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Armand Rossetti
Armand Rossetti
Contributor •

E-cigarette Anyone?


That’s right. The quest to deliver controlled nicotine doses to people of all ages never ends. Cigarettes are now on the technological cutting edge. There’s no secondhand smoke to worry about, but do worries about personal health still exist? The truth is that those health concerns are still apparent.

E-cigarettes, also know as electronic cigarettes are battery operated devices consisting of cartridges filled with nicotine, flavor and other chemicals. The consumer switches on the device, inhales the vapor and receives a dose of flavored, highly addictive nicotine. Young consumers who favor cover up flavors like chocolate and mint will definitely enjoy the high.

According to an FDA news release, e-cigarettes are available online and companies market those cigarettes to the young consumer. However, electronic cigarettes could increase nicotine addiction and tobacco use in young people. Margaret Hamburg, MD, commissioner of food and drugs indicated that “the FDA is concerned about the safety of these products and how they are marketed to the public.

So far, the FDA has not had the opportunity to evaluate the safety of or to approve marketing of e-cigarettes, and the agency has conducted only limited testing, concerning the levels of chemicals and nicotine that various brands of the devices will deliver to the consumer.

In one tested sample, the FDA detected diethylene glycol (a toxic chemical used in antifreeze), and in several other samples, the FDA detected cancer causing chemicals, including nitrosamines.

Evidently, e-cigarettes are reaching our borders from foreign sources. The FDA has intercepted and examined shipments of e-cigarettes at the border and has determined that those devices meet the definition of being a combination drug-device under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

A concern called Smoking Everywhere is challenging the FDA’s jurisdiction and the case is pending in federal district court, District of Columbia. Healthcare providers and consumers may report serious adverse events (side effects) that concern the use of e-cigarettes to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program (please scroll to the bottom of the page).


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  1. Sharon McEachern says:
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    It’s hard to believe, but even after the FDA warning, there are columnists and folks leaving blog comments bragging about puffing on e-cigarettes instead of real ciarettes. What, cancer from a pretend cigarette is a better way to die than getting cancer from real tobacco? Denial just will not stay in Africa. One of the beter articles on e-cigs, which warned consumers months ago about safety concerns, is at:


  2. Shan says:
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    What is with this “young people” obsession? It would be much easier for “young people” to obtain nicotine via cigarettes (or OTC gums) than to make the initial investment in personal vaporizer equipment, not to mention ongoing supply costs and the impossibility of hiding all the required supplies and battery chargers from parents (if you’re actually speaking of minors). As for flavorings: gosh, are adults not allowed to enjoy flavors? Are we banning flavored alcohols?

    As for Howard Stern and Danny Bonaduce (both in their 50s) and how much they influence “young people” (they’re featured in the pic at your link), I have no idea how SmokingEverywhere is marketing its products but I am sure you will find the average age of people buying PV equipment is probably not far FROM 50.

    Nitrosamines are also present in bacon, and many other ingested substances. Alas, life is not without risk. Nitrosamines are also in TOBACCO, therefore they are in cigarettes. As for the rest of the FDA’s analysis, it seems they turned up diethylene glycol in ONE of nineteen cartridges they tested. No hint as to amounts or anything else is given here, just dire imminent-death warnings, so forgive me if I have a hard time taking this seriously.

    If I still have the legal choice to smoke cigarettes, I should be able to choose what I am certain is a far less risky option. That’s what I have done. My health has already improved immeasurably and I no longer need to use nicotine-containing liquid.

    But by all means, do everything you can to keep smokers smoking. They must enrich either Big Tobacco, or Big Pharma (with “smoking cessation” drugs that have pitiful success rates and black-box warnings, yet the FDA is FINE with all that).

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    Thanks for responding, Shan. I would just like to respond with a few comments:

    The world-renowned Stern is credited with revolutionizing the talk radio format. He is the No. 1 national radio host among males 18-49 years of age and ranks No. 1 in many of the 46 major markets where his show is broadcast, including New York and Los Angeles.

    The marketing concerns raised were that the ecig is marketed heavily to children through the enticing use of candy/fruit flavors and also that by putting “Adult Use Only” on a product such as the electronic cigarette, is a direct marketing tactic to children.

    Here is a source that states that nitrites in cured meat are relatively safe (“The committee [convened by the National Academy of Sciences at the request of the FDA and USDA) concluded that cured meats accounted for only a small proportion of human exposure to cancer-causing nitrosamines, which can be formed by nitrites and nitrates.”]:


    Inhaled nitrosamines done over a long period may pose a notable risk:


    Besides, the device, itself, may pose a more formidable risk:


    See “Darn that Burning Taste.”

