Electronic cigarettes, more commonly known as e-cigarettes, came to America in 2007 and as their popularity grew, so did the problems associated with them. A July 2015 study by the CDC reflects the staggering numbers of youth who tried e-cigarettes. In 2011, 79,000 youth who had never smoked tried e-cigarettes. By 2013, that number tripled to more than 263,000. E-cigarettes are marketed as a “healthier” choice to traditional cigarettes, but as new information is revealed regarding the true health effects, the dangers are becoming very concerning.
E-cigarettes are filled with a vaporizable liquid. The liquid contains many chemicals, including propylene glycol, glycerol, nicotine as well as different types of flavoring substances. Inhaling the chemicals is not a safer alternative and research is now showing the dangers of how the chemicals change when they are heated. When the liquid heats, it breaks down, producing both formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing agents. Simply put, formaldehyde is a known cancer-causing agent. It has now been shown that the risk of developing cancer from e-cigarettes compared to smoking traditional cigarettes, may be up to 15 times greater.
Because of these dangers, the FDA has announced it will regulate all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco and pipe tobacco. This new regulation will also prohibit the sale of all tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18. This new regulation will save lives. The FDA said “This action is a milestone in consumer protection — going forward, the FDA will be able to review new tobacco products not yet on the market, help prevent misleading claims by tobacco product manufacturers, evaluate the ingredients of tobacco products and how they are made, and communicate the potential risks of tobacco products.” The FDA will also regulate the “parts” and “components” of tobacco including e-liquids, atomizers, batteries, flavors, vials that contain e-liquids and programmable software.
Aside from the dangers to e-cigarette users and those exposed to the second-hand vapors, there is another serious problem. The CDC has released information showing the calls to poison centers between 2010 and 2014 went from one per month to 214 per month. More than half of the calls involved children 5 and younger who had ingested, inhaled or gotten the e-liquid in their eyes or on their skin.
With more than 7,000 e-liquid flavors to choose from for e-cigarettes, many contain the flavoring chemical diacetyl. Diacetyl is a known cause for a disease called popcorn lung.
No cigarette is safe and hopefully the new FDA regulation of all tobacco products will help reduce the dangers and cut down on the use. “Tobacco is a public health threat and smoking/tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States and responsible for 480,000 deaths per year,” the FDA stated.