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Old 05-06-2012, 05:00 AM
Swarog Swarog is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 97
Is there any good evidence that e-cigarettes are toxic or otherwise dangerous?

I've been hearing a whole lot of skepticism about the safety of e-cigarettes but very little hard evidence supporting what i would consider anticipatory anxiety.

What I've heard:

e-cigs are an ineffective replacement therapy aimed at quitting cigarette smoking
e-cigs contain the same harmful substances seen in cigarettes
there is no proof that substances inhaled in e cigarettes are any less carcinogenic than tobacco smoke

As far as I'm concerned these all sound like claims of a lack of information, cleverly worded to maybe elicit some preassumptions about the product as yet unaccounted for.

So is there any evidence that e-cigarettes are as dangerous as tobacco smoke, is it less dangerous, how much less or more dangerous is it, any long term or short term consequences??
Old 05-06-2012, 11:50 AM
Turble Turble is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Eastern PA
Posts: 2,053
Cigarette smoke contains somewhere around 4,000 different substances, some of which have been shown to cause cancer.

E-cigarettes contain nicotine, propylene glycol, and some flavoring, none of which have been shown to cause cancer.

The danger of e-cigs is to the bottom line of the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture nicotine patches.
Old 05-06-2012, 01:13 PM
Michael63129 Michael63129 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,616
While not as bad as smoking, e-cigarettes aren't completely harmless either; nicotine itself is a vasoconstrictor and can thus cause cardiovascular problems (increased blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, etc, ulcers and possibly gum disease and oral cancer). Also, some e-cigarettes use chemicals that are known carcinogens, as stated in this FDA advisory from 2009 (though they might have reformulated since then, but then they are mostly made in China and everybody knows about their attitude towards harmful substances).
Old 05-06-2012, 01:20 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sweet Home Chicago
Posts: 33,496
Most ecig brands also have cartridges without any nicotine at all, so the nicotine is entirely vaper's choice.
Old 05-06-2012, 08:34 PM
Fridgemagnet Fridgemagnet is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Hampshire, UK
Posts: 626
Here you go: 'Safe' Electronic Cigarettes Leak Carcinogenics from electronic design. I'll be sticking to nicotine gum then. Or cigarettes.
Old 05-06-2012, 09:01 PM
Airman Doors, USAF Airman Doors, USAF is offline
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 13,963
Originally Posted by Fridgemagnet View Post
Here you go: 'Safe' Electronic Cigarettes Leak Carcinogenics from electronic design. I'll be sticking to nicotine gum then. Or cigarettes.
I respectfully submit that whatever might be in the mix, either real or imagined, is still better for the smoker than an actual cigarette. Additionally, not everything is made in China or the like. Last, until someone demonstrates that water vapor is harmful to the environment or non-smokers, I'm not terribly interested in the opinions of non-smokers regarding its health as it is just another part of the anti-smoking crusade.
Old 05-06-2012, 09:30 PM
Crazyhorse Crazyhorse is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 3,245
Most of the illnesses associated with tobacco use take many years to develop. E-cigs have only been available for a few years. There haven't been many valid studies done yet, and as noted upthread, most interested parties have a financial stake in either traditional tobacco products or e-cigs.

Here is one of the few available scientific studies I can find that was performed by researchers with no financial stake in either tobacco or e-cigs that has been published in a respected scientific journal. 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.

In a new report that bucks the concerns raised by the Food and Drug Administration, a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) 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 [...]

"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 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." [...]

Siegel, MD, has 25 years of experience in the field of tobacco control and claims no financial interest in e-cigarettes.[...]

The report can be accessed on the Journal of Public Health Policy website.
Old 05-06-2012, 09:42 PM
Turble Turble is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Eastern PA
Posts: 2,053
Notice that the link from Fridgemagnet is an article by a staff writer in an electronics magazine, not a scientific study.

The study mentioned in that article is not really my idea of an unbiased scientific study.:
Kamlesh Asotra of the University of California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program - which part-funded the study - confirmed that "virtually nothing is known about the toxicity of the vapours generated by these e-cigarettes."
And it still makes no specific claims, only vague scare words.

Also from that article:
The USFDA did stop the importation of e-cigarettes on the grounds they are an unapproved drug-delivery devices. However, two electronic cigarette manufacturers took the USFDA to court to oppose this action and somehow managed to win.
Those manufacturers “managed to win” because the FDA claims were bogus. The claims of toxic chemicals in the e-cigarettes weren't made by the FDA but by organizations with an agenda.

I am quite certain of my statements because in the article linked to by Michael63129
… the FDA said it has been examining and detaining shipments of e-cigarettes at the border. So far, 50 shipments have been seized ...
one of those 50 shipments seized by customs was mine.
Old 05-07-2012, 01:01 PM
thatguyjeff thatguyjeff is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 324
Originally Posted by Swarog View Post

So is there any evidence that e-cigarettes are as dangerous as tobacco smoke, is it less dangerous, how much less or more dangerous is it, any long term or short term consequences??
I've searched the web fairly thoroughly - out of personal curiosity. The real truth is that the jury is still out. I could find no study showing any harm - either increased harm vs. tobacco cigarettes or FDA approved replacement therapy (gum/patch). Most evidence shows significant harm reduction, but that evidence is not accepted yet as fact.

I did find a New Zealand study that concluded ecigs are totally harmless - save for any known nicotine side effects, including second hand exposure.

There is no complete (long term) US study available. But, initial studies are promising. And while SOME samples of China produced ecig liquid included carcinogens, no US manufacturers were tested.

US manufacturers generally list their ingredients on their websites (though I don't believe there is a requirement to do so). Their ingredients are all individually FDA approved, pharmaceutical/food grade components.

Producers of both the devices and the liquid used in them are neither pharmaceutical companies or cigarette companies (though I read very recently that a tobacco company did buy out an ecig company). Both pharma and tobacco have a vested interest in seeing ecigs fail.


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