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American Lung Association Pushes For Ban On Electronic Cigarettes 790

Posted by timothy
from the pursuit-of-absolute-safety-on-paper dept.
Anarki2004 writes "The American Lung Association is jumping on board the ban-E-cigs-train. From the article: 'So, while the ALA admitted that electronic cigarettes contain fewer chemicals than tobacco cigarettes, they refuse to acknowledge the obvious health benefit that lack of the most toxic chemicals provides to the smokers who switch. Are lives and lung health the real issue here or is nicotine addiction? The ALA must know that numerous studies show that, absent the tobacco smoke, nicotine is relatively harmless and comparable to caffeine. The American Heart Association acknowledges that nicotine is "safe" in other smoke-free forms such as patches or gum.' For those of you not in the know, electronic cigarettes (also called personal vaporizers) are a nicotine delivery device that resembles a cigarette in shape and size, but does not burn tobacco. It is less a expensive alternative to the traditional tobacco cigarette that is by all appearances (though not thoroughly researched) also healthier."
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American Lung Association Pushes For Ban On Electronic Cigarettes

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:37PM (#31861984)

    grow your own tobacco and you'll be fine

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:41PM (#31862064)

    grow your own tobacco and you'll be fine

    There's a little entity called the ATF you have to deal with should you go that route.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:43PM (#31862088)

    Is the government or AMA going to outlaw high fructose corn syrup? Big Macs?

    No, but they should.

  • Re:Good article (Score:1, Informative)

    by GungaDan (195739) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:45PM (#31862116) Homepage

    E-cigs have *no* secondhand smoke at all. They do not burn their content, they vaporize it. The "smoke" you see is water vapor.

  • Re:Nicotine (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:49PM (#31862210)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicotine#Toxicology

    Yes I know it's wikipedia, but it matches all the things I've read in chemistry and health books.

  • Re:Nicotine (Score:3, Informative)

    by farble1670 (803356) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @03:53PM (#31862304)

    "The currently available literature indicates that nicotine, on its own, does not promote the development of cancer in healthy tissue and has no mutagenic properties"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicotine [wikipedia.org]

  • Call them! (Score:5, Informative)

    by spikesahead (111032) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:06PM (#31862558)

    I just called my local branch of the ALA and it turns out this article is mostly scaremongering.

    As it was described to me they are pushing for two things currently;

    Prohibit the sale to those under the age of 18.
    and
    Investigate the safety of the ingredients.

    They're not trying to blindly take away your e-cigs, they're pressing for things that are actually rather reasonable. The person I spoke to stated that they are NOT pushing for a blanket ban, only a request for testing with decisions to be made after official, legitimate research has taken place.

    Seeing as how I want an ingredients list and some sort of quality control on the stuff I'm puffing on right now, this is directly in line with my own interests as an e-cigarette user.

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:08PM (#31862588)

    Wrong. There is precedence that even growing your own wheat for personal consumption is regulated by the administrative branch an the concept that there is an interstate market of wheat, and your growth and consumption affects that market.

    The ATF can and will use its unnatural power however it sees fit.

    However, an the topic of home grown tobacco, it will still have a load of nasty crap in the smoke. Just less than manufactured cigs with formaldehyde, etc.

  • Great for Cannabis (Score:4, Informative)

    by future assassin (639396) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:11PM (#31862664) Homepage
    and it produces NO weed smell when you smoke weed with the electronic cigarette but the filament burns out quickly and the device doesn't last long. Haven't tried it with oil yet.
  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:14PM (#31862728) Homepage

    As long as you continue to feed your nicotine addiction, you will never be able to break yourself away from these crutches.

    Uhuh.

    So?

    Honestly, I don't get American culture. There's this utterly ridiculous obsession with drug dependence, even when the drugs are completely harmless. Hell, even patients undergoing end-of-life palliative care sometimes refuse to take pain killers for fear of dependence. It's ridiculous!

    Honestly, *who cares* if these people are addicted to some drug, so long as the drug itself causes no negative health effects? Does it make them less productive members of society? No. Does it create an undo burden on the healthcare system? No. Does it hurt them in any way, save that they blow a little extra money to maintain the addiction? No! So who gives a shit?

    The only reason to oppose devices like this is because you believe you have some higher moral standard that other people should aspire to. And quite frankly? You can shove that standard straight up your ass, because it's none of your damn business what these people choose to put in their bodies.

