Harvey B. Simon, M.D.

Electronic cigarettes: Help or hazard?

Kicking the cigarette habit is one of the best things that smokers can do for themselves. Nicotine replacement products, prescription medications, and counseling can all help. What about the newest tobacco substitute, the electronic cigarette? Despite the appeal of so-called e-cigarettes, we don’t know enough about their safety or effectiveness to give them the green light.

Electronic cigarettes come in a variety of shapes. Some look like cigarettes, pipes, or cigars, while others are disguised as pens or other more socially acceptable items. Whatever their shape, they all are built around a battery-operated heating element, a replaceable cartridge that contains nicotine and other chemicals, and an atomizer that converts the chemicals into an inhalable vapor.

A study published this spring in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine concluded that electronic cigarettes may help smokers quit. Whether they are a safe way to quit is another question—preliminary studies from the FDA, New Zealand, and Greece raise some concerns.

There are three reasons to worry about electronic cigarettes. First, the dose of nicotine delivered with each puff may vary substantially. An FDA analysis recorded nicotine doses between 26.8 and 43.2 micrograms per puff. It also detected nicotine in products labeled as nicotine free.

Second, electronic cigarettes deliver an array of other chemicals, including diethylene glycol (a highly toxic substance), various nitrosamines (powerful carcinogens found in tobacco), and at least four other chemicals suspected of being harmful to humans. To be sure, the dose of these compounds is generally smaller than found in “real” cigarette smoke. But it isn’t zero.

Third, by simulating the cigarette experience, electronic cigarettes might reactivate the habit in ex-smokers. They could also be a gateway into tobacco abuse for young people who are not yet hooked.

We need scientific studies of e-cigarettes. Until then, it’s caveat emptor, buyer beware. And be aware that there are better and safer ways to quit. The most effective strategy involves using nicotine replacement or a medication along with some sort of counseling or support, either in person, by telephone, or even by text message.

If you want to quit, solid information and advice are available at www.smokefree.gov, a Web site developed by the National Cancer Institute. Any of the approved methods are vastly preferable to smoking—and to electronic cigarettes.

Dr. Harvey Simon is Editor of the Harvard Men’s Health Watch, a monthly newsletter written to help men lead healthier, longer lives.

Comments:

  1. David

    If you’re a smoker, quiting tobacco outright is obviously the healthiest thing you can do. Unfortunately, millions of people have a very tough time doing it due to the highly additive nature of nicotine. I’m not an MD, but I’m pretty sure about this: all alternatives to smoking tobacco bring their own hazards and risks, but few, if any, are as bad for you as continuing to smoke. Switching to electronic cigarettes in particular seems to me to be a viable alternative with fewer health risks than continuing to smoke tobacco. You can even select a liquid that does not contain nicotine. Many people (myself included) have sucessfully used electronic cigarettes to kick the tobacco habit. I respect your intentions here, but please don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  2. Cassie Miller

    For me even electronic cigarettes is no good. Cigarettes or electronic cigarettes are always bad to our health and never be good. the best way to get away from this is to gradually stop smoking.

    • Mary

      That is not really helpful information. Well not to someone who has been smoking 38 yrs. I have tried cold turkey,gradually cutting down, patches which I was allergic to the glue! I tried the gum, and 2 meds. The last med had risks of strokes and kidney failure! Also one of the meds put me in a zombie state, didn’t want to smoke or eat and could not leave my house because I could not drive. So I am thankful for my e-cig.I finally found something that works.

    • Mary

      Also after taking a little trip to your link I realized you are in a different zone and you should be posting your self harm link somewhere else. I started smoking @ 12 because my Father handed me a cigarette. They did not have all the warnings back then so he was not purposely harmimg me either. I kept smoking because back then it was considered to be the COOL thing for teenagers to do. My Friends smoked in high school. I married someone who smoked. My Parents & GrandParents smoked. For many years I enjoyed smoking. Not any more and that’s why when a Heart doctor told me about e-cigs I came home & ordered some. We have 4 Children and only 1 smokes so I let him know I have ordered him some also. Smoking is not about self harm. I was amazed to see you have a person laying down with drugs all around them on your site. We are not out of our minds or passed out when smoking a cigarette.

    • Mary

      Thank You for removing your link.

  3. Michael

    What a bunch of crock.

    “We don’t know much about it, therefore it must be bad”! What kind of logic is that?

    As for your three points of “concern”:

    1. Variation in nicotine dose per puff? What, the way there’s a variation per puff of a real cigarette? Of course there’s going to be variation.

    Raising this as an issue is like saying “there’s different amounts of caffeine per sip of coffee”.

    How big is a sip? How big is a puff? In practice, does it make any difference?

    This isn’t a pill or an injection. It’s a consumer product.

    2. As you say, the dose is smaller than in cigarettes. Seeing as this product is meant as a replacement, that sounds like a benefit and not a cause for concern.

    That aside, the fact that those substances are present at all is not intended. IE, their presence is an issue of production quality. Not of electronic cigarettes in general.

    Seeing as the study you’re taking that information from tested liquids from China, I don’t see why this should be surprising. Or how it is relevant to the concept of e-cigarettes in general.

    The substances that are actually supposed to be in the liquid have been shown to be harmless to humans.

    3. So… if someone chooses to use a nicotine product, they might become addicted to nicotine (again).

    … Thank you for this insightful revelation, doctor.

    For production values to increase, for more studies to be done, for more conclusive information to exist on electronic cigarettes… they must first be given a chance to evolve and be used. Bashing them like this does not help.

    Most importantly though:

    EVERY DAY, over 13,000 (!!!) people worldwide die from using tobacco cigarettes. In the ten odd years that e-cigarettes have been around not a single person has died from using them.

    Given that alone, bashing them like this is extremely irresponsible. Especially for a medical professional.

    Even if they’re not the best alternative, a much safer alternative they are nonetheless. And there are people out there for whom it has been the only alternative that worked. Would you prefer they had kept smoking tobacco?

  4. techie

    Why is this article bashing e-cigs so much? All the author is saying is that they are not convinced that they are better than any other alternative methods..ie gum, patches, etc. However, what he fails to make crystal clear is that e-cigs are exponentially better than the real thing. When a substance heats up to the point where it almost reaches combustion, producing vapor, is so much more healthier than inhaling actual combustion or smoke. Sounds like philip morris was the true author of this article.

    Tom

  5. Tom Lewis

    “Despite the appeal of so-called e-cigarettes, we don’t know enough about their safety or effectiveness to give them the green light.”

    So find out! Who’s job is it to collect this information?
    I contend that you as the writer of this article assume that responsibility.

    • P.J. Skerrett

      Tom –

      The “we” here means society/science. In other words, there hasn’t been enough solid information collected in solid studies to say anything reliable or definitive about the safety or effectiveness of electronic cigarettes.

  6. David

    Perfect example of what’s wrong, here we have a Harvard Associate Professor of Medicine “Dr. Harvey Simon” who is just regurgitating this misinformation found in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine without using any common since, not doing any farther research, not even trying to digging up any government and private sector research that’s been around over 70 years. It is obviously just a cut and paste job, then signed his name on it. Very poor reporting, not good medical advice, and even worst considering he is the chief editor. I know middle school kids who can do a better more informed job than Dr. Simon produced here. He’s either lazy, ignorant, or there’s a money trail behind the scenes. Most likely all three.

    David H.

  7. Mike

    1. “To be sure, the dose of these compounds is generally smaller than found in “real” cigarette smoke. But it isn’t zero.” So then we should just keep smoking instead and be exposed to higher levels of these substances, as well as the other 4000 poisons found in cigarettes but not in nicotine vapors? That makes sense….
    2. “An FDA analysis recorded nicotine doses between 26.8 and 43.2 micrograms per puff.” And nowhere near those amounts are actually taken into the bloodstream during vaping. It is actually a very inefficient way to get your nicotine when compared to tobacco use. The FDA study was a fishing expedition to create a basis for regulation – otherwise they would have done blood toxicology to see how much nicotine was actual being introduced to the bloodstream vs. traditional tobacco use. Shoddy science at it’s best.
    3. “electronic cigarettes deliver an array of other chemicals, including diethylene glycol (a highly toxic substance)” Bullsh**. E-juice is made with PROPYLENE glycol, or vegetable glycol, not diethylene glycol. Propylene glycol is used as a food and pharmaceutical additive and is very safe. Any toxic effect would require you to ingest massive amounts over a very short period of time. The same can be said of water. It is approved by the FDA to be ingested.
    4. “They could also be a gateway into tobacco abuse for young people who are not yet hooked.” Ya know what else is a gateway into tobacco use? Tobacco. Kids are going to smoke if they want to smoke, period.

