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Citing Health Concerns the American Cancer Society Calls for Action

The New York State Assembly health committee is expected to vote on a bill to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes or e cigarettes. E cigarettes are a growing phenomenon with advertisements becoming more and more common on the Internet. The American Cancer Society is in full support of this effort to halt the sale of these products in New York.

“There is no scientific evidence that e cigarettes are a safe substitute for traditional cigarettes or an effective smoking cessation tool,” said Russ Sciandra, American Cancer Society New York State Director of Advocacy. “In fact, they may entice young people into trying traditional cigarettes. We also have questions about the safety of these devices. In lab tests, the FDA found some samples contain carcinogens and other toxic chemicals. Using e cigarettes can be like trading one deadly behavior for another.”

Electronic cigarettes or “e cigarettes” are battery operated devices that allow the user to inhale a vapor produced from cartridges filled with nicotine, flavor and other chemicals. E cigarette companies promote them as both alternatives to traditional cigarettes and tobacco cessation tools.

What are E Cigarettes?

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), e cigarettes are combination drug device products designed to deliver nicotine or other substances to a user in the form of a vapor.1 FDA does not consider e cigarettes to be tobacco products.

E cigarettes are not traditional cigarettes. They are typically composed of a rechargeable, battery operated heating element, a replaceable cartridge that may contain nicotine or other chemicals, and an atomizer that uses heat to convert the contents of the cartridge into a vapor, which is then inhaled by the user.

Some e cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive drug.

Safety and Cessation Concerns

There is currently no scientific evidence about the safety of e cigarettes. In initial lab tests, FDA found detectable levels of carcinogens (nitrosamines) and toxic chemicals, including an ingredient used in anti freeze, in two brands of e cigarettes and numerous cartridges.

FDA determined that users could potentially be exposed to these chemicals.4 This contradicts manufacturers claims5,6,7 that their products are safe alternatives to tobacco.

E cigarettes have not been approved by the FDA for use in smoking cessation. No evidence exists to show they help people quit smoking.

More research on e cigarettes is needed to determine what ingredients they contain, how they are being used, and what effect they have on users.

Marketing and Youth Access Concerns

Despite the fact that e cigarettes have not been shown to be effective tobacco cessation tools and are not FDA approved, some distributors are marketing them for smoking cessation.

In one study, FDA found that some e cigarette cartridges claiming not to contain nicotine actually did.

Government agencies and medical organizations, such as the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have also expressed concern that electronic cigarettes could increase nicotine addiction and tobacco use in young people.

E cigarettes are often made to resemble cigarettes and available in flavors that may appeal to youth. E cigarettes may also lead youth to try traditional cigarettes or other tobacco products, which are known to cause disease and premature death.

Many nicotine refill bottles or cartridges are not adequately packaged to prevent children s access or accidental ingestion of toxic amounts of nicotine.

Additional Resources

ACS CAN Fact Sheet on E Cigarettes >>>
News Federal Judge Ruling on Electronic Cigarettes a Missed Opportunity >>>
News E Cigarettes Contain Toxins >>>
Memo of Support Pass NY A1468 to Ban the Sale of E Cigarettes >>>


About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation s largest non governmental investor in cancer research, contributing about $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1 800 227 2345 or visit

Misuse of ‘e-juice’ for electronic cigarettes can be deadly – kansascity.com

No longer. The danger was just too great that a small child would drink the flavored juice marketed in tiny plastic or glass refill bottles. One sip &#x97 nicotine is a potent neurotoxin &#x97 can kill a child.

&#x93 We don&#x92 t want to sell any flavor that might appeal to kids,&#x94 said Wooderson, a partner in a company that has six e cigarette stores in Kansas and Missouri. &#x93 We&#x92 ve done away with several flavors that we used to carry.&#x94

No federal health regulation yet limits e liquid ingredients, which along with nicotine also contain other chemicals. Proposals governing e cigarettes, possibly touching on e liquid ingredients, are expected soon from the Food and Drug Administration.

It&#x92 s also possible that adults can overdose on nicotine because unlike a real cigarette, e cigs don&#x92 t burn down. A nicotine overdose can induce vomiting and seizures, and lead to cardiac arrest.

Meanwhile, sellers like Wooderson are self regulating after serious health consequences reported nationwide when children consumed dangerous amounts of e liquids.

Many U.S. retailers also are worried about other e liquid ingredients, including propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol and vegetable glycerin.

&#x93 We&#x92 re well aware of the risks,&#x94 said Jennifer Lowry, chief toxicologist at Children&#x92 s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.

Lowry said Children&#x92 s Mercy did not think it had seen an e liquid overdose in a patient, but &#x93 when e cigarettes are just lying around a house, a child is going to get into it&#x94 and the possibility of ingesting something harmful grows, &#x93 especially if the liquid smells good, like vanilla.&#x94

Toxicologists say e liquids pose a more immediate danger to a child than tobacco because the liquid is absorbed more quickly, even in diluted concentrations. Adults also can be quickly harmed by absorbing spilled e liquid through the skin.

Industry experts recommend that e liquid users find out what ingredients are being used. But that may not be easy information to obtain, particularly if making online purchases. Some e liquid manufacturers, including those overseas and &#x93 backroom&#x94 mixers, don&#x92 t list ingredients or percentages in the oils that make up the e juice.

&#x93 Consumers need to ask the store for documentation about where they get their oils and the ingredient concentrations,&#x94 Wooderson advised. &#x93 And look for child proof caps on the refillable bottles.&#x94

Lowry said instances of e liquid poisoning may be under reported to date, possibly because the public isn&#x92 t yet aware of what caused a health reaction.

Doctors also are worried that adolescents are gravitating to e cigarettes as a &#x93 safer&#x94 alternative to tobacco cigarettes, but &#x93 in reality the nicotine is just as addictive,&#x94 Lowry said.

In fact, Wooderson has observed that some adult customers, unaware of the true nicotine content in their e liquid, tend to inhale even more puffs than they would with a tobacco cigarette.

&#x93 With a regular cigarette, you know when you&#x92 re done,&#x94 he said. &#x93 A lot of customers don&#x92 t know when to stop with an e cig. Generally, if you take 10 puffs, you should stop, or you&#x92 ll get more nicotine than a tobacco cigarette.&#x94

Experts say the nicotine content in e juice generally ranges between a concentration of 1.8 percent and 2.4 percent, enough to cause illness in children. But higher concentrations &#x97 up to 10 percent &#x97 can be bought online.

A lethal dose at such levels would take &#x93 less than a tablespoon,&#x94 Lee Cantrell, a professor of pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco, told The New York Times. &#x93 Not just a kid. One tablespoon could kill an adult.&#x94

The New York Times contributed to this report.