places.

The proposed ordinance made it through a committee on Monday and is now headed to the full city council. The committee acted after hearing from Los Angeles County's public health director, Jonathan Fielding, who said the e-cigs tend to make smoking socially acceptable, encouraging young people to take up smoking.

"We don't want to risk e-cigarettes undermining a half century of successful tobacco control," he said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Opponents of the measure say it would simply drive smokers back to tobacco.

Promoters of e-cigs argue that they are much safer than traditional cigarettes, which release nicotine as a byproduct of burning tobacco, a process that releases deadly tars into the lungs of smokers and those nearby. 

E-cigarettes electrically heat nicotine, releasing it as vapor, giving users their nicotine fix without the dangerous tars and minus the fire hazards of traditional cigarettes.

But a study released late last year disputed the contention that e-cigs are an effective way to keep teens from taking up the smoking habit.

UC San Francisco researchers said last November that the youths they studied using e-cigarettes were more likely to be trying to quit, but also were less likely to have stopped smoking and were smoking more, not less.

"We are witnessing the beginning of a new phase of the nicotine epidemic and a new route to nicotine addiction for kids," according to senior author Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, UCSF professor of medicine and director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UCSF.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that the majority of adolescent e-cigarette users also smoke regular cigarettes, and that the percentage of middle and high school students who use e-cigarettes more than doubled from 2011 to 2012. An estimated 1.78 million U.S. students had used the devices as of 2012, said the CDC.

There doesn't seem to be much middle ground on electronic cigarettes; people either love them or hate them. And those who hate them tend to be in positions...

Tobacco giant Altria buying e-cig maker Green Smoke

Big Tobacco expands its beachhead in the "vaping" business

Tobacco giant Altria Group, Inc., is buying the e-cigarette business of Green Smoke, Inc., for about $110 million, the latest in a series of moves by big tobacco companies to stake a claim in the electronic cigarette business.

It also is the latest example of Big Tobacco's strategy to re-christen e-cigs as "e-vapor" products, in an effort to escape some of the stigma associated with cigarettes. The corporatespeak apparatchiks also prefer the verb "vaping" as opposed to "smoking." 

“Nu Mark’s entry into the e-vapor category with its MarkTen product was an important development in Altria’s innovation strategy. Adding Green Smoke’s significant e-vapor expertise and experience, along with its supply chain, product lines and customer service, will complement Nu Mark’s capabilities and enhance its competitive position,” said Marty Barrington, Altria’s Chairman and CEO. 

Green Smoke was founded in 2008 and has operations in the United States and Israel. Green Smoke has sold e-cigs since 2009, mostly in the U.S. Green Smoke's product lines, which are sold under the Green Smoke e-vapor brand, include both rechargeable and disposable versions.

Up in smoke

Tobacco companies have faced declining sales in the U.S. for years although sales remain strong in some international markets. Altria, based in Richmond, Va., has increased market share for Marlboro and some of its other brands through aggressive pricing.

Altria said last year that it would seek an entry into the e-cigarette business was it became clear that the electroinc devices were beginning to erode sales of traditional cigarettes.

Other major tobacco companies have also gotten into the e-vapor business. Lorillard, which makes Newport cigarettes, bought the blu e-cig brand in 2012. It is currently the top e-cig seller in the U.S.  Reynolds, which makes Camels, launched its Vuse brand last year.

E-cigs work by heating nicotine-laced liquir into vapor. Their adherents say they are more healthful than tobacco products and can be an aid to those trying to quit smoking. Critics say they encourage smoking and charge that their health effects are unknown.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has for years been saying that it is about to issue regulations for e-cigarettes but has not yet done so, leaving them unregulated except in a few cities where their public use has been outlawed.

Tobacco giant Altria Group, Inc., is buying the e-cigarette business of Green Smoke, Inc., for about $110 million, the latest in a series of moves by big t...

Fingerprint scan can block unauthorized use of your e-cigarette

Vapor X uses biometics to keep the device locked for everyone except the authorized user

Back in the day, people might try to bum a cigarette off you, which was basically no big deal. But with today's electronic cigarettes, it's a different story.

While some e-cigs are disposable, the high-end models can get fairly pricey, so it's something you want to nail down if at all possible.

Vapor Corp. introduced its solution to the problem at the Consumer Electronics Show yesterday -- the Vapor X personalized vaporizer.

The Vapor X, with patent-pending fingerprint lock technology, will incorporate biometric technologies to keep the device locked and turned off unless the authorized user is present.

When first purchased, Vapor X will require an authorized user to be assigned through a fingerprint scan. Once assigned, that user is the only person who can activate the device and start vaping away. This will not only protect against minors being able to turn on the device, but it will render the device useless in the case of theft.

"Much like the fitness mobile app technology we have seen gain recent popularity, vaporizer users will soon be able to download their 'vaping' statistics through a corresponding mobile application in order to track exactly how often they use the device," said Kevin Frija, CEO of Vapor Corp.

Back in the day, people might try to bum a cigarette off you, which was basically no big deal. But with today's electronic cigarettes, it's a different sto...

New e-cig ad pushes the line: Friends don't let friends smoke but vaping is OK

2014 is expected to be the Year of the E-cig, as manufacturers race regulators to the wire

Friends don't let friends drive drunk. And now, a new ad campaign tells us they don't let them smoke either. Ah, but there's a catch, as the NJoy ad has it: Friends do let friends vape. 

"For everything friends do for each other," a voiceover says. "This new year return the favor. Friends don't let friends smoke. Give them the only electronic cigarette worth switching to: the NJoy King." It concludes with the tagline: "Cigarettes, you've met your match."

Marketers are expecting 2014 to be the Year of the E-cig, as Big Tobacco moves into the business in a big way. And the NJoy ad takes more than a few leaves from Big Tobacco's playbook. 

Most obviously, it glorifies vaping, just as the Marlboro Man, before he succumbed to lung cancer, epitomized the rugged outdoorsish qualities of Marlboros.

It also comes tantalizingly close to making health claims for e-cigs, which could get a not-so-pleasant reaction from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other agencies that regulate advertising, since the clear implication of the NJoy ad is that puffing away on an e-cig is healthier than smoking a traditional tobacco cigarette. 

Story continues below video

It's illegal to make health claims that are not substantiated by scientifically sound evidence, which so far is somewhat scant in the case of electronic cigarettes. The NJoy ad is playing the same game Big Tobacco played for years, before broadcast tobacco advertising was finally banned altogether -- surrounding its products with happy, healthy, spirited young people.  

"We do not advertise e-cigs as a smoking cessation device," a company spokesman said in a statement to AdAge, an advertising trade journal. "However, a unique aspect of the NJOY video is that we are appealing to the friends & loved ones of smokers -- asking them to leverage the fundamental connection and emotional bond of love that bring us all together and strengthens our trust/intimacy. Everyone can identify with the desire to help our friends & loved ones become the best versions of themselves, and goal (especially in the new year!) to strive to be better versions of ourselves."

Whether that statement cuts much ice with regulators remains to be seen. Probably the exclamation mark won't help too much.

Big bucks

Just to be clear, the e-cig industry is not in this for its health, or anyone else's. Big bucks are at stake. E-cig sales are expected to hit $1.7 billion this year, assuming the FDA doesn't shut the market down or severely curtail it.

The agency has said for more than a year that it is considering new e-cig marketing regulations, possibly including new rules on television advertising, although an outright ad ban may not be in the cards without Congressional action.

Tobacco TV commercials have been banned for 40 years but the tobacco companies worked to build their brand identities before the ban took effect, and most of the major brands have survived to this day on the basis of history, habit and other forms of advertising and promotion.

Big Tobacco -- Altria, Reynolds American and Lorillard -- have waded into the e-cig market in a big way and are expected to use the same technique to build their electronic brands before the government bestirs itself.

Tired of waiting for the feds, New Jersey, North Dakota and Utah, among others, have already banned vaping indoors. As one of his final acts, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg signed a similar measure. But the states and cities have no effective way to control national advertising, so the indoor vaping bans are, at the most, petty annoyances to the e-cig industry. 

Friends don't let friends drive drunk. And now, a new ad campaign tells us they don't let them smoke either. Ah, but there's a catch, as the NJoy ad h...

E-cigs a "new phase of the nicotine epidemic," study finds

Rather than a way to stop, e-cigs are "a new route to nicotine addiction for kids"

Promoters of e-cigarettes like to claim the devices are a good way to quit smoking, but a new study finds that they are more likely to get young people hooked on nicotine, causing them to smoke more, not less.

In the study, said to be the first of its kind, UC San Francisco researchers said the youths they studied using e-cigarettes were more likely to be trying to quit, but also were less likely to have stopped smoking and were smoking more, not less.

