E-Cigarettes Under Fire
No-Smoke Electronic Cigarettes Draw Criticism From FDA, Medical Groups
E-Cigarettes: Good? continued...
Youngblood says his company makes no health claims. He rejects the idea that
his product is a smoking cessation device and says his company does not
make that claim. He also says his product is not sold to minors.
Youngblood does make this claim: E-cigarettes are green.
"There is no pollution of the environment with this product," he says. "The
vapor is not the same as smoke. And for every odor-free e-cigarette cartridge
people throw in the trash, smokers throw 20 smelly cigarette butts out their
Some firms do suggest that e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco cigarettes.
Most point to a Ruyan-funded study by tobacco researcher Murray Laugesen,
MBChB, of Health New Zealand, a private research firm.
Laugesen analyzed Ruyan e-cigarettes and found nothing inherently bad in
them -- that is, they contained what they said they contained and posed little
threat of immediate harm.
But this was not a clinical study, notes Norman Edelman, MD, chief medical
officer of the American Lung Association, one of the organizations that has
called for an FDA ban on e-cigarettes.
"Laugesen is trying to project what the effects of e-cigarettes might be,
but he doesn't really know," Edelman tells WebMD. "There are no clinical
studies of long-term use of these products."
And some firms do claim that e-cigarettes help people quit smoking. After
all, there's an FDA-approved nicotine inhaler already in drug stores --
Pfizer's Nicotrol. It doesn't look much
like a cigarette, but it doesn't look much different than some e-cigarette
What's the difference?
"The Nicotrol inhaler is an approved smoking cessation device," says the
FDA's Chapelle. "Because these e-cigarette products haven't been reviewed by
the agency, their labeling has to be reviewed, their intended use has to be
reviewed, and all of their ingredients and components have to be reviewed."
Edelman says nicotine addiction is bad and that people with the habit need
help quitting, not help continuing their habit in more socially acceptable
And there's no proof that e-cigarettes don't cause long-term harm. That's
what bothers all the health experts who discussed e-cigarettes with WebMD.