    Yes, I use e-cigs. My Doctor approves. I can actually breath again. I’m bypassing 4000 toxic substances. My use no longer puts those around me at risk. Oh yeah…and a habit that used to cost me $160/month now costs me only $40. I will listen to any valid argument that might come up against the safety of e-cigs, so long as it is backed with real science and not straw-man arguments and poorly controlled tests designed to justify bureaucratic involvement.

  8. Mary

    A heart doctor told me about e cigs 2 weeks ago. He said it is healthier than tobacco cigarettes. Informed me that it is not nicotine that is bad for peoples health but the tar,smoke and 2 thousand chemicals. I have been smoking since 12 years old and I am now 51 years old. I am excited and thankful that a doctor told me to try it. It is working for me and I have tried cold turkey to patches and even some meds. and NO I don’t like to smoke. I am addicted and go into bad withdrawals when tried cold turkey to the point of brain malfunction (couldn’t concentrate). After all it has been in my system since 12 yrs old. My brain & body developed with nicotine. I find it upsetting that it is legal for the government to make profits from allowing the sale of tobacco and now there is actually a medical diagnosis code > 305.1 Tobacco Use Disorder. Ban the sale of tobacco would have been a good idea.

    • Mike

      Banning the sale of tobacco would only create a black market that would be controlled by violent drug dealers, just like marijuana is now and alcohol was during Prohibition.

    • Mary

      I know you are right about the black market but I don’t think it would link in to hard core violence. Even I would not hurt someone for a cigarette. (I would just eat & eat) Just would not be easily accessable and therefore would lead to less addictions which mostly starts off in the teens. My reasoning is they won’t ban it because of the tax profit.

  9. Marie Sykes

    As a former smoker of 20+ years I know just how difficult it is to quit smoking. I had tried every NRT method going plus hypnotherapy and I even attended Allen Carr’s workshop. None of it worked for me, but the electronic cigarettes did! Electronic cigarettes contain just nicotine (like what is used in other NRT products)and Propylene Glycol, which is an organic compound and is present in many foods, toothpastes, mouthwashes and more. Compared to traditional cigarettes that contain 4000+ toxic chemicals (many of which are carcinogenic/cancer causing) it seems like a no brainer to me. I gave up using electronic cigarettes and if they help people stop, then that has to be good.
    Marie of http://www.e-smokereviews.com

  10. Robert Stackman

    As a Dental Hygienist that is adept at treating advanced periodontal disease using lasers and other clinical techniques E Cigs have now become one of those techniques. Smoke by virtue of making a mouth Drier Dirtier and Driving bacteria deeper into the gingiva to become anarobic instead of aerobic normal bacterial flora the E Cig helps to control and arrest periodontal disease. Smokers are so unaware of the effects of SMOKE on Dental Health which in turn criticaly wounds systemic health—RDH, BA RphT Navy HM1 IDC

  11. Ayfiel

    I think both of the electric or convensional ciggaretes have the same dangerous for our health. All of them are full of poison.

  12. Anonymous

    Most of the people may have learned there is certainly commonly a link involving diet regime and also headaches. nEvertheless, you could possibly be shocked to understand just how numerous foods have been located to become difficult.

  13. Brad

    Great article post! I don’t understand why people even question whether or not these are better for you. There is none of the harsh chemicals as in a regular cigarette. Doesn’t that say enough right there. If they were really that bad for you and not a healthier alternative then the FDA wouldn’t have approved them… Very informative post much appreciated.

  14. Anonymous

    I strongly believe the electronic cigarettes can help people quit smoking as it offers a combination of physical and chemical similarities to actual cigarettes. I do think though that cigarette smoking is also psychological despite the obvious addictive chemicals within. Thus it’s not surprising that an electronic cigarette may be more effective than say a patch or nicotine gum as it actually simulates the action of smoking. Thank you for the insight I really enjoyed the article.

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  16. Martin

    I really don’t care what anyone says…..sorry, but the damn things really helped me kick the cigarette habit. I have tried various methods, but finally something that really helped me. You still need will power, the e cig alone is not going to do the job. And it has to be much better to inhale than cigarettes with its hundreds of added chemicals. I believe it should be regulated and I think it will be when they figure out how to tax it and still get the same tobacco tax dollars they are sooo addicted to.

    The excuse that these are aimed at teens is a bunch of crock….most teens don’t have $80 to spend on it when they can get a pack for 5 to 8 dollars.

    • David Swank

      I know what your saying. no matter what product that comes out people say its not safe but ill tell you what its about 200% safier than cigs. and people say its just better to quit cold turkey. easy comming from people who dont know what the addictions like. but if it was that easy then 75% of america wouldent be so fat if they could just stop eating soo much. like i said easier said then done. this product will save more lives than it takes.

  17. Brad

    Being a smoker for about 12 years and then becoming and E Cig smoker I actually do believe they are healthier. In the amount of time that I have been smoking the E Cigs I have noticed some wrinkles fading away and my ability to breathe has gotten a lot better as well. So if E Cigs weren’t really better I don’t think the 2 things I mentioned would be a possibility. Of course Nicotine isn’t healthy for you just like a soda pop, but considering your not getting any of the harsh chemicals as you are in a real cigarette should pretty much tell you they are healthier right there alone. I believe in them and created a website to give information regarding them [URL removed by moderator] and have also written mulitple articles. So my vote would have to be they are healthier for you. Great post though appreciate the great info

    Cheers

    Brad

  18. Don

    I believe that even if they are unhealthy, if used as a smoking cessation device or program, electronic cigarettes do deserve a place. Anything that helps people quit smoking provides a huge social service in the long run.

  19. Jcdew67

    It seems that Electricman is someone who is just trying to start a argument or is just a ignorant anti-smoker.

    I never wanted to quit smoking,I went to E-Cigs because of cost(I got laid off and money was tight).After being a smoker for 34 years I was fed up with the prices of tobacco.

    I haven’t had a analog in 2 years(still vaping) and my health is amazing.I haven’t been sick one day and not a single sinus headache,I used to get them ALL the time when I smoked.
    According to Electricman andyone who eats Potatoes,Tomatoes and other Vegetables are also smokers since those contain Nicotine.
    A lot of great posts in this article(except Electricman’s).
    I am so glad I switched to E-Cigs,the cost was a lot cheaper and it showed me what I had been missing while I smoked.(I started smoking when I was 10 years old)

  20. Action Polisher

    Great information about electronic cigarettes. It is interesting how people try to quit smoking, but buy these to still simulate smoking.

  21. rob

    E-cigarettes are safe and effective. However, one should consider the removal of the action itself when attempting to stop a habit. Nicotine gum, lozenges, patches, and inhalers are a better alternative. Nicotine gum is especially effective when choosing to stop smokeless tobacco as well.

  22. kettlebell swing

    Interesting article about the pros and cons of e-cigsarettes. Thanks for sharing.

  23. HTS3371D

    Ecigs have really helped me when I get stressed I keeps me from buying a pack of camels…

  24. Anonymous

    I think electronic cigarettes is good then others real
    cigarettes, thanks for this useful information.

  25. All of these articles have saved me a lot of headaches.

    • JABER

      I just recently purchased this ecigs and found very intersting and helpfull in the aspect of being away from:
      Smell and bad breath.

      They can be taken inside the car or the room without harm to parteners.

      The only thing concerning me is the worries weather i would able to get rid of them as well or not. Great idea and good flavor and no much headeache in quiting the normal cigarett.

  26. Brett Haifa

    All of these articles have saved me a lot of headaches.

  27. overland Park Fitness Trainer

    Nice information, thanks to share with us this helpful information, about electronic cigarettes…
    [URL removed by moderator]

  28. John Khan

    This is very useful post for young generation.
    Hoping more posts from you.