"We are witnessing the beginning of a new phase of the nicotine epidemic and a new route to nicotine addiction for kids," according to senior author Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, UCSF professor of medicine and director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UCSF.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that look like cigarettes and deliver an aerosol of nicotine and other chemicals. Promoted as safer alternatives to cigarettes and smoking cessation aids, e-cigarettes are rapidly gaining popularity among adults and youth in the United States and around the world. The devices are largely unregulated, with no effective controls on marketing them to minors.

In the UCSF study, the researchers assessed e-cigarette use among youth in Korea, where the devices are marketed much the way they are in the U.S. The study analyzed smoking among some 75,000 Korean youth.

The study appears online in the current issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

"Our paper raises serious concern about the effects of the Wild West marketing of e-cigarettes on youth," said Glantz.

Penetrating youth market

Despite industry claims that it markets only to adults, e-cigarettes have achieved substantial penetration into the youth market.

In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that the majority of adolescent e-cigarette users also smoke regular cigarettes, and that the percentage of middle and high school students who use e-cigarettes more than doubled from 2011 to 2012. An estimated 1.78 million U.S. students had used the devices as of 2012, said the CDC.

In the UCSF study, the researchers report that four out of five Korean adolescent e-cigarette users are "dual" smokers who use both tobacco and e-cigarettes.

The authors conclude that young e-cigarette smokers "are more likely to have tried quitting smoking, which suggests that, consistent with cigarette marketing messages, some youth may be using e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid…Use of e-cigarettes is associated with heavier use of conventional cigarettes, which raises the likelihood that actual use of e-cigarettes may increase harm by creating a new pathway for youth to become addicted to nicotine and by reducing the odds that an adolescent will stop smoking conventional cigarettes."

Promoters of e-cigarettes like to claim the devices are a good way to quit smoking, but a new study finds that they are more likely to get young people hoo...

Online companies scam e-cigarette users, suit charges

Class-action suit in Illinois against Vapor Corp. and Global Vapor

If you’re an e-cigarette user who’s bought supplies from Vapor Corp. or Global Vapor Partners, which includes the brands Smoker 51, Krave, Green Puffer, VaporX, and EZ-Smoker, you might want to take a close look at your credit card statements — and, possibly, talk to an attorney.

Courthouse News Service reports that Vapor Corp. and Global Vapor are being sued for fraud in Cook County, Ill. The class-action suit, headed by lead plaintiff Jean-Francois Patterson, claims that the companies have not only been imposing fraudulent credit card charges – up to $100 per month for customers who only ever authorized an initial $4.95 shipping fee – but also made misleading claims on its websites.

Patterson claims that “"Vapor Corp. and GVP are careful to bury mention of the initial trial charges or the monthly charges in the Terms & Conditions, which never appear on the same page as the free trial offer. Defendants also obscure mention of these fees through the use of flashy graphics and misleading statements that tell consumers that they 'just pay shipping and handling' and that the 'Total' price for starter kit is '0.00' with a shipping and handling fee of '4.95.'”

However, customers who return the products are charged a $10 “restocking fee” and not refunded shipping costs, which means that under no circumstance does a “free” trial actually cost the consumer zero dollars, the lawsuit alleges.

The Better Business Bureau gives the company an F rating. We’ll admit we found no other scam reports when we did an online search for “Global Vapor Partners” – but then, our search on Nov. 27 brought back only three pages of any Google results, including the company’s own websites and the recent Courthouse News story.

Here’s a general rule for safely shopping on the Internet: you should definitely avoid a company whose search results yield page after page of scam complaints — but you should also avoid a company whose search results yield hardly anything at all.

If you’re an e-cigarette user who’s bought supplies from Vapor Corp. or Global Vapor Partners, which includes the brands Smoker 51, Krave, Gree...

Young smokers move toward E-cigarettes, hookahs

Increased monitoring and prevention may be needed

Kids have been told for generations that cigarettes are no good for them. So, what are middle- and high-school students doing? According to a report in Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, they're looking to so-called “emerging tobacco products” such as e-cigarettes and hookahs.

Data from the 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) show that recent electronic cigarette use rose among middle school students from 0.6% in 2011 to 1.1% last year, and among high school students from 1.5% to 2.8%. Hookah use among high school students rose from 4.1% to 5.4% during the same period.

Marketing may be a factor

The report speculates that the increase in the use of e-cigarettes and hookahs could be due to an increase in marketing, availability, and visibility of these tobacco products and the perception that they may be safer alternatives to cigarettes.

Electronic cigarettes, hookahs, cigars and certain other new types of tobacco products are not currently subject to FDA regulation. However, the agency has said it intends to issue a proposed rule that would deem products meeting the statutory definition of a "tobacco product" to be subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Cigar smoking worrisome

Another area of concern in the report is the increase in cigar use among certain groups of middle and high school students. During 2011-2012, cigar use increased dramatically among non-Hispanic black high school students from 11.7% to 16.7%, and has more than doubled since 2009. Further, cigar use among high school males in 2012 was 16.7%, similar to cigarette use among high school males (16.3%).

“This report raises a red flag about newer tobacco products,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Cigars and hookah tobacco are smoked tobacco -- addictive and deadly. We need effective action to protect our kids from addiction to nicotine.”

The cigars category includes little cigars, many of which look almost exactly like cigarettes but are more affordable to teens because they are taxed at lower rates and can be sold individually, rather than by the pack. Little cigars also can be made with fruit and candy flavors that are banned from cigarettes. A CDC study published last month showed more than one in three (35.9%) middle and high school students who smoke cigars use flavored little cigars.

Kids at risk

“A large portion of kids who use tobacco are smoking products other than cigarettes, including cigars and hookahs, which are similarly dangerous,” said Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “As we close in on the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s report on the dangers of smoking, we need to apply the same strategies that work to prevent and reduce cigarette use among our youth to these new and emerging products.”

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, killing more than 1,200 people every day. More than 8 million people live with a smoking-related disease. Each day, more than 2,000 youth and young adults become daily smokers. Smoking-related diseases cost $96 billion a year in direct health care expenses, much of which come in taxpayer-supported payments.

Kids have been told for generations that cigarettes are no good for them. So, what are middle- and high-school students doing? According to a report in Cen...

E-cig lobbyists working to head off new regulations

FDA is expected to issue proposed new regulations by Oct. 31

With new regulations looming, lobbyists for the electronic cigarette industry are heading to Capitol Hill, hoping to persuade lawmakers that the combustion-free devices shouldn't be treated like tobacco products.

“While our industry understands reasonable and appropriate regulation is needed, it is vital our young industry not be grouped with combustible cigarettes as federal guidelines are developed for these products," said Cynthia Cabrera, Executive Director of the Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA). "Excessive regulation could limit adult access to e-cigs and stifle growth and innovation in the segment.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set an Oct. 31 deadline to issue a proposed rule that would expand its oversight of e-cigs. In response, Cabrera's group has summoned its members to Washington for a "day on the Hill" Nov. 4 and 5.

Trade associations for industries under pressure from the feds traditionally round up their members and bring them to D.C. to meet and greet lawmakers and their staffs, hoping to portray themselves as vital cogs in the economy and loyal supporters of their Congressional members.

Law being "misapplied"

Besides arguing the merits, if any, of e-cigs the group will be arguing that the law under which the FDA is issuing the new regulations -- the 2009 Tobacco Control Act -- doesn't give it the authority to do so.

"This law gave the FDA authority over cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco, and has been misapplied to allow the agency to expand its oversight to additional products, such as electronic cigarettes," Cabrera's group said in a press release.

The FDA has reportedly completed the drafting of its regulation and submitted it to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review by OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).

FDA has been saying for at least the last two years that it intends to include electronic cigarettes under its authority and it has come under increasing criticism from anti-smoking groups and some lawmakers for the plodding pace at which it has proceeded. In April, five senators, all Democrats, wrote to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, urging the agency to make haste.

“Unlike traditional tobacco products, e-cigarettes can be legally sold to children and are not subject to age verification laws,” the senators wrote. “E-cigarettes marketed to appeal to kids in candy and fruit flavors, like bubblegum and strawberry, are readily available to youth in shopping malls and online. These products risk addicting children to nicotine, which could be a pathway to cigarettes and other tobacco products.”

In a news release, SFATA said it is "encouraging the FDA and elected officials to refer to research established by credible health professionals who offer scientific evidence proving that e-cigarettes are a reliable, adult alternative to combustible cigarettes." It didn't cite any such evidence iin its release, however. 

With new regulations looming, lobbyists for the electronic cigarette industry are heading to Capitol Hill, hoping to persuade lawmakers that the combustion...

Attorneys general press FDA to ban the sale of e-cigarette to minors

The AGs also want the FDA to regulate the ingredients and advertising of e-cigs

The attorneys general of 40 states today urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and to regulate ingredients and advertising of the popular new products, which the AGs said are highly addictive.

