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Evidence Suggests Ecigs Safer Than Cigarettes

Doctor Michael Siegel Evidence suggests e-cigs safer than cigarettes

One of our favorite electronic cigarette information contributors is Yale educated Dr. Michael Siegel. He currently works in research for the Boston University School of Public Health and recently wrote the following (also published in the Journal of Public Health Policy)…

In a new report that bucks the concerns raised by the Food and Drug Administration, a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) (sph.bu.edu) researcher concludes that electronic cigarettes are much safer than real cigarettes and show promise in the fight against tobacco-related diseases and death. The review, which will be published online ahead of print this month in the Journal of Public Health Policy, is the first to comprehensively examine scientific evidence about the safety and effectiveness of electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, said Michael Siegel (http://sph.bu.edu/mbsiegel), professor of community health sciences at BUSPH. The battery-powered devices provide tobacco-less doses of nicotine in a vaporized solution.

“Few, if any, chemicals at levels detected in electronic cigarettes raise serious health concerns,” the authors said. “Although the existing research does not warrant a conclusion that electronic cigarettes are safe in absolute terms and further clinical studies are needed to comprehensively assess the safety of electronic cigarettes, a preponderance of the available evidence shows them to be much safer than tobacco cigarettes and comparable in toxicity to conventional nicotine replacement products.”

The report reviewed 16 laboratory studies that identified the components in electronic cigarette liquid and vapor. The authors found that carcinogen levels in electronic cigarettes are up to 1,000 times lower than in tobacco cigarettes.

“The FDA and major anti-smoking groups keep saying that we don’t know anything about what is in electronic cigarettes,” Siegel said. “The truth is, we know a lot more about what is in electronic cigarettes than regular cigarettes.”

Since coming onto the market in the United States more than three years ago, electronic cigarettes have proven to be controversial. The FDA has threatened to ban the sell of e-cigarettes and six national anti-smoking groups – the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Legacy Foundation, and Action on Smoking and Health – have also called for the removal of electronic cigarettes from the market.

Their concerns are that the FDA has not evaluated any e-cigarettes for safety or effectiveness, that the devices contain dangerous chemicals, and that they are marketed toward children. In December, however, a federal appeals court ruled that the FDA should regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products rather than as drug-delivery devices, such as nicotine-replacement patches or gum. The latter undergo much more stringent FDA regulations.

“Taking these products off the market would force thousands of users to return to cigarette smoking,” Siegel said. “Why would the FDA and the anti-smoking groups want to take an action that is going to seriously harm the public’s health? The only ones who would be protected by a ban on e-cigarettes are the tobacco companies, as these new products represent the first real threat to their profits in decades.”

The report also reviews preliminary evidence that electronic cigarettes can be effective in suppressing the urge to smoke, largely because they simulate the act of smoking a real cigarette. E-cigarettes might also offer an advantage over traditional nicotine delivery devices, the authors argue, because smoking-related stimuli alone have been found capable of suppressing tobacco abstinence symptoms for long periods of time.

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The History of Ecigarettes

Electronic cigarettes are a rather new innovation, having only scratched the surface in most parts of the world.  The first electronic cigarette was made by a Chinese man named Hon Lik back in 2003.  It was brought to the open market in the following year.  Lik, a pharmacist, began exporting the products in 2005 and officially obtained a patent for his invention in 2007.  The electronic cigarette revolution began shortly thereafter.

In the United States, the first electronic cigarettes were marketed in suburban shopping malls.  Kiosks, carts, and live demonstrations of the vapor-emitting smokeless cigarette helped spur the growth of the product.  Naturally, as more and more people became involved in the marketing of ecigarettes, the Internet became a hotbed for information and consumers started posting their own reviews.

There are many supporters of these products but, of course, there are detractors as well.  Big Tobacco brands are not cool with their massive market share being chewed up by a product that is completely fine to smoke in bars, restaurants, and other public venues where their products are strictly prohibited. There are lobbyists everywhere trying to stop the importation of electronic smoking devices, and the long-term plan for these devices is still unpredictable.

On the other hand, the support grows every day.  With people out there “vaping” in public and displaying their esmoking devices for the world to see, the recognition of these products grows and people welcome them in bars and pubs.  Even people who work in corporate America are supporting the devices. It makes sense, as employee smoke breaks take time and cut into the profitability of the organization.  An ecigarette can be puffed on anywhere, meaning that since there is no flame, no odor, and no mess, even an office cubicle is a perfectly fine place to smoke the vaporized water solution.

Where electronic cigarettes will go in the future is anyone’s guess…. but for now we’re here to help consumers find out about these awesome devices, and to keep a virtual library of electronic cigarette reviews on file for people to read so they can not only find the best ecigarette for their smoking preference, but also so they can share tips and reviews with like-minded consumers.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to share your own thoughts, comments and suggestions.

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