Electronic cigarettes should be banned as they contain cancer-causing chemicals, experts declare

If you are addicted to various electronic gizmos, and used to carry a cell phone, PDA, laptop and iPod, you should bear in mind that there is one electronic device that you should not use: an electronic cigarette.

The recent laboratory tests performed by FDA experts, who analyzed 19 samples of electronic cigarettes, which have been found to contain carcinogens, including nitrosamines and even diethylene glycol, the toxic component in antifreeze. The tests also showed that all 19 samples contained various levels of nicotine, although some claimed that they were nicotine-free.

E-cigs have been touted by their distributors as healthier than cheap cigarettes onlinesince they do not involve burning. As they are operated by battery, the nicotine is heated and inhaled by users, emitting white mist, resembling second-hand smoke. The electronic cigarettes can be easily bought in one of 4,000 kiosks across the nation or online, with a price for a starter kit varying from $40 to $100. According to the Electronic Cigarette Association, representing e-cigs distributors, sales have gone up from almost $10 million to more than $100 million during the last 12 months. The devices also provide diverse flavorings, among which are chocolate, cherry and bubblegum, what is proven to be a temptation for minors.

The majority of electronic cigarettes are manufactured in China, notorious for its toxic infant milk-powder and other hazardous products. During a news conference the FDA officials admitted that they have been concerned with the lack of quality control monitoring during the production of electronic cigarettes.

Moreover, due to the controversy between claims of manufacturers and reality, several countries, including Australia and Thailand prohibited sale and use of electronic cigarettes, citing unclear health risks. Many public health groups, like American Cancer foundation, Smoke-Free America, and others wrote a collective letter to the FDA asking the agency to detain the sales of the devices at American market.

Although manufacturers affirm that e-cigs are safe and healthy, experts argue that the method of nicotine delivery is very controversial, since it includes direct inhaling into lungs and therefore, accelerated delivery to the brain that intensifies nicotine’s addictive features even more. Experts as well stated that the products are attracting the adolescents and younger adults into trying them and could be a first step to start smoking ordinary cigarettes. Physicians admit that the electronic cigarettes can not be compared to nicotine replacement therapies, as they do not provide any help in stopping the addiction and do not break the physical part of the smoking habit related to hand-to-mouth practice.

The finding of carcinogens and other poisonous chemicals in at least two samples of these devices can prompt the FDA to crack down the sales of these products and file a lawsuit against their distributors due to misleading claims of products’ safety. However, the FDA has yet to decide whether to ban the sales of products which samples were tested.

Prof. Barry Popkin from North Carolina State University Department of Clinical Medicine said that Electronic cigarettes should necessarily be banned since they deliver toxins and carcinogens and do not contribute to kicking down the smoking habit.

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