In their ever-diabolical efforts to sell their dangerous wares, cigarette manufacturers and marketers have created a new smoke screen... electronic cigarettes, which are touted as a safe alternative to smoking. These are small, battery-powered, refillable devices that resemble traditional cigarettes but don’t actually burn tobacco. While the product is said to contain "only" pure nicotine (which is unsafe), a recent FDA analysis indicates nicotine is not the only danger they present.
"E-cigarettes" are positioned in a way similar to nicotine patches and chewing gums, as being helpful to smokers trying to kick the habit, according to Steven Marcus, MD, of the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey. The new "fake cigarettes" supposedly contain just liquid nicotine -- but a recent FDA report found nitrosamines in half the samples from the two leading brands tested. Dr. Marcus made it a point to say that "you should not get nitrosamines unless you burn something" and that "these things are not supposed to burn." Nitrosamines are the key carcinogens in tobacco. So the question is, if there is nothing burning in e-cigarettes, then where do the nitrosamines come from?
Also curious was the fact that manufacturers chose to produce the e-cigarettes in a variety of flavors, from chocolate to cherry in addition to the traditional tobacco flavor. (Note: The FDA just banned flavoring in actual cigarettes.) Though of course older folks may like these, too, they seem especially appealing to kids -- and e-cigarettes are primarily sold online, where age restrictions aren’t enforceable. Dr. Marcus told me he is concerned about the potential for misuse of the product, which can result in an overdose of nicotine, and be dangerous to the heart. The bottom line, he says, is "this is nicotine, this is dangerous, and the goal should be to stop smoking."
Source: Steven Marcus, MD, executive director, New Jersey Poison Information & Education System, professor at University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey.