Beware of e-cigs they are death sticks too Manufacturers & Critics lock horns over report that e-cigs are risky RAVI P. AGRAHARI (Science & Technology)
ELECTRIC SMOKEChain smokers who wished to kick the butt had cheered when scientists developed the electronic cigarette in 2004, thinking it could effectively replace a “real“ cigarette.But here’s a reality check for those who wish to switch to the “healthier” electronic cigarettes in the smug belief that it is “not the same as a normal puff”
Six year after the cigarette was developed, proper medical studies are yet to be conducted to gauge how harmless- or harmful- these products actually are.The manufacturers of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, promote the product saying it can help addicts kick the butt more effectively. But critics have blasted these claims.E-cigs contain nicotine of varying levels of potency and this, they claimed may be a “gateway to nicotine addiction”.The debate came to the force once again after reports linking nicotine to breast cancer emerged.
Researchers from Taipei Medical University looked at both breast cancer cells and normal cells to see if nicotine promoted tumour growth at a cellular level.Normal cigarettes are known to contain at least 60 cancer causing substances including carbon mono oxide, tar and arsenic, but until now nicotine had not been on the list.Dr Yuan-Soon Ho and his team found when normal cells were treated with nicotine in the laboratory it promoted the development of cancer characteristics. Like wise reducing the level of nicotine inhibited tumour growth.
The findings published in The Journal of the national cancer institute, could be a major blow to makers of nicotine- based electronic cigarettes that are promoted as a “healthy alternative” for smokers.The e-cig was developed in 2004 but in september 2008, The world Health Organisation (WHO) announced that it did not consider it to be a legitimate smoking cessation aid.It also demanded that marketers remove from their materials any suggestion that the WHO considered electronic cigarette “safe and effective”. “No rigorous, peer- reviewed studies have been conducted showing that the electronic cigarette is a safe and effective nicotine replacement therapy”, it said.
“If the marketers of the electronic cigarette want to help smokers quit, then they need to conduct clinical and toxicity studies”.The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also expressed similar views last may. The FDA’s pharmaceutical analysis division tested the contents of 19 varieties of electronic cigarette cartridges produced by two vendors (Njoy and smoking every where).Diethylene glycol (a toxic substance) and various carcinogen were detected in one of the catridges manufacture by smoking every where. Tobacco- specific nitosamines were detected in almost all cartridges. The analysis also found traces of nicotine in some “nicotine- free” cartridges. In july 2009, the FDA issued a press release discouraging the use of electronic cigarettes.
The report sparked an immediate debate between health authority and e-cig manufacturers. In response to the FDA studies, the Electronic Cigarette Association claimed that the testing was too “narrow to reach any valid and reliable conclusions”.
• The Electronic Cigarette, or e-cigarette, is a patented sophisticated electronic device that atomizes purified, eliquid nicotine and produces a vapor that, when inhaled, satisfies a smokers craving for nicotine. The vapor contains none of the 4000 chemicals commonly found in traditional cigarette smoke. The Electronic Cigarette contains 20 food safe compounds, none of which are considered poisonous or carcinogenic. When the vapor is expelled, it does not contain any of the chemicals found in second hand smoke. Tests done conclusively prove that:-• The electronic cigarette does not produce anything harmful to bystanders It does not produce tar or carbon monoxide. Additionally, since the product does not contain tobacco or create smoke of any kind, it can be used where smokers cannot smoke and where they would not smoke, such as restaurants, bars, airports, etc.
HOW IT WORKS:How does the electronic cigarette, or e- cigarette, work? The Electronic Cigarette uses modern microelectronic technology, a rechargeable lithium battery and a unique, safe replaceable cartridge. When using the E-cigarette, drawing on it produces the physiological effect that a smoker seeks, and starts an atomizing process that releases a vapor mist that evaporates into the air within a few seconds. No smoke, no smell.