FDA Turns Its Sights on E-Cigarettes

The electronic cigarette is a battery-powered gadget that transforms nicotine and other substances into an inhaled vapor. While e-cigarettes have been marketed as a safer alternative to tobacco smoke, which is drawn into the lungs and increases cancer risks, but so far it has grown without any regulations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA doesn’t regulate e-cigarettes—at least for now— and the safety and efficacy of e-cigarettes have not been fully studied. (Water pipes are another unsafe alternative to smoking.) Because of the lack of information, consumers of e-cigarette products currently have no way of knowing whether e-cigarettes are safe for their intended use, how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled during use, or if there are any benefits associated with using these products.

Additionally, it is not known if e-cigarettes may lead young people to try other tobacco products, including conventional cigarettes, which are known to cause disease and lead to premature death. (Smoking doubles womens’ chances of a sudden cardiac death.)

Beyond the nicotine, one of the major ingredients in most electronic cigarettes is propylene glycol, which is also found in antifreeze and de-icing fluid.

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