    Regarding an obsession, you are correct. Anyone should be “obsessed” in a sense, with maintaining their own health, and informing others, regardless of age, about untoward risks.

  4. Shan says:
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    I’m pretty sure everyone knows who Howard Stern is. I am one year out of that 18-49 demographic, so it’s nice to feel that I was so recently “young.” :) I wonder, does Stern’s show advertise beer? Or energy drinks? Think of the children!

    If you are going to state that personal vaporizers/e-cigs/etc. are being pitched at a “young” market segment, you need to be a little more clear than 18-49. Not to mention that (a) at 18 one can legally buy cigarettes in most areas of the US, and (b) it is quite unfair to damn every supplier based on whatever one supplier’s marketing tactics might include.

    As for “Adults Only” stickers, you may want to consider this: Do you want warning stickers on products aimed at adults, or don’t you? Do you want the warnings on cigarettes and alcohol, and on the doors of porn shops? (You have ignored the flavored alcohols question.) You can’t have it both ways. Either these warnings serve a purpose, or they’re a sleazy marketing tactic to attract non-adults. Which is it?

    I glossed over the blog post discussing atomizers (really, THIS is your authority for saying the devices “may pose a formidable risk”?). What on earth could I say about that, except… I am supposed to worry about a heating coil? Whoa, I’d better stop cooking! A stove spill and the resulting burned-tasting air I inhale… ye gods, that might kill me because the FDA hasn’t told me that inhaling burnt turkey soup is safe! Think of the children!

    You seem to be reaching to find something, anything, wrong with the entire concept of PVs/e-cigs and the associated liquids (even though many do not contain nicotine, even though I can make zero-nic liquid myself from USP propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin, plus food flavorings). I feel that you are reaching so far, you are likely to strain something, and then might be tempted to take acetaminophen, which could damage your liver. (The FDA told me so… finally.)

    Did you not find it suspicious that the measurements the FDA reported (where it did so) were in parts per BILLION instead of ppm, as is normally the case in these studies? I am quite certain that at least one OTC, FDA-approved smoking cessation aid would fail these exact same tests.

    Now that I have addressed the arguments in your last comment, would you consider actually addressing the points I brought up?

    — Why do you feel that anything with “flavoring” must be aimed at minors? Are adults supposed to be content with utter blandness? If I’m not mistaken, even nicotine gum has flavorings.

    — Do you honestly believe there’s a significant threat of minors taking up e-cigarettes in droves, considering the costs and hassle involved, as opposed to a pocket-money $10 or less everywhere for cigarettes?

    My question about your “obsession” was very precise in its reference to marketing to children. I simply see no basis for that conclusion. Worse, “think of the children!” has become a manipulative platitude in an atmosphere where some adults actually just want to control the choices of other adults.

    In my experience, this is a product used overwhelmingly by adults wanting to limit or stop their tobacco use. Many of us have done so successfully, and those are all people who would still be smoking a pack, or two, or more a day. This product, in its infancy, is an important advance, and it needs to be studied honestly and with an open mind, instead of condemned with the tapestry of misleading information and hysteria being woven here.

  5. vaper says:
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    There is plenty of information posted up over at : http://www.getvapure.com/news/category/fdaclaimsvsthetruth/

    All of which contradicts the fda’s fearmongering tactics. Please have a look.

  6. Tad says:
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    I would like to start by saying that I am not a retailer, producer, or suppler of the e-cigarette but that I smoke an e-cigarette and have for several months now. It has allowed me to break my addition to the real thing.
    During this time I have NEVER had anyone under the age of 30 ask me about it other than persons that work at restaurants and bars and they were telling me to put it out that I would not smoke in there. I have been to a Doctor that I regularly see and he even states that my health is better and that my lungs sound better.