The FDA has been studying the issue for more than a year and is expected to issue regulations shortly.

In a letter to the FDA, the 40 attorneys general called on the agency to take all available measures to regulate e-cigarettes as “tobacco products” under the Tobacco Control Act. E-cigs are battery-operated products that heat liquid nicotine, turning it into a vapor that is inhaled by the user.

Unlike traditional tobacco products, there are no federal age restrictions that would prevent children from obtaining e-cigarettes but the AGs say there should be. They urged the FDA to protect teens and children from becoming addicted to nicotine, citing a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey that showed the percentages of youth who have tried or currently use e-cigarettes roughly doubled from 2011 to 2012.

The survey estimated that in 2012 nearly 1.8 million middle and high school students had tried e-cigarettes.

"Deceptive health claims"

“It’s widely known that most adult smokers start smoking at an early age, in part because manufacturers and advertisers have historically targeted young consumers with flashy marketing campaigns and deceptive health claims,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. “We’re seeing the same tactics at work in the e-cigarette industry. The FDA needs to put a stop to this before more teens take up this dangerous habit.”

The AGs' letter noted that e-cigarette manufacturers are using celebrity endorsements, television advertising, cartoons, attractive packaging and cheap prices to encourage young people to try e-cigs.

Some marketing, they said, has included claims that e-cigs do not contain the same level of toxins and carcinogens found in traditional cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products.

"These claims imply that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to smoking, when in fact nicotine is highly addictive, the health effects of e-cigarettes have not been adequately studied, and the ingredients are not regulated and may still contain carcinogens," Madigan said. "The lack of regulation puts the public at risk because users of e-cigarettes are inhaling unknown chemicals with unknown effects."

In 1998, the attorneys general of 52 states and territories signed a landmark agreement with the country’s four largest tobacco companies to recover billions of dollars in costs associated with smoking-related illnesses and restrict cigarette advertising to prevent youth smoking.

 Attorney General Lisa Madigan today urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and to regulate ingre...

Teens flock to e-cigs, usage more than doubles in one year

More than 75% of teen e-cig users smoke conventional cigarettes too

Manufacturers of electronic cigarettes -- or e-cigs -- like to say the devices help smokers quit while also dissuading non-smokers from taking up the tobacco-smoking habit.

But data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest the claims may be a smokescreen. The percentage of U.S. middle and high school students who use e-cigarettes more than doubled from 2011 to 2012, according to the findings from the National Youth Tobacco Survey.

The survey is likely to provide ammunition to critics who say the federal government is not moving quickly enough to regulate the e-cigs. In April, five U.S. Senators wrote to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, urging her agency to issue regulations for the devices. The letter was signed by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Il.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Oh.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.). 

The FDA has left no doubt it intends to regulate e-cigs. The only questions are when and how.

“These data show a dramatic rise in usage of e-cigarettes by youth, and this is cause for great concern as we don’t yet understand the long-term effects of these novel tobacco products,” said Mitch Zeller, director of FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “These findings reinforce why the FDA intends to expand its authority over all tobacco products and establish a comprehensive and appropriate regulatory framework to reduce disease and death from tobacco use.” 

Britian began regulating e-cigs in June, treating them as non-prescription medicine, allowing them to be sold widely by retailers but empowering the government to enforce quality and purity standards.  

The CDC survey found that the percentage of high school students who reported ever using an e-cigarette rose from 4.7 percent in 2011 to 10.0 percent in 2012. In the same time period, high school students using e-cigarettes within the past 30 days rose from 1.5 percent to 2.8 percent.  Use also doubled among middle school students. 

Altogether, in 2012 more than 1.78 million middle and high school students nationwide had tried e-cigarettes. 

Lifelong addiction

"The increased use of e-cigarettes by teens is deeply troubling," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.  "Nicotine is a highly addictive drug.  Many teens who start with e-cigarettes may be condemned to struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes."

The study also found that 76.3 percent of middle and high school students who used e-cigarettes within the past 30 days also smoked conventional cigarettes in the same period.

In addition, 1 in 5 middle school students who reported ever using e-cigarettes say they have never tried conventional cigarettes. This raises concern that there may be young people for whom e-cigarettes could be an entry point to use of conventional tobacco products, including cigarettes.  

“About 90 percent of all smokers begin smoking as teenagers,” said Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC Office on Smoking and Health.  “We must keep our youth from experimenting or using any tobacco product. These dramatic increases suggest that developing strategies to prevent marketing, sales, and use of e-cigarettes among youth is critical.” 

No proof

Although some e-cigarettes have been marketed as smoking cessation aids, there is no conclusive scientific evidence that e-cigarettes promote successful long-term quitting, the FDA noted. However, there are proven cessation strategies and treatments, including counseling and FDA-approved cessation medications.

Cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of dis­ease, dis­ability, and death in the United States, responsible for an estimated 443,000 deaths each year.  And for every one death, there are 20 people living with a smoking-related disease.  To quit smoking, free help is available at 1-800-QUIT NOW or www.cdc.gov/tips.

Manufacturers of electronic cigarettes -- or e-cigs -- like to say the devices help smokers quit while also dissuading non-smokers from taking up the tobac...

Cancer researchers want more e-cigarette study

But some concede this smoking substitute could prove beneficial

Major tobacco companies are showing enthusiastic interest in electronic, or e-cigarettes. And why not? These devices deliver the nicotine in a flavored vapor instead of smoke. To a large extent they are unregulated and untaxed.

Tobacco, on the other hand, is both highly regulated and heavily taxed. Most public areas now forbid cigarette smoking. That's not true, however, for e-cigarettes and may be one reasons smokers have been spending billions of dollars to buy them. It allows them to enjoy many of the pleasures of smoking in places where they can't light up a cigarette.

In June, Altria Group announced plans to introduce an e-cigarette called the Mark Ten. Reynolds American has already developed its line of e-cigarettes while Lorillard got into the business by acquiring an existing brand of e-cigarettes, Blu.

Increasing scrutiny

With the nation's three largest tobacco companies getting into the business of e-cigarettes, regulators and health researchers are taking a closer look. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is said to be preparing regulations for this new product, a move welcomed by some in the industry.

Meanwhile, the public interest health groups that have waged a long, hard war against tobacco are now viewing the booming sale of e-cigarettes with growing unease.

“The growing use of e-cigarettes and the unproven health claims being made about them underscore the need for the Food and Drug Administration to quickly assert authority over all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes,” Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a February 2013 statement. “The FDA announced in December 2010 that it intended to do so, but over two years later, it has yet to act.”

It takes time to draft regulations, as well as conduct comprehensive health studies on these products. To date, that data isn't available. At the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, cancer prevention experts Paul Cinciripini, Ph.D., director of the Tobacco Treatment Program, and Alexander Prokhorov, M.D., Ph.D., head of the Tobacco Outreach Education Program, caution that more research is needed to understand the potential role of e-cigarettes in smoking cessation.

Potential benefit

“Independent studies must rigorously investigate e-cigarettes, as there’s considerable potential benefit in these products if they’re regulated and their safety is ensured,” Cinciripini said. “But promoting the e-cigarettes already on the shelves as ‘safe’ is misleading and, if looked at as a harmless alternative to cigarettes, could potentially lead to a new generation of smokers more likely to become tobacco dependent.”

E-cigarettes are nicotine delivery vehicles, pure and simple. If a consumer is already hooked on nicotine, makers of e-cigarettes say their product is a safer way to get that nicotine fix than lighting up a cigarettes, which contains about 6,000 other chemicals besides nicotine.

Unlike anti-tobacco activists who pretty much view e-cigarettes as a threat, Cinciripini and Prokhorov don't rule out e-cigarettes as an effective and valuable tool to help people give up tobacco. But the problem, they say, is the unknowns. E-cigarettes might be safe, but no one really knows.

What users should know

Before using an e-cigarette, these researchers say consumers should understand that they are not yet regulated and there has been little research done on their effectiveness as a smoking-cessation tool. Consumers might be better off, they say, sticking to approved methods to quit smoking.

Even so, they say e-cigarettes might eventually prove to be a safe and effective alternatives to smoking.

“Reduced exposure to harmful chemicals warrants research of these products as a smoking cessation vehicle,” Cinciripini said.

But there could also be a downside. Branded as “safer,” marketed in a variety of colors and flavors and promoted by celebrities, Prokhorov and Cinciripini worry that e-cigarettes could become a hook for future smokers.

“E-cigarettes are a novel way to introduce tobacco smoking to young people, and their potential ‘gateway’ role should be a concern for parents and health officials alike,” Prokhorov said.

Major tobacco companies are showing enthusiastic interest in electronic, or e-cigarettes. And why not? These devices deliver the nicotine in a flavored vap...

E-cigarette 'free trial' offer burns some consumers up

Very few free trials are really free

Millions of smokers worldwide have begun to embrace the electronic cigarette – or e-cig – as a way to wean themselves off tobacco. Some who have taken advantage of a “free trial” offer from a website selling the devices have reported bad experiences.

Free trial offers hardly ever work out well for a consumer. The company entices you with the free sample of their product, but requires you to supply credit card information so that you can pay a small shipping and handling charge. Many consumers see this as a good deal. It isn't.

Once a company has your credit card information, it can place other charges on your account as well. Free trial offers usually have very stringent terms. By accepting the sample you agree to place a full order – sometimes a full order each month. You can avoid the full charge only by cancelling within the required period of time.

Free samples rarely turn out well

In the past this marketing technique has been used on all sorts of products, from dietary supplements to teeth whiteners. Now a company, e-cig.com, is using it to market its e-cigarettes.

“My husband got their original sample for a S&H charge and now they keep charging my account for $80,” Lorraine, of Westford, Mass., wrote in a ConsumerAffairs post. “Tried to talk to someone and could not understand her and she would not give us to someone else. I finally got the return address and she continued to try to sell me the cigarettes. I spent 45 minutes on the phone trying to resolve this. They also did no good for my husband. Frustrated. Still don't know if we are out the money.”

John, of Bassett, Va., says he was charged $109 after ordering the free trial. He was confused so he called.

“They said I had 14 days to try product,” John writes. “Their 14 days started from the minute free tryout was ordered, not the five days later when it was received, so over one-third of the free tryout was expired before product was received. I called the company and received a runaround about the 14 days, basically my problem. I tried to go up the food chain and listened again to the canned answers. Finally they agreed to refund me $40.00 of the $109 then hung up. Fifteen minutes later, the original rep called me back and said they would be raising the refund to $59.00. They will still be retaining $50.00 of mine for nothing.”

Raymond, of Irving, Tex., said he ordered the product and was told he just had to pay the shipping charge. He thought he understood the terms.

Communication break-down

“I called to cancel future orders,” he writes. “I told two different people that I wanted to cancel and not receive any other charges. They kept telling me they were extending the trial period to July 2nd, 2013. I kept asking why - no clarity in answering my question. I told them over and over I did not want to be charged. They said they would not charge me. I just looked at my account today and much to my surprise, there is a charge for $19.95.”

Raymond says he is filing a complaint with the Texas Attorney General.

Generally, consumers should avoid accepting a free trial offer. In most cases there are just too many strings attached. While many companies comply with the law and post the terms and conditions of the trial, consumers don't always read them and in some cases they can be hard to find.

What to do

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires companies engaging in “negative option” marketing – in which a sale is presumed to have occurred unless the consumer takes action to cancel it – to state the terms in a “clear and conspicuous” manner. Consumers can avoid many of the hassles and headaches associated with negative option marketing by not accepting any free trial offer.

Instead, simply purchase the smallest package of the product at the regular price. If you don't like the product, don't buy it again. Simple as that.

Millions of smokers worldwide have begun to embrace the electronic cigarette – or e-cigarette – as a way to wean themselves off tobacco. Some w...

Britain will enforce quality and purity of e-cigarettes

The popular nicotine delivery devices will be treated as over-the-counter drug products

Britain has decided to regulate electronic cigarettes, treating them as non-prescription medicine. That means the popular e-cigs will still be widely sold in convenience stores and elsewhere but the government will enforce quality and purity regulations, just as it does with aspirin, sinus remedies and other widely sold products.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been studying the matter and is expected to issue regulations one of these days, but more than 300 years after the Revolution, things move a bit more slowly on this side of the pond.

The decision was announced today by the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which said it wanted to ensure that e-cigs "are safe, are of the right quality and work."  

Consistent quality

"Reducing the harms of smoking to smokers and those around them is a key government health priority. Our research has shown that existing electronic cigarettes and other nicotine containing products on the market are not good enough to meet this public health priority," Jeremy Mean, the MHRA’s Group Manager of Vigilance and Risk Management of Medicines, said.

“The decision announced today provides a framework that will enable good quality products to be widely available. It’s not about banning products that some people find useful, it’s about making sure that smokers have an effective alternative that they can rely on to meet their needs," Mean said.

The FDA's efforts to regulate e-cigarettes have bean hampered by a court decision that grew out of a 2010 effort by the agency to ban the devices, which deliver nicotine vapor without using tobacco.

In December 2010 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled the FDA's attempt to classify e-cigarettes as drug delivery systems was incorrect. Instead, the court found that e-cigarettes were tobacco products, even though they contain no tobacco.

The FDA declined to appeal the ruling but has served notice that it might propose rules that would, in fact, regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products. 

Howls of protest

Any talk of banning or regulating the use of the devices brings howls of protest from their users and manufacturers, who say the products are safe and do not emit fumes harmful to bystanders, unlike cigarettes.

Just a few days ago, R.J. Reynolds Co. jumped into the fray and announced it would launch a TV advertising campaign for its new e-cig brand, Vuse. TV ads for cigarettes have not been seen since 1971, when they were banned by Congress. Other large tobacco companies are also getting into the business in other countries and are expected to do so here, if the FDA permits it.

They're not cigarettes and they don't contain tobacco, so the ban shouldn't be a problem, is essentially the message R.J. Reynolds seems to be sending. Its initial marketing effort is restricted to Colorado.

It's not just the U.S. and Britain that have been trying to figure out what to do about the devices.  Brazil, Norway and Singapore have banned them outright while others have limited advertising and curbed the practice of "vaping" -- as adherents call it -- in public places.

Much safer

While some health authorities are dubious about the safety of e-cigs, the  MHRA's chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, made it clear she regards them as much safer than cigarettes.

“Smokers are harmed by the deadly tar and toxins in tobacco smoke, not the nicotine," she said. “While it’s best to quit completely, I realize that not every smoker can and it is much better to get nicotine from safer sources such as nicotine replacement therapy.

“More and more people are using e-cigarettes, so it’s only right these products are properly regulated to be safe and work effectively,” Dame Sallay said.

Unlike the U.S., where health and consumer advocates generally oppose wider use of e-cigs, the MHRA's decision is being greeted positively in the U.K. 

The non-profit public health group ASH said it "strong supports" the decision. 

"We think this is both proportionate and necessary," said Deborah Arnott, the group's chief executive. "Regulation will ensure that e-cigarettes meet the same standards for quality, safety and efficacy as medicines while remaining as readily available to smokers as they are today."

A physician's group, the General Council at the Royal College of General Practitioners, also said it was on board with the plan.

"The RCGP supports MHRA regulation of novel nicotine products such as e-cigarettes as this will ensure that they are of good quality and reliability and are effective in helping smokers who want to use them to cut down and quit,” Dr. Clare Gerada, the group's chair, said.

The MHRA's new rules don't go fully into effect until 2016.

Britain has decided to regulate electronic cigarettes, treating them as non-prescription medicine. That means the popular e-cigs will still be widely sold ...

Lawmakers question pace of e-cigarette regulations

Some states have begun to consider their own rules as feds move slowly

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) served notice some time ago that it will probably regulate electronic cigarettes but has yet to take the first step.

The FDA said it was preparing proposed regulations in 2011 but none appeared. It said the same thing the following year with the same results. Earlier this year it suggested a proposal would be offered in April.

Now the agency is coming under pressure from some lawmakers to get the process rolling. Five U.S. Senators have written to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, urging her agency to issue "deeming regulations" for the increasingly popular devices that some smokers have adopted in place of cigarettes.

The letter was signed by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Il.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Oh.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.). They note that the number of people who have used e-cigarettes has doubled since 2010 but, to date, the nicotine delivery devices are currently not required to be evaluated or approved by the FDA.

Can currently be marketed to children

“Unlike traditional tobacco products, e-cigarettes can be legally sold to children and are not subject to age verification laws,” the Senators wrote. “E-cigarettes marketed to appeal to kids in candy and fruit flavors, like bubblegum and strawberry, are readily available to youth in shopping malls and online. These products risk addicting children to nicotine, which could be a pathway to cigarettes and other tobacco products.”

Earlier this month the CEO of an e-cigarette company also endorsed some regulation of his industry by the FDA. Eli Alelov, CEO of LOGIC Technology, told ConsumerAffairs that he wants to see manufacturing standards and age restrictions.

“I support raising the bar for the industry,” Alelov said. “Right now my biggest enemy is not the FDA, it's these 'me too' brands that come into the market with cheap electronic cigarettes, trying to make a buck, and they're putting lousy products on the market. That's hurting the entire industry.”

Alelov's company makes e-cigarettes in only two flavors – tobacco and menthol. He says the wide variety of fruit flavored e-cigarettes offered by other companies don't appeal to people who smoke cigarettes, but instead appeal to young people who don't smoke.

'Reasonable regulation'

The general counsel of FIN Branding Group LLC, another e-cigarette company, is also calling for "reasonable regulation."