  29. Sarah

    Ive literally just found out that Im pregnant. I am (or should say was) a 20 a day smoker and have been smoking for 21 years. I intend to buy nicotine free cartridges and the E-cig as I think the mere action of inhaling would help me as Im going through major withdrawal. Does anyone know if there are any other ingredient in the vapour etc that would be harmful to pregnant women? (when I say harmful I mean moreso than cigarettes) I would only intend to use it for a week or so till Im over the worst. Fully appreciate that the best scenario is just to quit full stop but my blood pressure has gone up and the doc says that additional stress could cause more harm to the baby than minimal smoking but I dont want to have another cigarette ever again. Just need a bit of a crutch for a few days. Any advice or comments would be grateful received.

  30. fitness trainer melbourne(http://www.higherlevel.com.au/melbourne-trainer/)

    well,,,,
    very nice and informational….
    thanks for article…

  31. R. William Davis

    Quote: “. . .electronic cigarettes deliver an array of other chemicals, including diethylene glycol (a highly toxic substance). . .”

    You’d think that a publication with a high profile name like Harvard would explain the concept of research to the individuals who write for it. It is apparent from this writer’s use of the diethylene glycol statement above that no such education was offered, or that Harvey B. Simon, M.D., Editor in Chief, who wrote this shoddy article, wasn’t paying attention.

    The “trace” of diethylene glycol which was allegedly found by the FDA testers was in one sample. The amount found was not significant in terms of toxicity, and was found only in the liquid, not the vapor which would be inhaled. Other tests of a variety of electronic cigarette products have not produced even one similar discovery. However, this claim has been adopted and now, among those who have some financial stake in the tobacco or pharmaceutical industries, or are just unprofessional “educators,” this chemical has been mysteriously promoted to a main ingredient in all electronic cigarette products.

    Nothing could be farther from the truth. Harvard Health Publications should investigate this case of clear propaganda disguised as scholarly writing. Unless, of course, Harvard’s reputation isn’t important to them.

  32. Martin

    I agree that this article is flawed. IMHO, eSigs positives greatly exceed the negatives. I feel one of the greatest positives is that the smoker of the eSig does not harm anyone near that person. I have read countless articles of people that have died of lung cancer even though the person was a non-smoker. That person lived with a smoker previously for many years.

  33. Health Coach

    I’m not sure that electronic cigarettes are all that useful as a smoking cessation aid. For people that are not going to quit, I think they are an improvement over actually smoking. They still perpetuate the habituation to a hit of nicotine though, which is what fuels the addiction.

    • Elaine Keller

      It’s very confusing to the public when experts like yourself say “smoking cessation” when what they really mean is “nicotine cessation.” E-cigarettes were not intended to be a nicotine cessation product. There are plenty of those out there on the market already, and the problem is they don’t work. This is not due to any intrinsic flaw in those products, so much as the fact that nicotine abstinence is unworkable for the majority of smokers. So when treatment ends, relapse begins. And then their doctors tell them, “You really must quit” so they try again, and once more manage to quit smoking while treatment lasts, only to relapse again.

      Now let’s talk about why nicotine abstinence doesn’t work. The Royal College of Physicians 2007 report, “Harm reduction in nicotine addiction: Helping people who can’t quit” should be required reading for any health professional who treats smokers. The report presents a review of the research and point out that changes in brain structure impair the ability to achieve and maintain abstinence. Some smokers may never be able to quit all nicotine use, and half of these will die of smoking-related disease unless we change how we approach the problem.

      Those “withdrawal symptoms” that you have been taught only last a couple of days–weeks at most–are actually symptoms of underlying conditions that do not go away for about 2/3 of smokers. The severity remains or returns to quit-day level and stays there indefinitely. How well would you be able to perform your work responsibilities if your abilities to read, remember, concentrate, pay attention, think, and communicate were impaired?

      E-cigarettes are an alternative that allows the nicotine-dependent person to remain functional while significantly reducing risks of smoking-related diseases. The risks are reduced by removing exposure to the things that cause those diseases: tar, CO, particulates, and thousands of chemicals created by the process of combustion. The concept is called Tobacco Harm Reduction.

      It seems to be a popular belief among the tobacco control community that continued use of nicotine makes it a certainty that the patient will return to smoking. This theory is belied by the experience of thousands of e-cigarette switchers who report that they have no urges whatsoever to smoke. I’m one of them. I have been smoke-free for 2-1/2 years.

      Sweden has the lowest smoking rate and the lowest lung cancer rate of any country in Europe. The largest factor in this “Swedish miracle” has been the wide-spread use of snus, a type of low-nitrosamine, spit-free tobacco product. Smokers who completely switch to snus have no greaters rates of cancer or cardiovascular disease than former smokers who gave up all use of tobacco.

      Encouraging smokers who can’t quit to switch to non-combustible sources of nicotine such as e-cigarettes, snus, dissolvable tobacco products, and even long-term use of NRTs could save millions of lives and billions of dollars in health care costs. The savings in misery? Priceless.

    • MattZuke

      “They still perpetuate the habituation to a hit of nicotine though, which is what fuels the addiction.”

      Further research is needed in this area, however, keep in mind that it’s the status quo for 1 in 7 people to continue smoking until death, where the odds of an early death are 50%.

      The addiction already exists, so hypothetically the risk of continued addiction is equal. Well, except it’s not since there are other alkaloids in tobacco that play a role in nicotine reinforcement, and real cigarettes are formulated to generate freebase nicotine. There are no studies to back this up, but there is every reason to believe cigarettes are more addictive.

      But let’s presume e-cigarettes are more addictive. You’d have to weigh in the relative risks a e-cigarette habit has vs an existing smoking habit. Given all objective evidence suggests that the relative risks of e-cigarettes are over 99% less of that than tobacco, then we must accept that being more addictive would be a benefit.

      Given the lack of freebase nicotine, and the lack of natural MAOIs, it’s unlikely this is the case. And personally I agree, e-cigarettes are not as effective delivery system as real cigarettes.

      Really the important question here is how many e-cigarette users top using nicotine, and how many relapse to smoking. If this figure is less than 3%, then they are superior to existing NRP methods as prescribed.

  34. James R

    I am quitting today and was thinking of picking one up in the way home but still not sure if I will.

    I think its mostly a mind game and I just need to make myself think of anything else when I feel I need to have a smoke.

  35. phone service

    I’m beginning to think that I should be more grateful for the comments here than the article itself. Any clarification from Dr. Simon about the most recent relevant points raised by those who commented, or maybe a follow-up article could be more appropriate?

    ~G.S.

  36. Ian

    Electricman = BIG Tobacco !

  37. Stewart

    Electricman, they have admitted their bias to CASAA openly. There is no point in dragging the issue on just to avoid discussing what they are actually saying. Besides, I am not a part of CASAA or the ECF. I am just a real life consumer. As well as many other commenters. We have also tried to discuss the subject with you. But you are avoiding the real issues

  38. Electricman

    ” other than the fact that idea of CASAA was conceived by members of ECF, born on ECF, and made up of members from ECF.”

    What else is there? It’s ecf like I said. That way it looks better to use the front “casaa” then ecf when trying to promote your ecigs.
    It’s casaa doing ECF’s work… Casaa can say and post things ecf can’t.

    • MattZuke

      “It’s casaa doing ECF’s work… Casaa can say and post things ecf can’t.”

      Near as I’m aware the ECF is just a forum. CASAA is a non-profit consumer advocacy organization.

      AFAIK ECF has no real limitations, except what you’d expect with a forum.

      If there is some sort of conspiracy, perhaps you’ll find evidence and present it.

    • Brian

      I’d like to see where CASAA is promoting any type of ecig? I see they have links to various articles and different studies and testing done about them, as well as resources about all types of smokeless tobacco. I see other informational areas but I see no promotion of anything except harm reduction.

      Me thinks one should learn to read and comprehend before one starts tapping on one’s keyboard.

      Unless all you have are ad hominem attacks. It seems you really can’t find anything wrong with these devices, so you’ve stooped to the level of mindlessly picking on anyone who supports them.

      Why won’t you engage in any actual discussion instead of just flaming and attacking? Folks might take you a little more seriously if you do.

    • Thulium

      Electricman, have you ever known someone so addicted to cigarettes that they were unable or unwilling to completely quit smoking even while suffering from lung cancer, COPD, or any other disease that is caused or worsened by smoking? Do you think they should be offered smoke-free alternatives or should they just “quit or die”?

      Has any “FDA Approved” therapy helped YOU to avoid smoking cigarettes for 20 months or more?

