Nicotine may have some adverse health effects, but they are relatively minor, said Dr. Neal L. Benowitz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who has spent his career studying the pharmacology of nicotine.

Another ingredient, propylene glycol, the vapor that e cigarettes emit whose main alternative use is as fake smoke on concert and theater stages is a lung irritant, and the effects of inhaling it over time are a concern, Dr. Benowitz said.

But Dr. Siegel and others contend that some public health experts, after a single minded battle against smoking that has run for decades, are too inflexible about e cigarettes. The strategy should be to reduce harm from conventional cigarettes, and e cigarettes offer a way to do that, he said, much in the way that giving clean needles to intravenous drug users reduces their odds of getting infected with the virus that causes AIDS.

Solid evidence about e cigarettes is limited. A clinical trial in New Zealand, which many researchers regard as the most reliable study to date, found that after six months about 7 percent of people given e cigarettes had quit smoking, a slightly better rate than those with patches.

The findings were intriguing but nothing to write home about yet, said Thomas J. Glynn, a researcher at the American Cancer Society.

In Britain, where the regulatory process is more developed than in the United States, researchers say that smoking trends are heading in the right direction.

Motivation to quit is up, success of quit attempts are up, and prevalence is coming down faster than it has for the last six or seven years, said Robert West, director of tobacco studies at University College London. It is impossible to know whether e cigarettes drove the changes, he said, but we can certainly say they are not undermining quitting.

The scientific uncertainties have intensified the public health fight, with each side seizing on scraps of new data to bolster its position. One recent study in Germany on secondhand vapor from e cigarettes prompted Dr. Glantz to write on his blog, More evidence that e cigs cause substantial air pollution. Dr. Siegel highlighted the same study, concluding that it showed no evidence of a significant public health hazard.

That Big Tobacco is now selling e cigarettes has contributed to skepticism among experts and advocates.

Cigarettes went into broad use in the 1920s and by the 1940s, lung cancer rates had exploded. More Americans have died from smoking than in all the wars the United States has fought. Smoking rates have declined sharply since the 1960s, when about half of all men and a third of women smoked. But progress has slowed, with a smoking rate now of around 18 percent.

Part of the furniture for us is that the tobacco industry is evil and everything they do has to be opposed, said John Britton, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Nottingham in England, and the director for the U.K. Center for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies. But one doesn t want that to get in the way of public health.

Carefully devised federal regulations might channel the marketing might of major tobacco companies into e cigarettes, cannibalizing sales of traditional cigarettes, Dr. Abrams of the Schroeder Institute said. We need a jujitsu move to take their own weight and use it against them, he said.

Dr. Benowitz said he could see a situation under which the F.D.A. would gradually reduce the nicotine levels allowable in traditional cigarettes, pushing smokers to e cigarettes.

If we make it too hard for this experiment to continue, we ve wasted an opportunity that could eventually save millions of lives, Dr. Siegel said.

Dr. Glantz disagreed.

I frankly think the fault line will be gone in another year, he said. The evidence will show their true colors.

Electronic cigarettes need regulatory response, experts say – business – the journal pioneer

Bbc news cigarette packaging: ministers launch fresh review

  • Bill Tarling May 06, 2014 17 37

    It would probably help cover the story better if it was checked for facts first ARTICLE “Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst at the Canadian Cancer Society, said e cigarettes are in fact illegal in Canada. Because nicotine is a drug, a product that contains nicotine is subject to the Food and Drugs Act, he said.” FACT In the absence of medicinal claims and/or medicinal function, e cigarettes do not meet the legal definition of a medicine (a “drug”). E cigs do not claim to be medicines, or scientifically function as medicines either facts which several EU courts have already attested to in conclusive rulings. Nicotine containing products to which the Food and Drugs Act applies (like e juice, which the Food and Drug Regulations subsequently exempt in the PDL) are explicitly exempted from tobacco classification by the Tobacco Act. ref / ARTICLE “As far as Canada is concerned, there s no grey area. There s no doubt that you first need approval from Heath Canada. You can t go around selling nicotine lollipops or nicotine chocolate bars. The law is clear.” FACT Canadian law on e cigarettes and nicotine is not “grey” at all. The law is exceedingly clear. Confusion on this matter is easily traced back to Health Canada which states that e cigarette products with nicotine remain unauthorized as smoking cessation medicines (“drugs”). But since e cigarette products with nicotine are not medicines (provided they do not claim to be such), a lack of authorization as a medicine is not a valid criticism. Coffee, despite containing an addictive substance, is not authorized as a medicine either because it isn t one and doesn t claim to be one. Health Canada doesn’t have the authority to authorize the products because it’s not within their jurisdiction. E cigarette products in Canada are regulated, but the government of Canada is not recognizing or enforcing the applicable regulations. E cigarette hardware items (batteries, cartridges, USB chargers, plastic or metal tubes, electronic merchandise etc) are regulated under certification standards in numerous industries as consumer products. E juice with nicotine is regulated under the Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations, 2001, since it meets the legal definition of a consumer chemical product. ATICLE “We don t want kids using e cigarettes because it normalizes smoking and could be a gateway to future smoking behaviour.” TRUTH Ask any vaper who decided to try a cigarette again after having switched to vaping, and you’ll see how asinine that concept is. It’s about the equivalency of saying “Yum, I just finished this delicious apple pie grandma just made. It was so good that I would love to try the manure pie at the back of her barn.” FACT There is simply no credible evidence to so much as suggest (much less prove) that non smokers anywhere are taking up e cigarette usage and then transitioning to smoking real cigarettes or that they ever will. The Guardian “Logically, by far their biggest users are smokers. According to Ash’s survey, nearly two thirds of e cigarette users in the UK are current smokers seeking to cut down or give up altogether, while the remaining third are ex smokers who have already stopped and are keen not to restart. Only 0.1% of e cigarette users are nonsmokers.” ref ARTICLE Luke Hahn which is FACT “They re trying to say that we need to stop selling them, but the way that the law is right now, there s no actual legal action Health Canada can take against any of the companies.” RESEARCH RE 2nd Hand Vapour, and Vaping Air Quality /