  • by Pareto Efficient (1622141) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:14PM (#31862742)

    FDA smoke screen on e-cigarettes
    by Dr. Elizabeth Whelan

    Dr. Elizabeth Whelan is president of the American Council on Science and Health.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/aug/06/fda-smoke-screen-on-e-cigarettes/ [washingtontimes.com]

    "The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a press conference late last month to scare Americans about the so-called "e-cigarette" -- claiming it was loaded with harmful "toxins" and "carcinogens." The agency was implicitly saying: Stay away from these newfangled, untested cigarette substitutes -- better to stick with the real ones, the ones that we are more familiar with, the ones that cause over 450,000 deaths annually in the U.S.

    In making its distorted, incomplete and misleading statement, FDA was violating its long-cherished tradition of sticking to sound science as the basis for its policies. And in doing so, it is putting the lives and health of millions of Americans at risk."

    The FDA has shown E-Cigarettes to be less likely to cause cancer than even nicotine gum based on nitrosamine content.

    FDA report on nitrosamine content of cigarettes, Nicotine replacements and E-Cigs
    http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/ScienceResearch/UCM173250.pdf [fda.gov]

    Canadian report on nitrosamine levels in commercial cigarettes
    http://smoke-vs-vapor.webs.com/Canadian%20Cigarette%20Data%202004.ods [webs.com]

    Website that has compiled data and presented a table of the data for quick viewing
    http://smoke-vs-vapor.webs.com/nitrosaminelevels.htm [webs.com]

  • by timeOday (582209) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:15PM (#31862762)

    This is PARTICULARLY true when the crutch has been reduced to a mere financial draw, with no serious health consequences.

    But that's exactly the question [wsj.com] isn't it? "the groups say e-cigarettes have yet to be proven safe... 'Nobody knows what the consumers are actually inhaling,' says Erika Sward, director of national advocacy at the American Lung Association." "[The FDA] has examined electronic cigarettes and determined that they meet the definition of both a drug and device under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, according to legal filings. Drugs and delivery devices must receive FDA approval before being marketed."

    So, if this were any other new drug or medical device on the market, we would expect some testing to be required before approval. But since it is perceived as an alternative to smoking, which is almost certainly much worse, the case could be made for lowering the bar in this case. But does that argument has any legal basis? People are assuming these are safe; if it turns out otherwise, there could be a lot of upset. We could blame individuals for assuming they're safe without proof, but did you feel like you were going out on a limb when you asserted "no serious health consequences"?

  • Re:Good article (Score:3, Informative)

    by PitaBred (632671) <<slashdot> <at> <pitabred.dyndns.org>> on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:23PM (#31862918) Homepage

    Same with MADD. That's why the founders quit.

  • by sjames (1099) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:25PM (#31862956) Homepage

    For the most part, 'e-cigarette companies' are monNpop operations importing the hardware from China. There ARE no big e-cig companies. The afilliated interests are primarily individuals who have switched from smoking to e-cigs and don't want bans to push them back to burning tobacco.

    The pharmaceutical and tobacco companies are against them because they cut into their profits.

  • Re:Good article (Score:3, Informative)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:26PM (#31862972)

    nope. really, that's all it is. nicotine, fake smoke (For smokers), and that's it. No other millions of chemicals.

    From the FDA Website:

    Newer information from the FDA suggests that e-cigarettes are not safe. A 2009 analysis of 18 samples of cartridges from 2 leading e-cigarette brands found cancer-causing substances in half the samples. There were other impurities noted as well. For example, diethylene glycol, a toxic ingredient found in antifreeze, was found in one sample.

    The reason this is a big deal is that the rate of permanent cigarette quitters for ecigs is substantially higher than the rate of quitters on patches/etc. It's like 7% on patches versus somewheres in the 50% rate on ecigs.

    Do you have a citation for this? Last I looked the data did not seem to be there at all. I'd be curious to see a real scientific study.

  • Re:Good article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bakkster (1529253) <Bakkster...man@@@gmail...com> on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:27PM (#31863002)

    Not quite [wikipedia.org]. Now, these are significantly less harmful than the tar and such in cigarettes, but to say it's 100% pure nicotine is false.