"As the electronic cigarette industry continues to grow, it is important to work with stakeholders, including the FDA, to better understand how new regulations might alter our industry," said FIN Branding Vice President and General Counsel Rebecca Maisel. "We believe that some reasonable regulation that addresses quality control, product consistency, and a ban on selling products to minors is important."

State action

While the FDA ponders regulations, some states are considering action of their own. California is considering a measure that would ban the use of e-cigarettes in locations where smoking is banned. Currently e-cigarettes can be used in public spaces since they do not emit smoke, only water vapor.

The measure, SB 648, would ban e-cigarette use inside or within 20 feet of any public building or in a vehicle owned by the state. It would also allow landlords to ban e-cigarette use in private homes.

The Rhode Island legislature is currently debating a measure to ban e-cigarette sales to minors, but would also greatly restrict online sales of nicotine-containing products by treating e-cigarettes the same as traditional tobacco products.

E-cigarettes contain no tobacco but simulate the act of smoking by using heat to create water vapor that is inhaled. The flavored vapor contains nicotine and many smokers have said they find e-cigarettes an acceptable alternative to tobacco.

Anti-smoking groups, however, don't consider them acceptable. They have called for regulating e-cigarettes as tobacco products.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) served notice some time ago that it will probably regulate electronic cigarettes -- also called e-cigarettes -- but ...

Feds eye new regulations for e-cigarettes

But at least one manufacturer welcomes some oversight

Several years ago, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) attempted to ban the import and sale of electronic e-cigarettes, a court stood in the way.

In December 2010 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled the FDA's attempt to classify e-cigarettes as drug delivery systems was incorrect. Instead, the court found that e-cigarettes were tobacco products, even though they contain no tobacco.

The FDA declined to appeal the ruling but has served notice that it might propose rules that would, in fact, regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products. The agency suggested it could issue a Notice of Proposed Rule Making sometime this month.

Welcomes regulation

Not all in the industry, it turns out, fear FDA regulation. Eli Alelov, CEO of LOGIC Technology, a maker of e-cigarettes, thinks some regulation is overdue. He told ConsumerAffairs that he wants to see manufacturing standards and age restrictions.

“I support raising the bar for the industry,” Alelov said. “Right now my biggest enemy is not the FDA, it's these 'me too' brands that come into the market with cheap electronic cigarettes, trying to make a buck, and they're putting lousy products on the market. That's hurting the entire industry.”

Alelov's company makes e-cigarettes in only two flavors – tobacco and menthol. He says the wide variety of fruit flavored e-cigarettes offered by other companies don't appeal to people who smoke cigarettes, but instead appeal to young people who don't smoke.

Children, he says, should not be using his product and he is in favor of restricting Internet sales.

“A 13-year-old girl should not have the option to buy electronic cigarettes just because she clicks on a button that says 'Yes, I'm 18' and then makes the purchase with her mother's credit card,” he said.

Passionate customers

E-cigarettes give smokers many of the same pleasures as smoking a cigarette. They are the same shape, they generate water vapor that can be inhaled and the water vapor contains nicotine, which satisfies an addictive craving. E-cigarette makers and their growing number of customers say the products are safer than smoking, a claim hotly denied by anti-tobacco groups. There is little scientific research so far to support either side.

The industry and its passionate customers have formed the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association (CASAA) to try and head off what they view as onerous regulations that might relegate them once again to shivering in the cold outside buildings to have a smoke. Because there is no secondhand smoke with e-cigarettes, they are currently allowed in many public venues, in a practice called “vaping” instead of smoking.

When the FDA announced it was considering a rule making on e-cigarettes, more than 27,000 people signed an online White House petition to prevent it. CASAA launched a special website to keep track of the FDA's activities.

“At this time we do not know which regulations the FDA intends to apply to e-cigarettes, but statements made by the FDA in its letter to stakeholders raises some concerns for electronic cigarette consumers and tobacco harm reduction advocates,” the group says on the site.

Tobacco tax?

In its 2010 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals may have pointed the way, by classifying e-cigarettes as tobacco products. As such, it could be argued they could fall under the same tobacco taxes that make cigarettes so expensive, even though they contain no tobacco. Whatever the FDA decides to do, its impact could well be felt internationally.

“The FDA is a big player in the global market,” Alelov said. “I think some countries are waiting to see what the American FDA is going to say about this product.”

Whatever the decision may be, Alelov says he thinks within five to seven years, nearly half of today's smokers will be “vaping” instead.

Several years ago, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) attempted to ban the import and sale of electronic, or e-cigarettes, a court stood in t...

Mind if I vape?

Millions are "vaping" e-cigarettes and many don't plan to kick the habit

You're in a nice restaurant when you look up from your menu and see a fashionably dressed young woman at the next table puffing away on a cigarette. Horrors! Smoking in a restaurant, in this day and age, in violation of who knows how many regulations and ordinances?

But on closer examination you see she is not smoking but “vaping,” enjoying most of the pleasures of smoking without breaking any rules – at least, not yet. That cigarette in her hand is actually an electronic cigarette, an e-cigarette. The smoke is actually water vapor, used to deliver flavored nicotine.

A growing number of smokers are giving up tobacco for e-cigarettes and for the most part, they're not using them as a way to stop their tobacco habit.

In fact, e-cigarette makers take great pains not to promote these devices as smoking-cessation aids. Were they to do so the products would be considered medicine and fall under the regulation of the Food and Drug Administration. (FDA).

Alternative to tobacco

Instead, consumers are embracing e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes. They get the same hit of nicotine but avoid the thousands of chemicals found in cigarette smoke.

Electronic Cigarettes Inc. maintains a Facebook page where customers can post comments.

“I just celebrated my 11th month as a non-smoker and I have VaporKing E-Cigs to thank for that,” a customer named Anne wrote.

Note that she's been vaping for nearly a year and apparently doesn't miss cigarettes. It also sounds like she has no intention of kicking the vaping habit anytime soon.

That's what makes e-cigarettes such a booming business. Consumers aren't using them for a few months to ween themselves from cigarettes, then ending their use of the product. They enjoy vaping and apparently plan to keep doing it. After all, vaping is a lot cheaper than smoking.

“I just reordered the Vapor King after losing mine in a move,” a customer named Patrick posted on the Electronic Cigarettes Facebook page. “Ill be paying off my Camaro with the savings and funding my new hobbies!”

Saving money

He's not exaggerating. A pack of cigarettes can be more than $6 these days, thanks to the heavy federal and state taxes that are designed to discourage smoking. But these taxes also provide a significant revenue stream for governments. At least, until now.

A consumer who once smoked a pack of cigarettes a day but switches to e-cigarettes can literally save thousands of dollars a year. Governments, meanwhile, stand to lose billions.

Another reason smokers are gladly becoming vapers is they are no longer social outcasts, huddled in the cold outside a building getting a quick smoke. With e-cigarettes they can enjoy the ritual of smoking, along with the nicotine rush, in a restaurant, bar or other public place.

Anti-smoking groups

All of this has not escaped the notice of health advocates and anti-smoking groups, who are only now grappling with this new phenomenon. Some have raised questions about the health effects of vaping.

“The FDA is concerned about the safety of these products and how they are marketed to the public,” FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg said recently.

She expressed concern that e-cigarettes can increase nicotine addiction among young people and may lead kids to try other tobacco products, including conventional cigarettes. The World Health Organization said in 2008 that there's no evidence that e-cigarettes are harmless, but as yet, no solid evidence that they cause harm.

If, in the future, anti-smoking groups present studies suggesting e-cigarettes are harmful, you can expect vapers to present their own research that suggests they aren't.

Vapers have their own organization, the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA), which recently began raising money to fund health reseach on e-cigarettes. It doesn't plan to sit by while the same curbs that were placed incrementally on tobacco are placed on e-cigarettes.

“CASAA will continue to be the leader in political actions to stop state and local anti-THR in the USA, and increasingly we are taking political action at the federal level,” the group said in a statement. “We will also continue to provide education internationally through our websites and other activities.”

Vapers appear to be passionate on the subject. When ConsumerAffairs recently reported on an anti-smoking group's attack on e-cigarettes, it produced a number of reader comments in defense of e-cigarettes.

“Find out how many people have quit smoking with these,” a reader named Jason posted. “Find out how many lives have been saved by electronic cigarettes. Tell people how well other smoking cessation devices work.”

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that about 21% of adults who smoke traditional cigarettes had used e-cigarettes in 2011, compared with about 10 percent in 2010.

Overall, about six percent of all adults have tried e-cigarettes, with estimates nearly doubling from 2010. The study is the first to report changes in awareness and use of e-cigarettes between 2010 and 2011. 

While the jury is still out in the U.S., several countries, including Australia, Brazil and Canada have banned e-cigarettes while others have placed restrictions on their sale and use.  