  39. Brian

    “a ecig site trying to push their beliefs on government”

    Even if you weren’t being dishonest again, that argument is certainly better than than the government trying to push its beliefs on me. Especially when those beliefs are false, misleading and dangerous to the life that could potentially be saved with harm reduction products like the ecigarette.

    I’ll never quite understand articles such as this one. I mean, we know what the health risks of smoking are. As long as ecigarettes have been on the market, there have been no cases of death or disease attributed to their use. Granted, they haven’t been in use for all that long, so only time will tell but considering what is actually contained in the liquid, I find it extremely hard to believe they will ever be found more harmful than smoking. So why would I choose something that is known to cause horrible disease and death over something that hasn’t been proven to be more harmful than existing NRT products?

    If this was written by someone who went to Harvard, why the lack of deduction skills and common sense? Why the same scare tactics as used in the FDA press release? Is there some other motive (money!) behind this author in writing more of this fear-mongering drivel?

  40. Electricman

    “Kristin Who is also on that same Board of Directors, as well as that of Vapers International (a group that gathers information and funds in order to complete clinical research supporting nicotine vaporizers and electronic cigarettes), all while running a website that sells e-cigarette accessories.”” someone with financial interest in keeping people addicted to nicotine and ecigs is definitely someone I would trust and believe… Lol

    ” Without ECF casaa is nothing just a”front ” to say that it’s not acociated with ecf.. Site is so abandoned even some people have asked if it’s still alive. Everything is run through ecf anyways so why keep casaa open? Answer is “doesn’t look good for a ecig site trying to push their beliefs on government “

    • John Connell

      CASAA is very much alive. It is sad that the old techniques of mudslinging and attacks on a personal level still exist. Such tactics are the usual fodder evinced by those that have nothing to add to a constructive conversation. Redirective tactics such as Mr. Electricman appears to do so often are easily ignored and make reading blogs such as this much more efficient since the presence of his name in a post allows one to skip to the next and therefore become much more efficient. The song remains the same, the message as lame.

    • Deadcat2

      Electricman, let me fill you in on something…

      The electronic cigarette forum (ECF) is in no way involved with CASAA other than the fact that idea of CASAA was conceived by members of ECF, born on ECF, and made up of members from ECF.

      CASAA is composed of some of the best, brightest and most motivated people on that forum. There was a nomination process, where the nominations were made by members of the forum. Then there were statements made by the those nominated, with plenty of time to ask them questions. And then there was an election with votes cast only by members of the forum.

      CASAA is made up of well-intentioned, intelligent folks who are willing to donate their own time and money to work on behalf of those of us who use electronic cigarettes. And everything you say about them is an offense to them, to myself, and to others who support them.

  41. Thad Marney

    “There are three reasons to worry about electronic cigarettes. First, the dose of nicotine delivered with each puff may vary substantially. An FDA analysis recorded nicotine doses between 26.8 and 43.2 micrograms per puff. It also detected nicotine in products labeled as nicotine free.”

    Translation: It may take between 23-37 puffs from the e-cig they tested to deliver as much nicotine as absorbed from smoking a single cigarette.

    With all due respect, how exactly is that a reason to WORRY?

    “Second, electronic cigarettes deliver an array of other chemicals, including diethylene glycol (a highly toxic substance), various nitrosamines (powerful carcinogens found in tobacco), and at least four other chemicals suspected of being harmful to humans. To be sure, the dose of these compounds is generally smaller than found in “real” cigarette smoke. But it isn’t zero.”

    The first sentence is provably false. Electronic cigarettes cannot possibly said to “deliver…diethylene glycol” since the non-toxic level of DEG the FDA detected in one of the 18 cartridges they tested was NOT found in the actual vapor. The “four other chemicals suspected of being harmful” were Tobacco Specific Nitrosamines that can be carcinogenic at the levels found in cigarettes (over 11,000ng/g in Marlboro), but the TOTAL TSNA content the FDA found in e-cigarette cartridges was less than 10 parts per billion. You’re right that it is “not zero”, but .000000008g per 1g cartridge is pretty close to zero.

    “Third, by simulating the cigarette experience, electronic cigarettes might reactivate the habit in ex-smokers. They could also be a gateway into tobacco abuse for young people who are not yet hooked.”

    How exactly do you think that ex-smokers and/or never-smokers would decide they no longer want to save money and avoid the hazards of combustion by vaping their choice of flavors and instead take up the habit of lighting cigarettes on fire and inhaling the byproduct smoke?

    • R. William Davis

      To your excellent comment I would like to add that the TSNAs associated with electronic cigarettes, as stated in the FDA analysis which the FDA claims is a reason to ban the ecigs, are at about the same levels as the nicotine gum, patches, and other pharmaceutical products it promotes.

      Time and patience will expose all these charlatans of bad medicine and government mis-regulation, and they will be labeled as such by history.

  42. C.T.

    I use E-Cigs and have been smoke free for over 1 year now!! I am healthier, no more cough, and after 2 months of coughing up BLACK nasty chunks my lungs are clear!! NO MORE SMOKERS COUGH! My only regret is not having this product sooner! IT works case closed!

  43. John Connell

    There is a vast amount of money spent on tobacco research in this country (USA) and our knowledge of the neurochemistry of nicotine, the acetylcholine receptor and the effects of nicotine on various cell lines has been prolific. Recent innovative scientists have extended this to linkages with nicotine and Alzheimers Disease- it shows promise in delaying symptom onset, ADHD and possibly MS. This has also sparked an interest in the Genetics of nicotine dependence. The University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry has seen evidence that the initial first time user of tobacco who experiences a “rush” is more likely to become dependent and less likely to quit.

    What then is the effect on the exposure of germ cells (ova, sperm) to nicotine. Ova may have been bathed in a nicotine environment for countless years prior to conception. The fetus is often exposed to maternal nicotine and the child grows up in a smoking environment. Take the babies of methadone and heroin addicts- they go through withdrawal after birth. They have neurochemically been influenced by maternal opiate use.

    We do not know the effect of nicotine on neurochemical and brain developement. We do know that being brought up in a smoking environment enhances the risk for smoking as an adolescent.

    I do not think anyone of sound mind and clear thinking would question that it is better not to smoke and that smoking is related to lung, oral and bronchial carcinomas. But remeber that we have been looking at this data for almost a century. The supposition that nicotine from a Nicotrol inhaler is different than nicotine from vaping is preposterous.

    Tangential thinking aside, this is not a black and white issue as Mr. Electricman would portend. Smoking is a multivariate phenomena with profond impact on the general health. We have seen that pouring money into prevention campaigns has yielded little. We have seen that attempting to pharmacologically block the action of nicotine has been problematic, especially with the partial agonist Chantix. Read the black box warning, we appear to be willing to market a drug that has produced severe depression, sicidal thinking and suicidal intent. The frightening part is that the depression related to Chantix can occur in otherwise mentally healthy individuals and may persist after discontinuation of the drug. I know of no other area of medicine where an agent with this profile (and there isn’t space here to talk of the cardiovascular morbidity published this summer by Canadian researches) would still be available.

    NRT’s are alternatives, but the successful quitters contain a populaton that continues to use gum far past the FDA approved timeframe for use. Are these people still smokers? No, they are in a class that is much like the vaping class- they are not abstinent but they do not smoke.

    Smoking is the ultimate example of the biopsychosocial disease process. To be brief- the addictive properties of tobacco (nicotine and MAO inhibitor alkaloids in tobacco smoke) are the biological, the social pressures of youth to conform and mental agonies of adults to quit part of the social and the behavioral adaptive cues that are associated with smoking; hand to mouth, smoke exhalation throat hit and automatic smoking (how many people who smoke immediately light up in a car, or after a meal or with an alcoholic drink?).

    I can tell you many stories of people who awoke one morning and said I am going to quit and never smoked again. They are not the majority. The reality is that 25-40% of smokers find it impossible to quit and the relapse rates of those who do quit is significant.

    The solution is the safer nicotine delivery system. Patches and gums address a portion of the problem and as Kristin pointed out are themselves tainted with TSNA’s. Nicotine receptor competative agonist methods appear to have some success but come with extremely dangerous side effects. Vaping addresses all aspects of the biopsychosocial model.

    My esteemed colleague from Harvard has too much faith and need for concrete data, takes what little there is and magnifies it to significance, and seems to have neglected to mention numerous positive studies and personal experiences.

    My conclusioon is maybe a bit too obvious to be seen. After billions of dollars of Pharma research, countless clinical trials, and many a University Chair or endowment received- there is a potential solution with significant harm reduction that did not come out of a prestigious lab or would be Nobel laureates research. The seriously addicted smokers have found a solution (no pun intended) to dilemna that the Ivory Tower could not, done it on their own by word of mouth and seem to be doing better as a whole.

    We the people are not supposed to be able to solve such problems. We just don’t have the credentials, and that makes the pseudoscientific rantings of Mr. E and others angry.

    It says nowhere in the U.S. Constition, and it is not inscribed on any coinage or paper money- In the FDA we trust. God bless that we have them for many reasons, but their stamp of approval is a human one and not infallable. Chantix, Vioxx, Hismanil are examples of FDA approved agents that ended up as television class action lawyer ads.

    Time will well, that is true. Each day another 500 people will die of lung cancer alone, if Vaping cut that in half it would have achieved more than any other action we have ever taken.

    • Deadcat2

      Who are you, where did you come from, and can you spend more time to help us defeat these morons and freaks that would just as soon see us die than leave cigarettes behind without expensive pharmaceutical drugs that really don’t work worth a damn for the vast majority of smokers?

      Yeah, sorry, that was a long question.
      (big smile)

    • John Connell

      Just a member of CASAA, 30+ year smoker- vaped for 10 months and am content in reality not egomaniacs with repetitive lines, the demigods of the NeANTZerthal (ANTZ a term from Kristin in CASAA for Anti Nicotine Tobacco Nazis.On FB. Vapors Lounge, We Are CASAA.

  44. Pat St. John

    I keep seeing people refer to information that is old and has been proven to be false. I find it absolutely hysterical that a man who is a touted MD like Dr. Simon, didn’t bother to actually do any research on this topic. I’m willing to admit that e-cigs/PV’s (personal vaporizers) may not be as healthy asa not using them, but they are FAR healthier than smoking. I spent 25 years trying to stop smoking, and I haven’t had a cigarette in over 2 years now. there is such a thing as harm reduction. that’s what I’m going after. I may stop using e-cigs at some point, but for now I’ll take what I can get. I was hooked on smoking 1.5 to 2 packs per day. now I don’t use cigarettes. Cigarettes are one of the most addictive drugs in the world, and now I don’t smoke.

  45. Electricman

    Itchy Skin, Rashes:

    Vaping…More harm then good? For me yes..Im done!

    Pain in my throat & ear & heaviness in chest

    Joint pain?

    Tooth Decay

    Anybody else feel like a guinea pig? How do we know it’s safe?

    Chest & side pains, anxiety, sore throat, & coughing up phlem since I started using my e-cig.

    Nicotine Overdose from just a few draws

    Vaping is making me sick

    One year after switch, now experiencing some issues with chest pains.

    Tightness in chest, wheezing, and difficulty breathing in the morning after vaping

    The wisdom of inhaling something that burns my skin and makes the roof of my mouth raw?

    vaping causing pain in chest/ coughing. need advise

    Lungs hurt, chest tight after using first time.

    E-Juice Label says “Very Toxic By Inhalation?”

    Feels like I am going to Pass out, Strange Symptoms, please help!

    HARSH VAPOR, lots of coughing & can’t breathe! Newbie Help!!

    If you think it’s so “safe” just take a look at your local ecig forums and check out health and safety… God knows the people bragging about how great and “safe” it is don’t “It’s a dark and scary place! “

    • Ashley

      You’d have a point if EVERY PERSON who tried vaping had a horrible experience filled with worrying or dangerous health issues. But that’s not the case and these examples are single cases. Most cases where there are several folks with the same issue, it’s due to the temporary side-effects you get when you switch, most of which are attributable to quitting smoking and NOT caused by the act of vaping.

      Dry mouth is one common symptom that is directly related to vaping, as propylene glycol and glycerin are both humectants. Drinking water cures that. Cavities would be caused from a chronic dry mouth issue, which would be come a non-issue by keeping your mouth healthy and drinking plenty of water.

      Your body goes through a myriad of uncomfortable things when you quit smoking including chest pains, muscle cramping, headaches, depression, nausea, shortness of breath, anxiety, weight gain, ‘quit zits’, the quit flu, hacking up half your lungs as they come back to life and try to rid you from all that tar you’ve been inhaling for so long… and many more. These have nothing to do with vaping and everything to do with detoxifying your body from smoking.

      It is absolutely possible for allergies to exist to some ingredients, as well. Again, this is individual and not a blanket issue, as you want to make it seem with your little list there. Folks also have allergies to strawberries and peanuts and could die if they ingest them. Shall we deem those items dangerous and ban them?

      I have yet to see you bring a persuasive argument to the table. Besides lying and misrepresenting things, you seem to have absolutely nothing. So what exactly is your problem with these products to cause you to spend your days endlessly trolling ecigarette articles? Did an ecig kick your puppy or what?

    • R. William Davis

      Dude! You should call 911 and get to the ER with all the allergic reactions you are having. No substance on Earth is so safe that absolutely no one will have a negative reaction to it. Like peanuts. They will kill some people.

      Would you have the entire world deprived of peanuts?

      Those of us who have found a healthier way to enjoy our nicotine don’t have the same allergic reaction to vaping as you obviously do.

      Get your money back, and don’t vape any more. See, wasn’t that an easy problem to solve? Now just ask your mommy to go to the store and buy you some more tobacco cigarettes so you can get better!

  46. Deadcat2

    It looks like Big Pharma is getting really scared of electronic cigarettes. They are bringing out the big guns from Harvard now? Who can blame them, a product that actually works? Wow, that would be quite a threat to the fabulous money-making merry-go-round currently inflicted by your “recommended” useless FDA approved quit-smoking drugs.

    I quit my 27 years of smoking with an electronic cigarette. I have done my research, which is clearly FAR more than the author of this piece has done. I am both healthier and happier. My lung function has returned to 100% normal, and I’ve gone from 5 minutes on an eliptical machine to 19 minutes. I used to be able to hold my breath for no more than 30 seconds, now I can hold my breath for over 90 seconds.

    Honestly, I would laugh at this article, if it weren’t so dangerous. The author should be ashamed for doing so little research. Well, at least I assume that is the reason this article is so misguided.

  47. Poots

    I haven’t had a cigarette in a week since I bought one of these “e-cigs”. 34 y/o, been smoking regularly for 22 years. I’m the biggest nicotine addict I know.

    MDs and the WHO should definitely get their studies done to clear the road for these things. They’ll save lives.

  48. VaporMan

    Also, you Harvard people whould really talk once in a while. It would keep one of you from looking like a tool.

    http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/centers-institutes/population-development/files/article.jphp.pdf

  49. VaporMan

    You fail. Try posting some actual studies. Like:
    “A study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers reports that electronic cigarettes are a promising tool to help smokers quit, producing six-month abstinence rates nearly double those for traditional nicotine replacement products.”

    “the dose of these compounds is generally smaller than found in “real” cigarette ” … This same study cited above shows the level of carcinogens to be hundreds to thousands times less than traditional cigarettes.

    This article is pure tobacco company propaganda.

  50. Elaine Keller

    Dr. Simon: To assuage some of your fears, I suggest that your peruse Dr. Laugesen’s report: http://www.healthnz.co.nz/ElectronicCigsDarwinOct09.pdf

    He tested e-cigaretts for nicotine delivered per puff, plus for 62 smoke toxicants. His report is pretty convincing that tobacco smoking carries vastly greater health hazards.

    More than one study has found that e-cigarettes deliver less nicotine per puff than tobacco smoking. If the nicotine delivery varies, so what? How does this endanger users? As smokers we self-regulated nicotine intake. That continues.

    You also should stop relying on the FDA’s July 2009 press release and look at the actual report issued by Dr. Westenberger. You will find that despite the presence of minute traces of chemicals in liquid, these chemicals are not delivered to the user. FDA found nothing in the vapor that would trigger cancer or poison the user.

    Multiple surveys of e-cigarette users find that virtually all were smokers when they began using an e-cigarette. Furthermore, most have now lost any desire to smoke real cigaretes and lost their taste for tobacco flavors. Given these facts please explain the mechanism by which e-cigarettes would serve as a gateway to tobacco smoking.

    You state that there are better and safer ways to quit. We found that the safer ones don’t work very well, and the (slightly) better ones are not very safe.

    E-cigarette users are mostly made up of people who tried your better ways–multiple times–and those products failed them. Of course, the pharmaceutical company profits continued as the medical community urged relapsed smokers to try, try again. If e-cigarettes are working to help smokers quit who tried your “better” ways more than 10 times without success, then how are your products better?

    As for safer, there have been zero reports of serious adverse events with e-cigarette use. You might want to look up the black-box warnings on Zyban, Wellbutrin, and Chantix. At least e-cigarette users aren’t committing suicide or murders.

  51. Elaine Keller

    This statement “Preliminary studies from the FDA, New Zealand, and Greece raise some concerns,” is misleading. Only the FDA study raised concerns. Health New Zealand reported the truth–that they found nothing harmful–and Greece took a neutral stance. The FDA press release about their study raised concerns by employing two propaganda techniques: Lying by Omission and Stereotyping. The FDA failed to provide the quantitative anlysis, showing that the amount of TSNAs they found is no larger than the amount in an FDA-approved nicotine patch, and failed to mention that the amount of Diethylene Glycol found in 1 of 18 cartridges tested (0.01 ml) is too miniscule to present any danger whatsoever of poisoning the user. They compounded this by failing to mention that they found nothing at all harmful in the vapor. The FDA’s choice of the words “carcinogens” and “antifreeze” were calculated to strike fear into the hearts of readers. Unfortunately, they succeeded and some smokers who could have been smoke-free for the past 2 years decided to stick with smoking because the FDA convinced them it was safer.

  52. Kristinnm

    The fact many of these health professionals seem unable to comprehend is that the e-cigarette appeals to the segment of the smoking population that is most UNLIKELY to quit smoking. That is what “inveterate smoker” means:

    in·vet·er·ateAdjective/inˈvetərit/
    1. Having a particular habit, activity, or interest that is long-established and unlikely to change.

    Many of these inveterate smokers – those die-hard 20% who the health groups have been unable to change – are finding that e-cigarettes make suitable substitutes to traditional cigarettes!

    Remember – the vast majority of people who have switched to e-cigarettes would NOT be trying to quit using patches and gums if they weren’t using the e-cigarettes – they’d still be happily puffing away. To tell those folks “just use FDA-approved products and quit” or “you haven’t really quit if you use these” are pointless arguments for these folks.

    People smoke for different reasons, so people quit or switch for different reasons. People like Electricman want to be free from the addiction. They felt a “slave to the nicodemon” and hated being a smoker. Of course, switching to an e-cigarette would make no sense for them. However, our survey of e-cigarette users show that most KNEW they should quit for health reasons, but they didn’t WANT to quit – so they sought a less hazardous alternative. The next significant group wanted to be free not of nicotine and cigarettes, but of the high costs and excessive government taxes and restrictions on smoking. Health arguments about the tiny potential risks are meaningless to them.

    For health experts such as Dr. Simon to completely ignore or not bother to investigate the reasons WHY people are interested in using e-cigarettes, before making public statements such as this, is potentially very harmful to overall public health. Sure, an article like this could keep the smokers who WANT to quit (or the imaginary non-smokers who would try them) from using e-cigarettes, but it also encourages the inveterate smokers who DON’T really want to quit to stick with smoking – thinking that switching e-cigarettes are potentially just as bad for them.

    THAT is bordering on unethical.

    Kristin Noll-Marsh
    Secretary Director
    Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association
    casaa.org

  53. Ashley

    All you have to know about ecigs to decide whether they’re a safer alternative to smoking would be to look at the ingredients and then compare them to the ingredients in smoking and the aftermath of chemicals created when that cigarette is lit.

    ecig: 4-5
    Tobacco cigarette ingredients: 600
    Tobacco cigarette chemicals caused when lit and burning: 4,000.

    Vaping doesn’t change the chemical makeup of the ingredients in ecigs, so there are no other substances created. Therefore, just in this little bit of math, I can very safely say that an ecig is 99+ percent BETTER for you than smoking.

    It’s not rocket science. Oh, and the main ingredients (all FDA approved GRAS) found in ecigs can all be found in tobacco. The FDA fails to tell you that the very small levels of things it found in ecig liquid can ALL be found, in MUCH higher quantities, in tobacco cigarettes.

    You don’t even need critical thinking skills to debunk this misinformation–you just need a little common sense.

  54. Mike Morgan

    Seems like some pretty reasonable perspective on electronic cigarettes here. I’ve tried several brands to avoid odor, save money and enjoy almost anywhere.

  55. Brewlady

    Dr. Simon clearly didn’t read the FDA’s full report. I read not only this report, but countless other studies. My mother smoked, my grandfather smoked, and by the time I was 13, so did I. I smoked for 36 years, and tried all of the FDA-approved methods to quit. Nothing worked. I have been smoke-free for over a year simply because this reduced-harm alternative was available. I bought a kit, I tried it, and haven’t looked back. What I did was learn everything I could about the electronic cigarette, and then I made an informed decision to continue to use this product. It is disgusting that the FDA won’t allow vendors to state that this product can help smokers quit smoking, because thousands of ex-smokers have successfully used this product to do just that. Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, including many known carcinogens. This is simply not true of the nicotine liquid I use. I continue to use nicotine, but the method of delivery I have chosen is SAFER. I know it isn’t 100% safe, but why in the world would anyone want to prevent me and all of the adults who still smoke from using a safer alternative?

    • Carol

      I quit smoking 4 wks ago. The first day I bought the electronic cigarette I never picked up another tobacco cigarette again. I am the happiest about being able to pull it out anywhere I want and take a couple of puffs and put it back in my pocket.I have spent money on everything I know to try quiting. The shots, the patches, the gum, everything and nothing worked until I tried the e-cig.It doesn’t really matter to me what anyone says about it. I know that my life has changed because of it. I will never buy another cigarette. I can finally breath. So Thank you Brewlady for sticking up for us ecig vaporers. I am free and I personally think that Electricman works for the cigarette companies to come into these forums or Blogs to annoy the smokefree people! LOL!

  56. Marie Sykes

    If you smoke the hardest thing to do is quit! It might be easy for non-smokers to say just stop, but it isn’t that easy! As an ex-smoker I would make excuses like: I enjoy it, I need it when I get stressed, I need it when on a night out, etc etc. Believe me these were all excuses, but wearing a plaster on my arm or chewing gum did not help!Electronic cigarettes did and they are far better than tobacco cigarettes that contain 4000+ chemicals. OK, electronic cigarettes contain nicotine, but don’t gum, patches etc? Besides, nicotine alone is not known to be cancer causing it’s the rest of the chemicals that are in cigarettes that are. The only other ingredient in e-cigarettes is glycol which is used in every day items such as toothpaste and mouthwash. So overall, I personally was glad of new technology (e-cigarettes) as they might have just saved my life! Now some people can give up with patches, gums, sprays etc and good for them, that is great, but for others like me who couldn’t e-cigarettes are great too and far better than tobacco.

  57. tedthedog

    I know that this is a bit off track but I found that using the stop smoking app on my mobile was the best way to go for me. It told me each day exactly what i was saving in the way of bucks!
    [URL removed by moderator]

  58. AaronF

    I can put up a page and call it anything I want and put a picture found on Google images to scare people but it does not make it true. What it does is cause panic and is nothing but a smear campaign against a product that HAS helped millions get off the nasty burning weed. I myself QUIT smoking on January 15th thanks only to electronic cigarettes. 24 years of multiple attempts from every NRT on the market and I quit with a $100 starter kit.

    What IS true, vaping has not killed ANYONE. Vaping has NOT injured ANYONE. Vaping has NOT given ANYONE cancer, emphysema, COPD or any other type of smoking related disease.

    What is your real problem with people who chose to switch to electronic cigarettes and who are YOU to tell millions of people how they should live their lives? Why do YOU care? So what if it LOOKS like smoking, it is NOT.

    Please Rick…I mean Electricman we ask you to be factual like we are. If you have actual evidence behind your claims, post the reference to them rather than some website that looks to have been designed by some web flunky.

  59. Thad Marney

    As long as smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease, surely the author should be able to cite at least one report of a carcinogenic or toxic level of any chemical in e-cigarettes?? 8.6 Million Americans suffer from a chronic illness that is caused or worsened by smoking, yet despite vicious anti-smoker “denormalization” campaigns and constantly climbing cigarette prices, we still have 46 million Americans who are unable or unwilling to completely stop using tobacco.