    The bigger plus is that most of these chemicals are absorbed by the user, rather than dispersed second-hand. There are still trace amounts of harmful things in the solutions, not sure how much is released secondhand.

  • GRAS chemicals (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:39PM (#31863216)

    The airborn chemicals you speak of is generally Proplyene Glycol. This "chemical" has been given the status of "GRAS" by the FDA which means "generally regarded as safe" for human consumption.

    Propylene Glycol is in many makeup products and some food additives.

  • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:47PM (#31863354) Journal

    This one's easy. The chemicals in tobacco smoke (GOOD tobacco) dissolve in your saliva and impart a flavor to it, which you can taste on your tongue.. vaguely. However, drinking good scotch (scottish whiskey) with those chemicals lingering in your saliva vastly changes the flavor; for some people, scotch is nothing special until they've had it with a cigar and experienced some amazing epiphany as the flavor opens up and transforms into something truly unique.

    As a result, some whiskey drinkers like to drink good malt liquor (whiskey, scotch, bourbon) with good tobacco.

  • Re:Good article (Score:5, Informative)

    by mweather (1089505) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:49PM (#31863398)
    The anti-freeze is just cheaper than propyline glycol or glycerine, which gives the smoke illusion. It's akin to a manufacturer who uses lead paint instead of normal paint. All products suffer from these kinds of problems.
  • by Orleron (835910) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:58PM (#31863522) Homepage
    The fight over whether this is a drug delivery device or not is extremely important. Cigarettes are commodities. They don't require huge clinical trials and expensive Pre-Market Approvals to be sold. If e-cigs lose this battle and get categorized as Class III combination devices by either the CDRH or CDER (the two FDA divisions that govern devices and drugs respectively), EVERY model of e-cig from EVERY company will require a clinical trial before sale.... not to mention the requirement to follow a whole slew of regulations under 21 CFR for manufacturing, labeling, etc. We're talking millions of dollars to make a damned e-cig. Eventually they might be downgraded to Class II, maybe, but a 510(k) submission is more often not so simple either lately.
  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary&yahoo,com> on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:59PM (#31863544) Journal

    I think you are giving people far too little credit. Most people who use drugs do not become addicted to them, while conversely, some people have addictive personalities and will find something, anything, to become addicted to. Your doomsday scenario is not backed up by modern science. Addictions don't work the way you suppose they do. In fact, even most people who do become addicted to something will eventually gain control over their addiction without outside help. I'm not even sure what you are basing your hypothesis on, certainly not any science done in the last fifty years.

  • by way2trivial (601132) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @05:18PM (#31863828) Homepage Journal

    They themselves have in a press release asked for an absolute BAN

    http://www.lungusa.org/press-room/press-releases/e-cigarettes-action.html [lungusa.org]

    "Our organizations thank Senator Lautenberg for his leadership in urging the FDA to remove these products from the market and echo his call that the FDA move quickly to remove these products from the marketplace. "

  • 60 minutes - SNUS (Score:2, Informative)

    by frog_strat (852055) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @05:28PM (#31863970)
    Anyone see the 60 minutes special on the SNUS ? After around 30 years, the European studies are rolling in and this type of tobacco looks pretty harmless. No lung or mouth cancer. A questionable uptick in pancreatic cancer, and slightly higher blood pressure. Tobacco without spitting.
  • Re:Bullshit (Score:3, Informative)

    by MobyDisk (75490) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @05:37PM (#31864090) Homepage

    The problem is that the e-cig manufacturers are distributing a drug without having gone through the FDA process. They can sell them if they want, but they have to go through the proper channels just like everyone else.

    The manufacturers are taking advantage of the fact that nobody really knows what is inside these things. I can only assume that they figured no one would stop them from selling a nicotine product if they made it look like a novelty and sold it in mall kiosks. But the FDA did notice. If these are a good way to quit smoking, then the FDA will approve them the same way it did with nicotine gum, and nicotine patches. But you can't just bring something to market, smuggle it into the US [smokersinfo.net], and sell them at kiosks in malls. What happens if a 12-year-old kid decides to buy a box of these and dare his friends to smoke them all one night?