    You say that the product is marketed to “Young People” and I take this to mean that companies are marketing this product to persons under the age of 18.
    Lets think about this for just a second.
    Persons under the age of 18 are MUCH more likely to spend $5 to 10$ on cigarettes thank $60 to $240 on an electric cigarette. Not to mention that persons in this age group that do smoke are willing to and have been known to pick up cigarette butts of the street, out of ash trays in front of grocery stores, etc. I know I have witnessed this before. Why would someone of that age willing to go to those lengths spend $60 to $240 on an electric cigarette??
    This clam to me is completely absurd.
    Then you have the statement about carcinogens in the electric cigarette.
    I have known even upon purchase of this product that it is NOT completely safe. I also knew that every single real cigarette that I was smoking every day contained over 4000 carcinogens. I felt and still feel upon my purchase of the electric cigarette that even though it had not gone through rigorous testing by the FDA that it was and still is a much safer alternative than a real cigarette.
    Fact: nicotine replacement products themselves have been found to have detectable levels of tobacco-specific nitrosamines, including 4-(methylnirosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) and N’-nitrosonornicotine (NNN). Both of these chemicals are consistently carcinogenic in laboratory animals and are widely recognized as carcinogens present in tobacco products.
    The tobacco industry is scared that it might accually have a comptetor that is taking

  7. Bryan Linden says:
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    Others have addressed all of the misinformation and/or lack thereof that I would have brought up, but I just wanted to ask if you realize how truly insane this sounds?

    “The marketing concerns raised were that the ecig is marketed heavily to children through the enticing use of candy/fruit flavors and also that by putting “Adult Use Only” on a product such as the electronic cigarette, is a direct marketing tactic to children.”

    So what exactly are they supposed to do? I’ve never heard a weaker argument in my life.

  8. Bryan Linden says:
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    Just wanted to mention as well, the website slogan, “Promoting Safety, Protecting Rights” is always contradictory when government gets involved.

  9. Bob says:
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    The only danger they present is to to bottom line of the cessation manufacturing company that spent millions to get these bans in the first place, thereby undermining the entire purpose of smoking bans. Also, unlike Chantix, they have no mind altering drugs and can be safely used by airline pilots, railroad engineers, truck drivers, and others in jobs where public safety is an issue.


    Nicoderm is freely given to kids at school.


  10. up arrow

    I would like to thank all who have posted comments. I have entered a second blog on the subject that I hope will add to the discussion many of the issues.

    You may access it here:


  11. Facebook User says:
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    The staggering divide between the way the FDA’s information is presented and the actual information itself defies moral science. You mean one (1) cartridge out of 19 was found to have a mystery amount of diethylene glycol? Is that a particular reason to be against e-cigarettes?

    I’m interested, Mr. Rossetti, in your opinion: do you feel that e-cigarettes are more dangerous than regular cigarettes? I know there is testing to be done, but so far, how do you feel?

  12. up arrow

    Thank you for your comment, Danno Francis.

    Given the totality of the circumstances that I have mentioned in two blogs on e-cigarettes, the jury is out.

    Whether or not there are any dangers are inherent in the ecig device (and there are many different manufacturers and distributors), or inherent the substance in the ecig cylinder (and there can be many sources, including after market “ecig juice” distributors), the device may or may not be useful. One thing remains clear. The device has to be well tested to determine safety and efficacy, and well regulated to maintain that safety and efficacy.

    Manufacturers have to do more than take a nascent idea, and bring it to the stage of manufacturing and distribution, without any forethought to issues of safety and efficacy. Such a lack of forethought leaves the device a market orphan, to be adopted and then abused by any number of after market entities that have creative and clever, but hasty ideas about how to attract consumers.

    So long as the issues that I have discussed in the two blogs are addressed thoroughly and in a timely fashion, I do not have a mission to assist in any way, in eliminating the device from the market. As I mentioned, such devices, when well regulated and thoroughly tested, probably might serve a commendable purpose.

    Lately, the FDA has been improving its services, extending its reach, and it has been paying substantially more attention than ever, to public health issues. If anyone would have asked my opinion about the FDA just a few years ago, my response would not have been as complimentary.

    Considering the tremendous number variables on both sides of the ecig issue, the question of whether e-cigarettes are more or less dangerous than regular cigarettes is a subject best left to the FDA, and experts in the fields of science and medicine.

  13. VocalEK says:
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    I’d like to share my personal experience here. I struggled for nearly 30 years to give up smoking. Using the FDA-approve NRT products (when they finally became available OTC), I was able to cut back to 1/2 a pack, but from the NRT alone, I could not get an adequate dose of nicotine to control problems with memory, concentration, anxiety, and depression. The e-cigarette is what finally allowed me to throw away my tobacco cigarettes. It was not marketed as a “cessation” product. It was marketed as an alternative to smoking, and that is how I am using it. I now puff vaporized nicotine instead of sucking in tar, particulates, soot, and 4000 harmful chemicals.