You're in a nice restaurant when you look up from your menu and see a fashionably dressed young woman at the next table puffing away on a cigarette. Horror...

Electronic cigarettes growing in popularity

About one in five adult cigarette smokers has tried one

If you are a cigarette smoker, would you give up the real thing for one of those electronic jobs? A lot of people have tried them.

A study released the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that about 21% of adults who smoke traditional cigarettes had used e-cigarettes in 2011, compared with about 10 percent in 2010.

Overall, about six percent of all adults have tried e-cigarettes, with estimates nearly doubling from 2010. The study is the first to report changes in awareness and use of e-cigarettes between 2010 and 2011.

Moving to e-smokes

During 2010–2011, adults who have used e-cigarettes increased among both sexes, non-Hispanic whites, those aged 45–54 years, those living in the South, and current and former smokers and current and former smokers.

In both 2010 and 2011, e-cigarette use was significantly higher among current smokers compared to both former and never smokers. Awareness of e-cigarettes rose from about four in 10 adults in 2010 to six in 10 adults in 2011.

“E-cigarette use is growing rapidly,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. “There is still a lot we don’t know about these products, including whether they will decrease or increase use of traditional cigarettes.”

Is it safer?

Although e-cigarettes appear to have far fewer of the toxins found in smoke compared with traditional cigarettes, the impact of e-cigarettes on long-term health must be studied. Research is needed to assess how e-cigarette marketing could impact initiation and use of traditional cigarettes, particularly among young people.

“If large numbers of adult smokers become users of both traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes -- rather than using e-cigarettes to quit cigarettes completely -- the net public health effect could be quite negative,” said Tim McAfee, MD MPH, director of the Office on Smoking and Health at CDC.

If you are a cigarette smoker, would you give up the real thing for one of those electronic jobs? A lot of people have tried them. A study released the Ce...

E-Cigarette use is growing, study finds

The question is: Are smokers using e-cigs to quit or are they smoking more than ever?

Everything else is electronic today, so why not cigarettes? That seems to be the thinking behind the growing use of electronic cigarettes, though whether this is a good thing is open to question.

If e-cigarettes replace traditional cigarettes, the net effect might be good, since the e-cigs emit fewer toxins than the real thing. But if people end up using both -- like avid readers who tote around both books and e-books -- it would be a different story, health officials say.

“If large numbers of adult smokers become users of both traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes — rather than using e-cigarettes to quit cigarettes completely — the net public health effect could be quite negative,” said Tim McAfee, MD MPH, director of the Office on Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Research is needed to assess how e-cigarette marketing could impact initiation and use of traditional cigarettes, particularly among young people, the CDC said.

Anti-smokers huff and puff

One group that's already made up its mind is Americans for Non-Smokers Rights. It's gone on a crusade against the marketers of e-cigarettes, claiming they are using press releases and social media to tout the benefits of their product, despite a lack of independent peer-reviewed scientific evidence demonstrating the safety or effectiveness.

E-cigarettes don't just produce harmless water vapor, the group claims. Instead, they say, they pollute indoor air with detectable levels of carcinogens and other toxic chemicals.

"What I find most egregious are the direct advertisements with false and misleading claims, including that e-cigarettes are effective smoking cessation devices, that e-cigarette use is permissible in all indoor environments, including venues that are smoke-free, and targeting pregnant women claiming that e-cigarettes are safer and healthier than other tobacco products," said Cynthia Hallett, executive director of Americans for Non-Smokers Rights.

Usage is up

One thing's sure: more people are trying e-cigarettes.

In 2011, about 21 percent of adults who smoke traditional cigarettes had used electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, up from about 10 percent in 2010, according to a study released today by the CDC.  

Overall, about six percent of all adults have tried e-cigarettes, with estimates nearly doubling from 2010.

“E-cigarette use is growing rapidly,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. “There is still a lot we don’t know about these products, including whether they will decrease or increase use of traditional cigarettes.”

During 2010–2011, adults who have used e-cigarettes increased among both sexes, non-Hispanic Whites, those aged 45–54 years, those living in the South, and current and former smokers and current and former smokers.  In both 2010 and 2011, e-cigarette use was significantly higher among current smokers compared to both former and never smokers. 

Awareness of e-cigarettes rose from about four in 10 adults in 2010 to six in 10 adults in 2011.

Everything else is electronic today, so why not cigarettes? That seems to be the thinking behind the growing use of electronic cigarettes, though whether t...

Big tobacco eyes new profits in e-cigarettes

Cigarette makers are investing in these anti-smoking products

Every year people stop smoking. This months millions of consumers will resolve to kick the habit and many will succeed. Bad news for tobacco companies, right?

Not necessarily. Big tobacco can see which way the wind is blowing and has found a way to cash in on the anti-smoking campaign. Increasingly, tobacco companies are taking interest in the e-cigarette phenomenon.

E-cigarettes are electronic devices that look just like a tobacco cigarette. Instead of burning tobacco, however, they vaporize a substance containing nicotine. The smoker inhales the vapor, just as he would smoke. It reportedly provides the same satisfaction as smoking and allows smokers to give up cigarettes.

Tobacco companies offering e-cigarettes

In 2012 Lorillard Tobacco purchased the Blu brand of e-cigarettes and RJ Reynolds is said to be producing its own brand of e-cigarette. The strategy is simple; as tobacco companies lose cigarette smokers they gain new e-cigarette customers.

In an interview with CNBC, Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog said e-cigarettes produced as much as a half-billion dollars last year and will likely double this year.

Ironically, government could end up the big losers as smokers abandon cigarettes and move to e-cigarettes. Cigarettes are heavily taxed, to discourage people from smoking. Much of the cost of a pack of cigarettes goes to state and federal governments.

Untaxed and unregulated

But e-cigarettes are currently untaxed and unregulated. As more consumers stop buying cigarettes and start smoking e-cigarettes, tax revenue will fall. Minnesota is currently the only state to have taken action to tax e-cigarettes but other states are likely eying a similar move.

Meanwhile, anti-smoking groups and health advocates have turned their attention to e-cigarettes, warning they are not without harm. In 2010 researchers at the University of California, Riverside evaluated five e-cigarette brands and found design flaws, lack of adequate labeling and several concerns about quality control and health issues.

They conclude that e-cigarettes are potentially harmful and urge regulators to consider removing e-cigarettes from the market until their safety is adequately evaluated. Last year Greek researchers at the University of Athens said consumers switching to e-cigarettes may still be harming their lungs.

Marketing claims

Meanwhile, marketers of e-cigarettes have also drawn the attention of officials in California and Oregon. In 2010, California sued the Florida-based electronic-cigarette retailer Smoking Everywhere for making what officials said were "misleading and irresponsible" claims that electronic cigarettes are a safe alternative to smoking. The state also claimed the company has targeted minors with its marketing.

A year earlier the state of Oregon filed two settlements that prevented two national travel store chains from selling "electronic cigarettes" in Oregon.

But for now e-cigarettes remain unregulated, thanks to a federal appeals court ruling that said the U.S. government may not block the sale or import of electronic cigarettes, which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calls dangerous, unregulated products.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled the FDA doesn't have the authority to outlaw the product if it is not being sold for therapeutic purposes.

Every year people stop smoking. This months millions of consumers will resolve to kick the habit and many will succeed. Bad news for tobacco companies, rig...

Anti-Smoking Group Targets E-Cigarettes

Claims products contain unknown ingredients and make unsubstantiated claims

Ever since e-cigarettes came on the scene, offering smokers a tobacco-free alternative to smoking, health advocates have raised questions.

Earlier this month Greek researchers suggested using the device, which delivers nicotine in water vapor, could still be harming the lungs. Now, an anti-smoking group says e-cigarettes are just as obnoxious to non-smokers as real cigarettes.

Criticizes marketing

Americans for Non-Smokers Rights is slamming the marketers of e-cigarettes, claiming they are using press releases and social media to tout the benefits of their product, despite a lack of independent peer-reviewed scientific evidence demonstrating the safety or effectiveness.

E-cigarettes don't just produce harmless water vapor, the group claims. Instead, they say they pollute indoor air with detectable levels of carcinogens and other toxic chemicals.

"What I find most egregious are the direct advertisements with false and misleading claims, including that e-cigarettes are effective smoking cessation devices, that e-cigarette use is permissible in all indoor environments, including venues that are smoke-free, and targeting pregnant women claiming that e-cigarettes are safer and healthier than other tobacco products," said Cynthia Hallett, executive director of Americans for Non-Smokers Rights.

Disputes claims

In a press release of its own, the group disputes e-cigarette manufacturers' claims that e-cigarettes are "safer than commercial tobacco products." It says the contents of the e-cigarette liquid and the "vapor mist" that is exhaled by the user remain undisclosed. E-cigarettes are currently an unregulated product, which leaves a great deal of unknowns not only about the health risks, but also about product manufacturing quality and safety.