  • Re:Good article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dan93 (222999) <danielonolan@nospAm.gmail.com> on Thursday April 15, 2010 @05:52PM (#31864302)
    Actually, you do blow "smoke" though it's just vapor. A fluid called "e-liquid", which contains the nicotine, is placed in the filter where it's heated by a lithium battery and an atomizer. I use one of these instead of cigarettes, and couldn't be happier with it. And while studies haven't been done to prove weather it's safer or not than cigarettes, I find myself breathing much better, and don't cough nearly as much. Also, since there is no actual smoke, there is no risk of second hand smoke or any tobacco smell.
  • by EllisDees (268037) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @06:48PM (#31865042)

    >But this is all very fuzzy; importantly, it's just as fuzzy as "everything will be fine." Read this again: the hypothesis that legalizing drugs will result in a Utopian Paradise or even in a complete null operation (i.e. no change) is JUST AS CRAZY as assuming the whole world will slowly fall apart

    Actually, you are completely wrong. Portugal decriminalized all drug possession in 2001 [time.com], and since then:

    "The Cato paper reports that between 2001 and 2006 in Portugal, rates of lifetime use of any illegal drug among seventh through ninth graders fell from 14.1% to 10.6%; drug use in older teens also declined. Lifetime heroin use among 16-to-18-year-olds fell from 2.5% to 1.8% (although there was a slight increase in marijuana use in that age group). New HIV infections in drug users fell by 17% between 1999 and 2003, and deaths related to heroin and similar drugs were cut by more than half. In addition, the number of people on methadone and buprenorphine treatment for drug addiction rose to 14,877 from 6,040, after decriminalization, and money saved on enforcement allowed for increased funding of drug-free treatment as well."

    So, there is not no change when you decriminalize, there is actually a decrease in use. Still no utopia, but a better outcome than the current system by far.

  • Re:Good article (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2010 @06:54PM (#31865122)
    Apparently [howstuffworks.com] you don't know [ygoy.com] what you're talking about [medscape.com] -- again [slashdot.org].
  • Re:Good article (Score:4, Informative)

    by KahabutDieDrake (1515139) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @07:45PM (#31865720)
    Ecigs don't have SMOKE at all. So there is NO second hand smoke. The "smoke" effect you see from an Ecig is in fact vapor, and not smoke. In fact it is (depending on the source mix) mostly water vapor. It is in fact entirely harmless to any bystander.

    The term personal vaporizor is used a lot. But that tends to make people think of smoke, and there isn't any. Nothing is burned in an Ecig. Instead an element is heated and the liquid nicotine substance is turned to vapor, inhaled and never exhaled significantly. There are almost none of the chemicals found in tobacco, and it's nearly impossible with current ecigs to OD on nicotine (something you probably can't do with tobacco, but could with liquid nicotine substances).

    Frankly this whole thing stinks of a ploy by the tobacco industry to maintain dominance in a field where technology and innovation are about to crush them. That, or keep the tax revenue up... or both.
  • Re:Call them! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Tom09 (1791060) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @08:13PM (#31865996)
    What you have been told on the telephone is simply not true. ALA is one of the driving forces behind pending legislation about to ban e-cigarettes in Illinois ( http://www.iafp.com/legislative/SB3174e-cigarettes.pdf [iafp.com] ) and New York ( http://www.lungusa.org/associations/states/new-york/publicpolicy/assets/memo9529.pdf [lungusa.org] ). 'The Lung Association has called for the removal of all e-cigarettes from the marketplace until they have been determined to be safe.' ALA is pushing for a blanket ban. And by the way, there‘s no need to vape anything unknown. It’s up to you to buy from companies which do provide an ingredients list and quality control.
  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @10:55PM (#31867372)
    Ah but you glossed over the OH&S point. You are absolutely right that legislation should be based on preference, however when it becomes an incredible health risk to work long term in such conditions it's a case of protecting employees. You can't on the one hand have mass payouts to victims of asbestosis while on the other do absolutely nothing about the known problem of lung disease. There are solutions to this problem though impractical such as require all employees behind the bar to wear gasmasks. At our work is forced by OH&S legislation to require us to wear gasmasks when working on any equipment that handles benzine (carcinogen). So why should some poor bar staff member spend 8 hours inhaling a substance that is known to dramatically increase the chance lunge disease? If you ignore this then you can effectively roll OH&S legislation back to the 1920s and watch the return of people getting maimed or worse, killed due to a lack of safety provided by their employers.

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