    FDA approved smoking cessation drugs may be “proven”, but they are proven to NOT significantly reduce deaths and diseases caused by smoking, much less actually reduce smoking and tobacco use.

    “There are three reasons to worry about electronic
    cigarettes. First, the dose of nicotine delivered
    with each puff may vary substantially. An FDA
    analysis recorded nicotine doses between 26.8 and
    43.2 micrograms per puff. It also detected nicotine
    in products labeled as nicotine free.”

    If these numbers are correct, it takes at least 23 puffs to deliver 1mg nicotine absorbed from a burning cigarette. How does delivering possibly “too little” nicotine constitute a serious health concern? There are varying amounts of caffeine in every sip of a caffeinated beverage, should Starbucks be banned until they can prove clinically consistent delivery of caffeine down to the microgram?

    “Second, electronic cigarettes deliver an array of
    other chemicals, including diethylene glycol (a
    highly toxic substance), various nitrosamines
    (powerful carcinogens found in tobacco), and at least
    four other chemicals suspected of being harmful to
    humans.”

    That statement is FALSE. The FDA detected a non-toxic amount of Diethylene Glycol in one of the 18 cartridges they tested, but did not detect DEG in the vapor itself…therefore it cannot be said to “deliver” DEG. Likewise, the tobacco specific nitrosamines detected were at nearly identical levels to pharmaceutical products of less than 10ppb.

    “To be sure, the dose of these compounds is generally
    smaller than found in “real” cigarette smoke. But it
    isn’t zero.”

    That is technically true, but just barely: 0.000000008g > 0 The FDA allows up to 10ppb of arsenic in drinking water, what evidence do you have to show that 8ng/g of tobacco specific nitrosamines pose any measurable risk to users or bystanders?

    “Third, by simulating the cigarette experience,
    electronic cigarettes might reactivate the habit in
    ex-smokers. They could also be a gateway into tobacco
    abuse for young people who are not yet hooked.”

    Unfounded, unsupported and undemonstrated: First there is no evidence that smokeless e-cigarettes have any appeal to non-smokers. The median age of an e-cigarette user is 43 and the product has not been particularly popular even among younger smokers–so far the greatest appeal has been to inveterate smokers who have multiple past failed quit attempts. Second, if a non-smoker WERE to become interested in e-cigarettes, there is no reason for them to choose to use nicotine if they aren’t already addicted. Third, if a non-smoker were to become interested in e-cigarettes AND choose to use nicotine, there is no evidence to support the supposition that they will develop an addiction to nicotine without the reinforcement of MAOIs and other habit reinforcing byproducts of tobacco smoke. Fourth, if a non-smoker were to become interested in e-cigarettes AND inexplicably choose to begin using nicotine AND somehow become addicted, it still defies any logic or reason why this person would suddenly have a desire to replace their custom-flavored vapor with the smoke of burning tobacco leaves. “That dog won’t hunt!”

  60. Electricman

    Here’s why you chronic e-smokers are not actually quit…

    - for US vapers the legal situation is now clear in the USA: e-cigarettes are a tobacco product.

    - ‘quit smoking’ means quit everything totally because if you are still holding something that looks, feels and acts exactly like a cigarette -you are still smoking and you haven’t quit. –

    If you are using something that looks like smoking and that has nicotine in it and the nicotine is a tobacco product – you are still using tobacco and as it is inhaled you are still smoking and you haven’t quit. –

    If you try as hard as you can to get something that replicates smoking a cigarette as closely as possible, that has nicotine in it, and the nicotine is also a tobacco product -you are still smoking and you haven’t quit. –

    If the courts and the FDA say an e-cigarette is a tobacco product, and it certainly looks very much as if you are smoking it -you are still smoking and you haven’t quit. -

    If a restaurant owner and other customers complain about you smoking because they see you holding a cigarette and blowing out clouds of smoke -you are still smoking and you haven’t quit, even if what you have is not exactly a cigarette. –

    If you support tobacco harm reduction then you must also consider that you haven’t quit, since harm reduction by definition only refers to use of a substance in a different form, it doesn’t refer to quitting – as it wouldn’t be needed then. If you use tobacco harm reduction you haven’t quit.

    • Ashley

      Gosh, Electricman, if I give up drinking coffee with cream and sugar and switch to green tea with honey and lemon, am I still a coffee drinker? After all, the caffeine delivery mechanism is still a mug and I’m still consuming a hot liquid and still use my hands to bring it to my lips to drink it. G-D addict that I am.

      Hell, I must still be a coffee drinker. What’s the point in trying to ingest caffeine in a safer (dare I say healthier?) way. I might as well just go back to drinking coffee with cream and sugar.

      I have a MUCH better idea for you. Why don’t you go back to your old haunt where people actually want to listen to your incoherent rants about quitting nicotine? Some folks actually enjoy using it without having the cocktail of deadly chemicals created by combustion. Some of us are really thankful that we finally do have a safer alternative that makes the transition from smoking nearly painless and we don’t have to give up something we enjoy. And, Yes, some of us actually enjoyed smoking, we just didn’t enjoy all the crap smoking causes. ecigs are like having your cake and eating (vaping) it, too. I have a nice vanilla cupcake I’ve been vaping with and it’s yummy.

      The advocates for these products are not people who want total and complete nicotine abstinence. That’s what you apparently think the world needs, for whatever twisted reason. And, you have a place on the web just for that, that you have called your home and you need to go back there. They will welcome you and will warmly coddle your incessant smiting of all things nicotine.

      Just remember this, e-man, the next time you fail in your quit (and you will–don’t kid yourself. How long has it been this last attempt? A month? Couple weeks?) and start burning a cigarette and inhaling the smoke, think about the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of folks who have found ecigs and will NEVER have to do that again. When I get a craving, I use my PV–I do not and will not ever again light up a stinking cancer stick. What’s really bad about your crap you spout is that you’re a SMOKER, dude. Enough already.

      If the hand-to-mouth action with some nicotine works enough as a placebo to keep me from lighting up, I consider that a wonderful, marvelous and absolutely life-saving thing. No different from the gum or lozenges, except you get your nicotine in a way that tricks your brain into thinking you’re still killing yourself with smoking. Pretty neat, if you ask me. You can babble on and on with your lies that you call facts but you will not change the minds of the folks that have found these awesome devices. Nor will you obscure the path of someone who knows how to use critical thinking skills.

    • MattZuke

      “for US vapers the legal situation is now clear in the USA: e-cigarettes are a tobacco product”

      If this was true, NRPs would also be a tobacco product since they use nicotine derived from tobacco.

      But E-cigarettes ARE regulated as a tobacco product. NRPs are regulated as medication.

      “‘quit smoking’ means quit everything totally”

      No it doesn’t. You just made that up. But as e-cigarettes are not marketed as a quit smoking, but as an alternative to smoking, thus one switches. It’s accepted that if one uses nicotine gum in lieu of cigarettes they have quit smoking. Society hasn’t been worried about nicotine use.

    • MattZuke

      “If the courts and the FDA say an e-cigarette is a tobacco product, and it certainly looks very much as if you are smoking it -you are still smoking and you haven’t quit. -”

      The courts didn’t say that, you’re being dishonest.

      “If you support tobacco harm reduction then you must also consider that you haven’t quit, since harm reduction by definition only refers to use of a substance in a different form”

      You mean, like nicotine extracted from tobacco and delivered in a propylene glycol solution? By removing the harmful elements of tobacco, and by removing the harmful delivery method, you have by definition reduced the harm.

      You’re entire argument is it’s the same activity, thus it’s the same thing. In this one statement you’ve proven that e-cigarette users haven’t just engaged in behavior known to be more than 99% less harmful, but they have actually QUIT SMOKING.

    • Sam Munro

      In reference to “You are still Smoking” debate. If you eat soy based products that are fashioned to look, taste and give the experience of eating meat and call your self a vegetarian then you are also suffering from a similar delusion. By the reckoning made above you should still be classed as a carnivore.

    • R. William Davis

      Stop feeding this Troll. This last post of his proves beyond a doubt that he just likes to argue and spew nonsense. If I was to guess, I’d say he was employed in an FDA lab somewhere. If not, he should apply for one. He’s perfect for the job.