The group points to a study recently published in Indoor Air, which measured the contents of exhaled e-cigarette vapor and found that exhaling the vapor releases measurable amounts of carcinogens and toxins into the air, including nicotine, formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.

New source of chemical exposure

The authors concluded that e-cigarettes are a new source of chemical and aerosol exposure and their potential health impact is a concern that should be investigated further. Other researchers have found inconsistent labeling of nicotine content on e-cigarette cartridges -- that cartridges labeled as not having nicotine did in fact contain nicotine, and vice versa -- as well as other signs of poor quality control, including leaky cartridges and defective parts.

A number of states, including California, have sued the marketers of some brands of e-cigarettes for making what officials described as "misleading and irresponsible" claims that electronic cigarettes are a safe alternative to smoking.

E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices with nicotine cartridges designed to look and feel like conventional cigarettes. Instead of actual smoke, e-cigarettes produce a vapor from the nicotine cartridge that is inhaled by the user. Smoking Everywhere, one of the largest e-cigarette retailers in the United States, claims in its ads that the e-cigarettes have no carcinogens, no tar, no second-hand smoke, and are therefore safe and healthy.

  Ever since e-cigarettes came on the scene, offering smokers a tobacco-free alternative to smoking, health advocates have raised questions....

Study: E-Cigarettes Can Harm Lungs

Small Greek study suggests problems even though there is no combustion

E-cigarettes are marketed as a safe alternative to smoking tobacco. Users get nicotine delivered in vapor form but not the smoke and tar found in tobacco.

Unfortunately, say Greek researchers, they may still be harming their lungs. No doubt the study will add to, but not settle, the debate over the safety of alternative nicotine-delivery products.

With an e-cigarette, heat from an electronic element creates the vapor that a smoker inhales, just as they would a cigarette. Because there is no combustion, but "smoke" is assumed to be safer.

Can't assume the product is safe

But researchers from the University of Athens say that might be a faulty assumption. They set out to investigate the short-term effects of using e-cigarettes on different people, including people without any known health problems and smokers with and without existing lung conditions.

The study was small -- it included 8 people who had never smoked and 24 smokers, 11 with normal lung function and 13 people with either chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma.

Each person used an electronic cigarette for 10 minutes. The researchers then measured their airway resistance using a number of tests, including a spirometry test.

Increase in airway resistance

The results showed that for all people included in the study, the e-cigarette caused an immediate increase in airway resistance, lasting for 10 minutes. In healthy subjects -- people who never smoke -- there was a statistically significant increase in airway resistance from a mean average of 182 to 206 percent.

In smokers with normal lung function there was a statistically significant increase from a mean average of 176 percent to 220 percent. In COPD and asthma patients the use of one e-cigarette seemed to have no immediate effect to airway resistance.

"We do not yet know whether unapproved nicotine delivery products, such as e-cigarettes, are safer than normal cigarettes, despite marketing claims that they are less harmful," said Professor Christina Gratziou, one of the authors. "This research helps us to understand how these products could be potentially harmful."

But Gratziou says the fact researchers found an immediate rise in airway resistance in participants suggests e-cigarettes can cause immediate harm after smoking the device.

More research

"More research is needed to understand whether this harm also has lasting effects in the long-term," she said.

In the U.S. e-cigarettes are lightly regulated, in part because they haven't been around that long and research on their health effects is only beginning.

In 2010 the state of California filed a complaint against one e-cigarette maker, Sottera, over its claims that its product was a safe alternative to smoking. Health officials are also concerned e-cigarette makers are marketing the product to minors who have not yet started smoking cigarettes.

The typical e-cigarette includes a small liquid reservoir, a heating element, and a power source, usually a battery. Most electronic cigarettes are portable, self-contained cylindrical devices in varying sizes, and many are designed to outwardly resemble traditional cigarettes.   

E-cigarettes are marketed as a safe alternative to smoking tobacco. Users get nicotine delivered in vapor form but not the smoke and tar found in tobacco....

e-Cigarette Exploded in Man's Face, Suit Charges

Victim was hospitalized for eight days after the incident

A man was hospitalized for eight days after an electronic cigarette exploded in his face, sending "burning debris and battery acid into his mouth, face, and eyes," the e-smoker claims in a federal lawsuit.

In the suit, Phillip and Theresa Hahn of Greeley, Colo., say that in November 2011, they bought a Prodigy V3.1 electronic cigarette device from Pure Enterprises’ online store, at the website address of puresmoker.com. He purchased an Enercell battery from Radio Shack to power the device.

Hahn said that on January 12, he was using the device when the Enercell battery exploded, injuring Hahn and damaging his home. He was hospitalized for eight days.

The suit charges that Pure Enerprises Inc., failed to adequately warn purchasers of the dangers of using the electronic cigarette

Hahn seeks economic and non-economic damages for past, present and future medical care and treatment, caretaking expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement, anxiety, depression, loss of enjoyment of life, property damages for fire damage and loss of use of his residence.

A man was hospitalized for eight days after an electronic cigarette exploded in his face, sending "burning debris and battery acid into his mouth, face, an...

E-Cigarettes: Possibly No Better Than Real Cigarettes

Research finds e-cigarettes contain harmful ingredients but little is known about their effects

Electronic cigarettes (or e-cigarettes), also called "electronic nicotine delivery systems," are increasingly used worldwide even though only sparse information is available on their health effects.

In the United States, e-cigarettes are readily available in shopping malls in most states and on the Internet. But how safe are e-cigarettes?

To address this question, researchers at the University of California, Riverside evaluated five e-cigarette brands and found design flaws, lack of adequate labeling, and several concerns about quality control and health issues.

They conclude that e-cigarettes are potentially harmful and urge regulators to consider removing e-cigarettes from the market until their safety is adequately evaluated.

Unlike conventional cigarettes, which burn tobacco, e-cigarettes vaporize nicotine, along with other compounds present in the cartridge, in the form of aerosol created by heating, but do not produce the thousands of chemicals and toxins created by tobacco combustion.

Nothing is known, however, about the chemicals present in the aerosolized vapors emanating from e-cigarettes.

"As a result, some people believe that e-cigarettes are a safe substitute for conventional cigarettes," said Prue Talbot, the director of UC Riverside's Stem Cell Center, whose lab led the research.

"However, there are virtually no scientific studies on e-cigarettes and their safety. Our study -- one of the first studies to evaluate e-cigarettes -- shows that this product has many flaws, which could cause serious public health problems in the future if the flaws go uncorrected."

Talbot, a professor of cell biology and neuroscience, was joined in the study by Anna Trtchounian, the first author of the research paper.

Together, they examined the design, accuracy and clarity of labeling, nicotine content, leakiness, defective parts, disposal, errors in filling orders, instruction manual quality and advertising for the following brands of e-cigarettes: NJOY, Liberty Stix, Crown Seven (Hydro), Smoking Everywhere (Gold and Platinum) and VapCigs.

The researchers' main observations are:

  • Batteries, atomizers, cartridges, cartridge wrappers, packs and instruction manuals lack important information regarding e-cigarette content, use and essential warnings;
  • E-cigarette cartridges leak, which could expose nicotine, an addictive and dangerous chemical, to children, adults, pets and the environment;
  • Currently, there are no methods for proper disposal of e-cigarettes products and accessories, including cartridges, which could result in nicotine contamination from discarded cartridges entering water sources and soil, and adversely impacting the environment; and
  • The manufacture, quality control, sales, and advertisement of e-cigarettes are unregulated.

More research needed

"More research on e-cigarettes is crucially needed to protect the health of e-cigarette users and even those who do not use e-cigarettes," said Kamlesh Asotra, a research administrator at UC TRDRP.

According to Asotra, virtually nothing is known about the toxicity of the vapors generated by e-cigarettes, contrary to the claims made by manufacturers that they're "safe."

"Until we know any thing about the potential health risks of the toxins generated upon heating the nicotine-containing content of the e-cigarette cartridges, the 'safety' claims of the manufacturers are dubious at best," said Asotra.

"Justifiably, more information about the potential toxic and health effects of e-cigarette vapors is necessary before the public can have a definitive answer about the touted safety of e-cigarettes. Hopefully, in the near future, scientists can provide firm evidence for or against the claimed 'safety' of e-cigarettes as a nicotine-delivery tool."

The study was funded by a grant to Talbot from the University of California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP) and the results appear in this month's issue of Tobacco Control.

E-Cigarettes: Possibly No Better Than Real CigarettesResearch finds e-cigarettes contain harmful ingredients but little is known about their effects...

