Health concerns swirl around electronic cigarettes

Mar 26, 2014

With sales of electronic cigarettes, or "e-cigarettes," on the rise and expected to hit $1.5 billion this year, concerns over potential health risks of using the trendy devices are also gaining momentum and political clout. An article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly magazine of the American Chemical Society, delves into what scientists and regulators are doing about e-cigarettes, which are now being cleverly marketed under more appealing names such as hookah pens and vape pipes.

The battery-powered devices deliver an inhalable vapor, with or without nicotine. Deirdre Lockwood, a C&EN contributing editor, notes that they are often viewed as a safer—and tastier—alternative to smoking cigarettes. Users can choose from an impressive variety of flavors, from key lime pie to black honey tobacco. Some try smoking or "vaping" with the devices as a way to help wean themselves off of tobacco cigarettes, which deliver a toxic cocktail of substances linked to cancer. Although some researchers think the devices are a safer alternative for tobacco smokers, recent studies on the contents of e-cigarette vapor raise concerns about health impacts on users and the public. And regulators, at least at the state and local levels, are taking action.

The article notes that one study has found small amounts of six toxic substances in the vapor of several different e-cigarette brands. Scientists have also detected in the vapor low levels of cadmium, nickel and lead, which can trigger lung and throat inflammation when inhaled. Additionally, because nicotine from the vapor can mix with other compounds in the air to form cancer-causing substances, researchers say parents who vape should be particularly aware of to their children. Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the products, but several states and dozens of counties and cities have banned the use of wherever tobacco smoking is prohibited. At least nine states have outlawed the sale of the devices to minors.

Explore further: E-cigarette use not linked to quitting smoking, study finds

More information: "Controversy Clouds E-cigarettes" cen.acs.org/articles/92/i10/Co… ds-E-Cigarettes.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The rise of e-cigarettes

Mar 11, 2014

The use of electronic cigarettes has grown rapidly across the United States, prompting questions about their safety and whether they serve as a gateway to conventional cigarettes or a means of kicking the habit—or at least ...

Recommended for you

Oat breakfast cereals may contain a common mold-related toxin

Feb 25, 2015

Oats are often touted for boosting heart health, but scientists warn that the grain and its products might need closer monitoring for potential mold contamination. They report in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that s ...

NETL invents improved oxygen carriers

Feb 24, 2015

One of the keys to the successful deployment of chemical looping technologies is the development of affordable, high performance oxygen carriers. One potential solution is the naturally-occurring iron oxide, ...

Research could make blue jeans green

Feb 23, 2015

Who doesn't like blue jeans? They're practically wrinkle-proof. The indigo dye that provides their distinctive color holds up to detergents, but ages into that soft, worn look. No wonder the average American ...

Novel electrode boosts green hydrogen research

Feb 20, 2015

Scientists from the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have developed a novel reference electrode, and are working with hydrogen energy system manufacturer ITM Power to aid the development of hydrogen production ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.