Electronic Cigarettes Still Pose Serious Health Risks
Touted as a safe substitute to highly addictive tobacco products, research has shown that electronic cigarettes are unsafe, and might soon be removed from the market.
Last week, the University of California, Riverside announced that e-cigarettes are potentially harmful to users’ health, and urged regulators to consider removing e-cigarettes from the market until their safety is adequately evaluated.
Instead of burning tobacco like normal cigarettes, e-cigarettes vaporize the nicotine, along with other compounds present in the cartridge, in the form of aerosol created by heating. While this eliminates the thousands of chemicals and toxicants created by tobacco combustion, there are still chemicals present in the aerosolized vapors emanating from e-cigarettes.
Concerned that e-cigarettes, also called “electronic nicotine delivery systems,” might not be as safe as they appear, UCR researchers evaluated five of the most popular brands on the market.
What They Found:
1. Batteries, atomizers, cartridges, cartridge wrappers, packs and instruction manuals lack important information regarding e-cigarette content, use and essential warnings.
2. E-cigarette cartridges leak, which could expose nicotine, an addictive and dangerous chemical, to children, adults, pets and the environment.
3. There are no methods for proper disposal of e-cigarettes products and accessories, which could result in nicotine contamination from discarded cartridges entering water sources and soil, and adversely impacting the environment.
“Some people believe that e-cigarettes are a safe substitute for conventional cigarettes,” said Prue Talbot, the director of UC Riverside’s Stem Cell Center, whose lab led the research.
“However, there are virtually no scientific studies on e-cigarettes and their safety. Our study – one of the first studies to evaluate e-cigarettes – shows that this product has many flaws, which could cause serious public health problems in the future if the flaws go uncorrected.”
The results from the study have now been published online at Tobacco Control.
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