  61. Cookie

    I forgot to mention, I smoked a pack a day for 35 years.
    Tried every NRT,& hypnosis but no Chantix (thank God).

  62. Cookie

    Electronic cigarettes work.
    Today is my 6 month anniversary of being free of tobacco cigarettes. Soon I’ll be nicotine free as well.
    Ecigs are great because you can control precisely how much nicotine you are getting and cut it back at your own comfortable pace. I make my on liquid with just 4 ingredients: nicotine (1.2%), a flavoring called “Hypnotic Mist”, Vegetable Glycerine and water. Ignore the fear mongering big pharma propaganda of this article, most savy ecig users use only American made eliquid. The government also want’s you to keep smoking or using useless traditional NRT. Think of how much tax money they are going to lose as more people discover ecigs.

  63. Anonymous

    I’ve been a smoker for a little over 5 years. I tried the gum and the patch with no real success. After only 5 months with the e-cigarette I was able to quit for good! I no longer use the electric cigarette or traditional cigarettes.

  64. Tamara

    They helped me and my husband as we no longer smoke and are in so much better condition physically and psychologically than we were when we smoked. I don’t really care what some article says is good or bad for my health.

    That’s the problem with the world today–too many folks too scared to make their own decisions. Luckily, critical thinking skills come naturally to me and I question everything before I make decisions. After my research was done and decision was made, it was crystal clear to me that ecigs were so much LESS harmful than smoking. It is also pretty obvious there are ulterior motives behind agencies like the FDA and health organizations being against them.

    The reason why this old, debunked and really sad misinformation keeps being regurgitated in articles such as this; it’s because they have no other argument.

  65. Telsie

    Wow. There’s no research here, not even any critical thinking. This is nothing but regurgitation of a flawed FDA report from way back. Allow me to put the proper perspective on that information:

    The FDA tested a small sampling of cartridges IMPORTED FROM CHINA. They found trace levels of diethylene glycol in one of those cartridges (obviously a contaminant, not an ingredient). Inconsistencies in nicotine levels also points to quality control issues with Chinese manufacturing. Nitrosamines were comparable to what’s in FDA-approved NRTs, such as the nicotine patch, lozenge and gum (because they all use nicotine that is derived from tobacco).

    In short: the FDA report told us that electronic cigarettes containing nicotine (nicotine is optional, by the way) are no more dangerous than other nicotine replacement products, but there are quality control risks if you import the cartridges from China. Duh.

    • Stewart

      China isn’t necessarily to blame here though. We might find the same lack of quality control in the United States with various products. I am always hearing about recalls of meat products. Does China have different governmental standards? Yes. Are they still human beings like us and make mistakes for a dollar? Yes. The bigger issue here though isn’t how China handles its quality control on any of the millions of US electronics we go through on a daily basis. The issue is that the amounts given in the FDA analysis report are so miniscule that they are practically inevitable. A byproduct of the process. That is why the United States as well as other countries have a “range” for allowed incidence of known chemicals and toxins. When the FDA says it found less than 1% of diethlyene glycol in 1 sample of e-liquid, the press would rather say “DANGER! E-CIGARETTES CONTAIN ANTI-FREEZE!” It’s a more thrilling story to take things out of context whilst not telling a lie.

    • Telsie

      True, Stewart — we *might* find similar quality control issues with ecig cartridges manufactured in the US as well, but the FDA only looked at ones made in China. Since China has had a sketchy track record with ingestible products in recent history, I’m inclined think quality control is a bigger issue there.

      You’re spot-on about the press turning it into some sensational headline, though. I don’t know how many times I’ve read over the past year or so that ecigs contain antifreeze. *head desk* The constant spread of disinformation about electronic cigarettes drives me crazy!

  66. Daniel Karpus

    There is so much misinformation in this article that I urge anyone interested in e-cigs do further research. I smoked 3 packs a day for forty years before I switched. I am healthier now.

    There are published studies. There are forums with tens of thousands members. Yes, most of the testimonials are anecdotal. But e-liquid consists of 1) base of propylene glycol (GRAS) or pharmaceutical grade vegetable glycerin, or some combination thereof, 2) some level of nicotine and 3) flavoring. No burning is involved.

    We know tobacco cigarettes kill. I and approximately 1 million people worldwide are fighting Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, health organizations partly funded by the aforementioned and politicians lobbied by the above.

    Before believing the outdated and “what if” arguments do your own further research.

  67. Paul Bann

    I’m not fully convinced by this article. There seems to be a lack of research. When was the FDA study conducted? What brands were included?
    The cons don’t really outweigh the pros to be honest
    1. nicotine levels vary, but are any of these levels harmful to humans? nicotine levels have also been increased in tobacco cigarettes over the last 10-20 years. a combination of NRT and smoking can also cause toxic levels. if you have electronic cigarettes, the likelihood of using a tobacco cigarette at the same time is minimal.
    2. 4, or 5 chemicals, compared to 4,000 chemicals – seems like a weak argument.
    3. may re-activate the habit, or create new smokers. 1990 research showed that 90% of NRT users returned to cigarettes within 6 months. THe NHS reports that only 49% of people that use their quit kit actually complete the minimum 4-week course. This does not take into consideration any longer term fails.
    I agree that more research is needed, but electronic cigarettes are not classed as cessation aids, but alternatives.

  68. Electricman

    he most frightening aspect of electronic cigarettes is that consumers who do not seek out data and who do not think critically might be convinced by the old hackneyed ad line: “This is Safe!” This same line was shouted by physicians in the 1950′s about tobacco cigarettes before the data was in and the truth was known–decades and millions of deaths and inpatients later. We just don’t know yet, but if you want to be one of the first poor guinea pigs who reveals the dangers and illnesses associated with e-cigs feel free.

    E-cigarettes may serve as a “bridge product” that smokers use in places

    where traditional tobacco smoking is prohibited, thus perpetuating their

    addiction and use of real cigarettes. Additionally, they may be used as a

    ‘starter’ product for young people considering smoking, especially since the

    cartridges can be purchased over the Internet with tempting flavoring like

    grape and chocolate.

    • Stewart

      Back on another e-cigarette article are we Electricman? So far not as hate mongering as your responses on freep.com

      Never the less the same agenda and the same lack of critical thinking yourself. The flavor argument is getting OLD. Im sorry if I am over 30 and like the taste of chocolate and vanilla but critical thinking might tell you something about that.

      And considering that two weeks into my e-cigarette use I could breathe better and regained my sense of smell, also getting rid of that annoying smokers cough. Id venture to say my body is healing itself from a pack a day habit of tobacco. Its been over a year now and Ive never felt healthier.

      Who knows why you are so against e-cigarettes Electricman, I could care less because once agitated by everyone that can see right past your illogical comments, it becomes plain and clear that you are merely a zealot. I can’t wait until you start calling people junkies again. Its humorous to watch you stoop so desperately low in trying to find a response to real data and sources.

    • piper

      Calvin, it’s getting old.

    • Cig Heil

      The bigger issue, have YOU finally quit smoking. You’ve battled it for months now and it seems you just need to use these rants to sell yourself on you’re ability to overcome your addiction by blasting others who have found a way to stop smoking by SAFER (not safe because nothing is totally safe) methods.

      You don’t need to quit nicotine or tobacco to quit smoking, much different that your myopic view that keeps driving you back to those cigarettes.

    • Thad Marney

      Electricman, Could you please explain how that breathing the germicidal glycol vapor produced by a 10 watt battery powered personal vaporizer could POSSIBLY be any more dangerous than breathing the same type of vapor produced by a small 1800 watt theatrical fog machine? Do you have some proof or even a reason to suspect that fog machines could possibly cause even 1/100th the rates of cancer and chronic lung disease as smoking? Anyone? …Bueller?

      As a former smoker, I bet you know from experience how difficult it can be to completely stop using nicotine. Why don’t you believe that smokers who are suffering and dying from diseases caused by smoking should have access to effective and affordable smoke-free alternatives like e-cigarettes, or do you believe that people who are unable or unwilling to completely stop using tobacco should just keep smoking until they (and/or the people they love) die?? As someone who repeatedly tried and was unable to quit smoking in spite of serious and terrible health effects on oneself and loved ones, should smokers who are unable to completely quit just die or be given smoke-free alternatives (like e-cigarettes) for harm reduction?