    If this product is pulled off the market, I will have to choose between smoking tobacco—in which case my coughing, wheezing, and chronic bronchitis would no doubt come back—or becoming so dysfunctional again that I can’t drive a car or hold down a job. Why should those be my only two choices? I have finally found the one thing that allows both my lungs and my brain to be healthy at the same time.

    If hysteria rules the day, my health will be seriously injured, one way or another. I happen to resent that.

  14. Bryan Arbogast says:
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    the fda is big Phillip morris

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    It’s a no brainer when it come to comparing an Electronic
    Cigarette Vaping to Tobacco Smoking.Which is a greater risk to your
    health, you ask ? Over 400,000 thousand people die each year in the US from
    Tobacoo smoking! Not including worldwide… An Electronic Cigarette has
    been around for 5 years worldwide, you ask how many deaths has there been
    reported within this 5 years from the use of an electronic cigaretts? My
    research shows that 0 reports have been made! The facts are in. Please do
    your research and choose a better alternative thats right for you & for others :)http://www.cigelectronic.com

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    Response to comment

    Posted by Bryan Arbogast
    July 29, 2009 2:21 AM


    “the fda is big Phillip morris”

    Thank you for your comment: I hope not, Bryan.

  17. up arrow

    Response to comment

    Posted by Electronic Ciagerette
    July 29, 2009 1:38 PM

    Beginning with the statement:

    “It’s a no brainer when it come to comparing an Electronic Cigarette Vaping to Tobacco Smoking. Which is a greater risk to your
    health, you ask ?


    Thank you for your important comment concerning e-cig safety. I found a First and Second e-cigarette interim reports that manufacturer, Ruyan e-cigarettes, sponsored on tests that Health New Zealand conducted:





    Please not that the manufacturer uses the word “interim.”

    Please note that I am not posting the two reports as endorsements, or as confirmation of any scientific findings. I am not making a legal statement nor am I suggesting any health related advice.

    However, The Ruyan reports are similar to the types of studies that the FDA might require before clearing an e-cigarette for marketing.

    As far as making any statements that extrapolate beyond a five year period of investigation, it is too early to tell what health consequences might lie ahead for e-cigarette smokers. Nevertheless, Ruyan seems to be making a vigorous effort to pursue that information, and for that reason, should be congratulated concerning its effort.

    If manufacturers like Ruyan cooperate with regulatory agencies, such cooperation ensures greater safety, promotes a better product, and satisfies the preference that consumers may have to assure themselves that their health will not be grossly endangered by using unreasonably unsafe products.

    Without endorsing any particular e-cig manufacturer, I would applaud any manufacturer that might choose to take an approach similar to the one that Ruyan has taken.

    This is the type of cooperation from manufacturers that will enable consumers, healthcare providers, consumer advocates, and regulatory agencies to know all of the information that is necessary to use a product, prescribe a product, regulate a product, or to provide legal counsel to individuals who might sustain an alleged injury after using a product.

    We all need as much information as we all can get in order to make those decisions.

  18. debbie church says:
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    I smoke ecig and have since May 1st. After vaping for two weeks I decided to have a marlboro light. Big mistake I got dizzy and nauseated right away and cold sweats. So when I vape after sleeping all night on my ecig there is no nausea no dizziness and no cold sweats. I would rather use this to cut down on nicotine levels then any other stop smoking aide out there. My breathing is at least 75% better if not more. I have alot more energy and my caugh i had in the morning is not happening anymore either. So I feel the FDA and the Pharm. and Phillip M. rotten dirty bastards are all involved in trying to ban the e-cig from smokers. Also give me a break ” Marketing to youth “. Please tell me thats not how they are going to continue to use youth as their spin against the e-cig. Thats just bs and youth knows that also. Another positive side effect of e-cig vaping. I don’t stink nor do my clothes,car,or home from tabbaco cigs. I don’t miss them at all!!!!!!!

    Another point I would like to make is one of my friends has tried to stop smoking for 9 years now on all other stop smoking aides, and thank God she hasn’t tried that damn pill, anyways for 14 mos she quit on the patch and is back to smoking since March cuz she says it’s way to hard to quit. I told her about the ecig and when shes eady I’m sure she’ll give ecig a try.

  19. up arrow

    Reply to comment

    Posted by debbie church
    August 06, 2009 10:43 PM

    Beginning with the statement

    I smoke ecig and have since May 1st. After vaping for two weeks I decided to have a marlboro light. Big mistake I got dizzy and nauseated right away and cold sweats.

    Thanks for your post, Debbie. I wish you the best health in the future.