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Surgeon General, AF, Warns About E-Cigarettes, Reports Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
The Surgeon General of the Air Force has just issued a formal memorandum warning all personnel about the dangers of e-cigarettes [e-cigs], and noting that there use is banned wherever the smoking of conventional tobacco cigarettes is prohibited - ASH
The memo warned that: "Advertisements claim electronic cigarettes are a healthier way to smoke but one sample tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) contained diethylene glycol—a toxic chemical used in antifreeze. Other samples tested by the FDA contained cancer-causing agents yet there are no health warnings on these products similar to those seen on conventional cigarette packages."
The memo went on to warn that: "No studies have been done to demonstrate the safety or effectiveness of these products as tobacco cessation aids and they are not approved by the FDA as a drug delivery device."
It also noted a concern originally expressed by ASH, notes public interest law professor, ASH's Executive Director, and that is the use of these devices to surreptitiously administer drugs other than nicotine. ASH had previously reported ads for e-cigs which administer Cialis and "potent" marijuana.
As the Surgeon General's memo warned: "Commanders also need to be aware that the cartridges used in these devices are replaceable and could be used to discreetly deliver substances other than nicotine."
Previously the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] had warned that: e-cigs pose “acute health risks” which “cannot seriously be questioned” because they contain “toxic chemicals,” and the devices also “presents a serious risk of addicting new users, including children.” It also said that:
* e-cigarette users suffer from a wide variety of potentially serious symptoms “including racing pulse, dizziness, slurred speech, mouth ulcers, heartburn, coughing, diarrhea, and sore throat”
* “nicotine [one of the two major chemicals used in the product] in high doses can be dangerous and even fatal”
* the toxic chemical diethylene glycol was found in the e-cigarettes which were tested
* various mutagenic, carcinogenic, and genotoxic chemicals were also present in the products
* the cartridges containing the nicotine and other toxic chemicals, many of which come from China, are subject to “none of the manufacturing controls required for FDA-approved nicotine-delivery products” [like nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, sprays, etc.].
Subsequent to the FDA's warning, independent scientists have warned about additional potential dangers to users of e-cigs: http://www.newsrx.com/
Many countries and several U.S. jurisdictions have now banned their use in no-smoking sections.
PROFESSOR JOHN F. BANZHAF III
Professor of Public Interest Law at GWU,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
FELLOW, World Technology Network, and
Executive Director and Chief Counsel
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
America’s First Antismoking Organization
2013 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006, USA
(202) 659-4310 // (703) 527-8418
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Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), America's first anti-smoking and nonsmokers' rights organization, serves as the legal action arm of the anti-smoking community. It is supported by tax-deductible contributions.