Poll Shows Consumers' Doubts About E-Cigarettes

Survey indicates most want regulation of marketing, exposure to minors


Cigarette marketing is tightly regulated, but not so a relatively new cigarette substitute, something called an electronic cigarette. These devices are heavily promoted as a way for smokers to inhale nicotine but not the toxins of tobacco cigarettes.

 

Health advocates are unconvinced and, according to a new poll, so are consumers.

The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health found that 91 percent of adults in the U.S. think manufacturers should be required to test e-cigarettes for safety.

Likewise, an overwhelming majority -- 85 percent -- favor prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and 82 percent think the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should regulate e-cigarettes like other nicotine-containing products. According to the poll, 68 percent of adults think e-cigarettes should have health warnings like tobacco cigarettes and other nicotine products.

The FDA is already on record criticizing e-cigarettes as potentially toxic since they haven't been tested in FDA-recognized scientific trials. Also of concern: there are no age restrictions on sales of these new nicotine-containing products.

Warning letters

Last week the FDA issued warning letters to five e-cigarette distributors for various violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) including unsubstantiated claims and poor manufacturing practices.

Also, in a letter to the Electronic Cigarette Association, FDA said the agency intends to regulate electronic cigarette and related products in a manner consistent with its mission of protecting the public health. The letter outlines the regulatory pathway for marketing drug products in compliance with the FDCA. For a drug product to gain FDA approval, a company must demonstrate to the agency that the product is safe and effective for its intended use. The company must also demonstrate that manufacturing methods are adequate to preserve the strength, quality and purity of the product.

At least two state attorneys general -- Oregon's John Kroger and California's Jerry Brown -- have waged vigorous campaigns against e-cigarettes.

In January Brown sued the Florida-based e-cigarette retailer Smoking Everywhere for making what he said are "misleading and irresponsible" claims that electronic cigarettes are a safe alternative to smoking. He also said the company has targeted minors with its marketing.

Beginning last year, Kroger reached settlements with retailers and manufacturers not to sell or market the products in Oregon.

Unfettered promotion

While ads for cigarettes have been banned from the airways since 1970s, commercials for e-cigarettes as "stop smoking aids" show up regularly on radio and cable TV.

"It is clear from this poll that U.S. adults are not waiting for scientific evidence of adverse health effects of e-cigarettes before asking that they be regulated and restricted," said Matthew M. Davis, M.D., director of the poll and associate professor of pediatrics and internal medicine in the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the U-M Medical School. "Rather, they support restrictions on e-cigarettes based on potential risks -- not just immediate health effects, but also the possibility that e-cigarettes may lead youth toward later use of tobacco cigarettes."

E-Cigarettes are battery-operated devices that look like cigarettes but do not burn tobacco. Instead, e-cigarettes have replaceable cartridges of liquid containing nicotine, which is inhaled as a vapor along with flavors like tobacco and chocolate.

E-Cigarettes are available in stores, mall kiosks and over the Internet.

Davis said the poll adds to the mounting public dialogue about e-cigarettes, which he says has so far consisted of claims and counter-claims by opponents and proponents but minimal scientific data.

 

 

 

Poll Shows Consumers' Doubts About E-Cigarettes...

California Sues E-cigarette Marketer

Claims product targets kids

If you're thinking about trying one of those electronic cigarettes in an effort to kick the tobacco habit, California Attorney General Jerry Brown has some advice: don't.

Brown has sued the Florida-based electronic-cigarette retailer Smoking Everywhere for making what he says are "misleading and irresponsible" claims that electronic cigarettes are a safe alternative to smoking. He also says the company has targeted minors with its marketing.

"Smoking Everywhere launched a misleading and irresponsible advertising campaign targeting minors and claiming that electronic cigarettes do not contain harmful chemicals," Brown said. "We are asking the court to take these cigarettes off the market until the company has proven the products are safe."

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-operated devices with nicotine cartridges designed to look and feel like conventional cigarettes. Instead of actual smoke, e-cigarettes produce a vapor from the nicotine cartridge that is inhaled by the user. Smoking Everywhere, one of the largest e-cigarette retailers in the United States, claims in its advertisements that the e-cigarettes have no carcinogens, no tar, no second-hand smoke, and are therefore safe and healthy.

However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that electronic cigarettes contain a variety of dangerous chemicals, including nicotine, carcinogens such as nitrosamines and, in at least one case, diethylene glycol, commonly known as antifreeze.

Today's lawsuit seeks to prevent the company from selling its products until there is evidence to substantiate its claims that they are safe. The lawsuit will also require the products to display the state-mandated Proposition 65 warnings of ingredients known to cause cancer or reproductive harm and seeks to prevent the company from making false and misleading claims and promoting the products to minors.

Howard Stern as pitchman

In one advertisement targeted to minors, Smoking Everywhere featured a video with radio show host Howard Stern claiming, "kids love 'em." The products feature flavors that appeal to youth, including strawberry, chocolate, mint, banana and cookies-and-cream.

Other ads claim that electronic cigarettes can help people quit smoking. To be advertised as a smoking-cessation device, a product must be approved by the FDA for that purpose. In fact, none of Smoking Everywhere's products have been approved by the FDA, Brown says.

The American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and other groups have expressed serious concerns about the safety of electronic cigarettes and urged that they be removed from the market until proof of their safety has been established.

Read what the experts say about e-cigarettes.



California Sues E-cigarette Marketer...

Oregon Sues Electronic Cigarette Maker

Charges firm is targeting kids

Weeks after reaching a settlement with three retailers to block sale of the electronic cigarette NJOY, the state of Oregon is taking another e-cigarette maker to court.

Oregon Attorney General John Kroger is suing Smoking Everywhere, alleging that the Florida-based e-cigarette company made false health claims about its nicotine delivery device and targeted children with sweet flavors such as bubblegum, chocolate and cookies 'n' cream.

Electronic cigarettes are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and some contain known carcinogens. Even so, they are advertised on radio and television, where tobacco cigarettes have been banned from the airwaves for three decades.

Thus far, Oregon remains the only state that has taken legal action against e-cigarette importers and retailers. In addition to the recent settlement with retailers, the state reached agreement with Sottera, Inc.,distributor of NJOY, prohibiting it from doing business in Oregon until local and national standards are met.

Kroger said he offered to settle with Smoking Everywhere, but the company rebuffed his offer. The result was the attorney general's lawsuit.

As a general rule, nicotine products other than traditional tobacco products used to get a nicotine "buzz" or to quit smoking are considered by the FDA to be drugs and must be submitted for pre-approval. Prior to approval, the FDA requires manufacturers to submit reliable scientific evidence that proves the product is safe and effective for its intended use.

Kroger said Smoking Everywhere did not seek FDA pre-approval under the theory that a regulatory loophole allowed the sale of the devices as long as they were not marketed for smoking cessation. E-cigarettes are not approved by the FDA for any purpose. The FDA has rejected the defendants' arguments and has seized e-cigarette shipments from China.

Smoking Everywhere responded by suing the FDA. Sottera, Inc., whose electronic cigarettes were also seized by the FDA, later joined the suit.

The FDA has never declared e-cigarettes safe for public consumption, but they remain easily available throughout the country - except in Oregon, where the Department of Justice in July reached agreements with retailers to temporarily stop selling them while DOJ continued its investigation.

Electronic cigarettes are designed to mimic the look and experience of smoking a conventional cigarette. Smoking Everywhere e-cigarettes contain a battery-operated heating element and a replaceable plastic cartridge that contains various chemicals, including liquid nicotine. The heating element vaporizes the liquid, which is inhaled by the user.

Oregon's lawsuit alleges that Smoking Everywhere has marketed e-cigarettes as safe in general and safer than conventional cigarettes, yet the company possesses no scientific evidence to support such claims.

Smoking Everywhere claims that e-cigarettes contain "no harmful carcinogenic ingredients" and are "free of tar & other chemical substances" that are "produced in traditional cigarettes." In fact, lab testing by the FDA found tobacco-specific nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens in humans. FDA testing also found diethylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze that is known to be highly toxic in humans.

Some electronic cigarette cartridges have been sold as containing no nicotine, but FDA testing found detectable levels of nicotine.

Oregon's lawsuit also alleges that Smoking Everywhere's promotional efforts target adolescents and youths who may not already be addicted to nicotine. Although Smoking Everywhere claims e-cigarettes are "intended for use by adult smokers," the lawsuit alleges that advertisements are designed to attract young people.

For example, advertisements use young female models who look like teenagers. The use of sweet flavored cartridges such as bubblegum and cookies 'n' cream also appeals to young people. Further, as part of its advertising campaign, Smoking Everywhere staged a promotional event on the Howard Stern radio show that told listeners: "For kids out there, you still look cool 'cause, like, it still looks like a cigarette..."

"We're fighting to make sure kids are protected from unapproved gimmicks like e-cigarettes that get them hooked on nicotine," Kroger said.

 



Oregon Sues Electronic Cigarette Maker...