E-cigarettes, a poor smoking-cessation tool, use 19 harmful chemicals

January 30, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—It's no easy task to quit smoking and the lure of an e-cigarette, which claims to mimic the smoking experience without the harmful chemicals, seems a dream come true for many smokers. But with no FDA regulations, that dream could quickly turn into a nightmare, said Philip McAndrew, MD, Loyola University Health System physician and smoking-cessation expert. The truth is that little is known about the chemicals e-cigarette smokers are inhaling and the increase in the number of adolescents smoking.

"In our culture we have this idea that something new is something better no matter how little we know about it or how little it's regulated," McAndrew said. "There is no clear evidence that e-cigarettes help with and the lack of FDA regulation has led to the use of at least 19 in the devices, some that are cancer-causing carcinogens."

The e-cigarettes contain nicotine, but also a high concentration of , which is a hazard if inhaled. This is what provides the "smoke." There is no research on the effects the chemical has on the lungs when inhaled at this concentration. What is known is that The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health lists propylene glycol as an inhalant risk and recommends immediate fresh air if the chemical is inhaled.

"E-cigarettes are really a wolf in sheep's clothing. People think it's a safe alternative to cigarettes, but the reality is we don't know. There are so many important safety questions we don't have answers to. We don't know who is producing them, exactly what chemicals are in them, if the construction of the devices are safe and the effects these chemicals can have on a person's health," McAndrew said.

The City of Chicago's recent ban on e-cigarettes use is similar to the ban on regular cigarettes and requires retailers to keep electronic cigarettes behind the counter like traditional cigarettes. McAndrew believes this is a good start, but more needs to be done with regulations.

"We were seeing a decline in the number of adolescents , but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the number of middle school and who have tried e-cigarettes doubled in a year. This is a tremendous health risk. The kids see them as a cool, new tech device, but what they really are is an inroad to a nicotine addiction," McAndrew said.

McAndrew also doesn't see them as an effective tool for smoking cessation.

"I am a firm believer in methods that have been proven effective to help people quit smoking such as oral medication, nicotine replacement that is regulated and counseling. That triad has the best percentage of not only helping people to quit but to stay that way," McAndrew said. "E-cigarettes do not separate the nicotine from the oral fixation, which is extremely important when a person is trying to stop smoking."

Explore further: Study finds that smokers who try e-cigarettes to quit are younger and more motivated to quit

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9 comments

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Quasi_Intellectual
not rated yet Jan 30, 2014
Many of my colleagues have switched to e-smoking.
Not the cheap kind either. Huge lightsaber-esque devices with lights and buttons.
There are large communities around this now, and some of my more enthusiastic colleagues are having fun building their own custom pipes and whatnot.
Harmful or not, surely it must be better than smoking?

A quick search also revealed that there are some e-juices containing 100% vegetable glycerin. Wouldn't that reduce the harmful chemicals to just the added nicotine?
freethinking
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 30, 2014
I'm sure it isn't healthy in any way shape or form. BUT since it is only the stupid user of the stupid device that is getting harmed (if at all) then why should I care?

Funny thing about progressives, they complain about and constantly try to regulate the self harm people do with (E)cigarettes, sugar, junk food, Salt, etc. etc. Yet they will not speak the truth and even suppress people what want the speak the truth about the health affect of abnormal sexual activities such as homosexuality.
TopherTO
4 / 5 (4) Jan 30, 2014
I'm sure it isn't healthy in any way shape or form. BUT since it is only the stupid user of the stupid device that is getting harmed (if at all) then why should I care?

Funny thing about progressives, they complain about and constantly try to regulate the self harm people do with (E)cigarettes, sugar, junk food, Salt, etc. etc. Yet they will not speak the truth and even suppress people what want the speak the truth about the health affect of abnormal sexual activities such as homosexuality.


Funny thing about conservatives is they complain about things that make them uncomfortable. Your problem with homosexuality is exactly that...your problem.

Enjoy being miserable, this is a debate you have officially lost kiddo.
The Shootist
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 30, 2014

Enjoy being miserable, this is a debate you have officially lost kiddo.


We are talking about e-cigarettes. What do progressive homosexuals have to do with conservative fags?
progentCT
4.3 / 5 (3) Jan 30, 2014
The article is strong on scare and weak on science. How many PPM of carcinogens are in the e-cigs. How many PPM of carcinogens are in my drinking water? This article has little merit.
klr_wolffy
4 / 5 (3) Jan 31, 2014
Poor cessation tool? If you are using the New Zealand study the numbers come in at 5.8% for the patch and 7.3% for e cigarettes. I would call e cigarettes over 25% more successful than the patch. But what the heck, we are only talking about smokers lives here aren't we?

As for younger smokers being more motivated? I wish to either thank you for lying or suggest you have your eye's checked, at least in my case (and many others). After 40 years of 200 cigarettes a week, numerous times of trying to quit using the patch, inhalers, gum, Zyban and even acupuncture in desperation I found a game changer commonly known as e cigarettes. Tobacco free for 105 days so far and I seriously doubt I'll ever smoke again.

For crying out loud, can't the 'experts' do some reading?
http://www.ecigal...arch.htm
alfie_null
5 / 5 (2) Feb 02, 2014
I'm sure it isn't healthy in any way shape or form. BUT since it is only the stupid user of the stupid device that is getting harmed (if at all) then why should I care?

Don't expect you to care. You've made it clear that's a quality you lack. Something most of us thankfully do have to some degree. Otherwise we wouldn't be able to form the social organizations you live in and depend on.
. . . Yet they will not speak the truth and even suppress people what want the speak the truth about the health affect of abnormal sexual activities such as homosexuality. (sic)

I get intimations about people when they are so outspoken about homosexuality.
janetteselwyn
5 / 5 (1) Feb 03, 2014
Im massive fan of vapourlites it has stopped me smoking any cigarettes, i have so much money saved and now can walk up stairs without wheezing, its a wonder cure
Vape Club
not rated yet Feb 11, 2014
It is abundantly clear from reading this article that Philip McAndrew is either NOT an expert on this subject, or he is deliberately trying to mislead us with sensationalised exaggerations and outright lies. Even the headline is designed to scare - 19 harmful chemicals eh? In what concentrations Philip? And in what concentrations do they occur in tobacco cigarettes? Oh and what are the legal limits for the presence of these chemicals in the air before it is considered dangerous? If you include these facts people may see that you are peddling complete nonsense. If you then include the facts about the 4000 harmful chemicals found in cigarettes, at concentrations which are not safe, then they really will know you are trying to mislead them. What we all really want to know is why?

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