Electronic cigarettes might not be a healthy alternative to traditional cigarette smoking after all.
An emerging study suggests that the so-called “e-cigarettes” might not be any healthier than cigarettes, according to the Huffington Post. In fact, the popular tobacco alternative contains cancer-causing chemicals rendering some brands as harmful as tobacco, according to a French study. The report followed French government plans to ban electronic cigarettes from public places, according to the Daily Mail.
The devices are, according to 60 Millions Consommateurs (60 Million Consumers), as “far from the harmless gadgets they’re sold as by manufacturers,” wrote the Daily Mail. The magazine reports National Consumers’ Institute findings and wrote that it tested 10 re-chargeable, disposable e-cigarette brands for carcinogenic and toxic properties.
“We detected a significant quantity of carcinogenic molecules in the vapor of these cigarettes which have thus far gone undetected. In three models out of ten the levels of the carcinogenic compound formaldehyde come close to those of a conventional cigarette. The highly toxic molecule acrolein was also detected in the vapors of e-cigarettes, sometimes at levels even higher than in traditional cigarettes,” wrote Thomas Laurenceau, 60 Millions Consommateurs’ editor
Some brands did not have childproof safety caps, yet the products contained nicotine levels in the cigarettes’ liquid content that could be deadly to children, according to the Daily Mail. French Health Minister Marisol Touraine announced in the ban of e-cigarettes in public places in May saying, “The e-cigarette is not an ordinary product. We need to apply the same measures as there are for tobacco. That means making sure it cannot be smoked in public places, that its sale is restricted to over 18s and that firms are not allowed to advertise the products,” according to the Daily Mail.
Meanwhile, in the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering a potential online sales ban of e-cigarettes and has been in discussions with the e-cigarette industry, according to The Wall Street Journal. The agency is preparing a series of proposed regulations, people who are familiar with the matter said. In 2009, the FDA warned that e-cigarettes could present health risks.
The agency is scheduled to formally present its proposals this October and is hearing industry’s views on regulation of the devices. The so-called “listening sessions” are taking place at agency headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland and involve a series of meetings and conference calls that industry requested, according to the Journal.
As we’ve written, the use of e-cigarettes, or electronic nicotine delivery systems, is on the rise globally, but with little information on related health effects. e-cigarettes burn and vaporize nicotine and other ingredients in its cartridge, via an aerosol created when heated. No information exists concerning the chemicals in the aerosolized vapors.
The batteries, atomizers, cartridges, cartridge wrappers, packs, and instruction manuals included with e-cigarette purchases do not contain critical information about ingredients, use, and important warnings. The cartridges can leak, releasing nicotine to children, adults, pets, and the environment. Nicotine, a key component in the manufacture of cigarettes, is an addictive and dangerous chemical.