E-Cigarette Safety: Should Countries’ Regulatory Boards Impose Stipulations On Electronic Cigarettes
With electronic cigarettes growing in popularity and their use increasing, many health advocates are looking to have them controlled.
A Brief Look At What Electronic Cigarettes Are
If you don’t know what electronic cigarettes are, they’re battery-operated devices that have a liquid-filled cartridge filled with various flavors like vanilla, mint, tobacco, chocolate, etc. Some of these cartridges are filled with nicotine, giving people who want to quit regular cigarettes a way to do so and still get the nicotine they need. The cartridges turn into a mist that is inhaled into the lungs.
The Sales Of E-Cigarettes
Several analysts feel e-cigarettes will actually outdo regular cigarettes in about 10 years, give or take. Health Canada has yet to give its authorization to stores to begin selling the nicotine-filled cartridges but they can be found online and at some of the flea markets.
According to a Health Canada spokesperson, there have been no authorized health claims for nicotine-filled e-cigarettes. The spokesperson continued by saying the products’ efficiency, quality and safety have not been determined. Therefore, Health Canada suggests Canadians not use them because of the possible health risks associated with them.
E-cigarettes are often marketed as a “quit smoking” option or a way to replace tobacco. Analysts feel the e-cigarette market will exceed billion by 2017 in the United States, and that e-cigarettes will sell more than conventional cigarettes.
University of Ottawa law professor David Sweanor, who works on health and tobacco issues, said using electronic cigarettes is a viable risk reduction technique for regular cigarette smokers. After all, he said, people will smoke to get the nicotine but they’re dying from the smoke.
World’s Regulation Of E-Cigarettes
The United Kingdom (U.K.) government recently said it would treat e-cigarettes like it was a medicine beginning in 2016. France’s government said it would possibly prohibit e-cigarette use in public places.
According to U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, EU-wide guidelines are set to be implemented in 2016.
The United States Food and Drug Administration, in 2009, found minute amounts of carcinogens and a dangerous substance used in antifreeze in two e-cigarette brands. In a New York Times report, Chinese shipments of the products were blocked until a federal judge had a chance to look over the devices and rule that they be regulated as tobacco products, not medical devices or drugs.
Australia’s government, in March, expressed concern of electronic cigarette use, stipulating that any wide-scale effects are unknown and it could end up hurting the community in the long run.
Singapore legislation prohibits any product – food, toy or whatever – to look like a tobacco product.
According to Dr. Peter Selby, Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Addictions Division chief, it’s not just nicotine in these cigarettes that causes harm. He said it’s not known of the e-cigarettes are meeting safety standards, whether or not they have nicotine in them.
Selby said the key issue is whether or not the e-cigarette developers are meeting the regulatory and manufacturing inspection standards to product their products under hygienic conditions and to ensure that they don’t blow up and incite burns. He said the possibility in danger from inhaling e-cigarette nicotine needs to be compared to inhaling regular cigarette nicotine.
There has to be a framework that studies the correlation between the two so that, once and for all, smokers will know if e-cigarettes are a safer option to traditional cigarette smoking.
As it stands, people think if tobacco is taken away and only nicotine is given, the possibility of danger isn’t so high.
In January, during National Non-Smoking Week, the Canadian Lung Association encourages folks to stop smoking by way of scientifically proven techniques like nicotine replacement gums and patches. The association also does not like the flavors that e-cigarette manufacturers make because of how they appeal to children. They fear that youth under 18 will get hooked trying their tobacco products.
Mario Martinasevic with Esmoker Canada, one of Toronto’s e-cigarette stores, said sales for e-cigarettes have doubled each month. Ashley Harris, a customer at the store, said e-cigarettes without the nicotine is a great alternative to cigarettes because she’s able to smoke in places that otherwise don’t allow cigarette smoke – work, bars, etc.
Harris said she doesn’t want to inhale nicotine and does fine without it. She also said that since making the change from regular cigarettes to e-cigarettes, she feels better physically, her teeth are better, food has a better taste and she’s saving herself money.
Number Of E-cigarette Users On The Rise
Regardless of what denotes smokeless smokers, the number of people using e-cigarettes is on the rise
According to Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), a British health campaigning charity, the number of folks trying and/or using e-cigarettes has doubled – nine percent in 2010 to more than 20 percent in 2012.
Most of the new e-cigarette users were people who had smoked regular cigarettes, with less than half hoping the switch would help them to quit using cigarettes altogether and keep them from suffering the smoking hazards such as the increased chance for dying from cancer that’s caused by the inhaling or toxins tobacco releases when burned.
Are E-Cigarettes Any Safer Than Regular Cigarettes
According to an ASH research manager Amanda Sandford, the new devices only have nicotine. She said nicotine is fairly benign when compared to the tobacco smoke. The addictive part of cigarette is tobacco, she said. Tobacco is what keeps people hooked on cigarettes, and the smoke that’s inhaled as the danger to it.
She said nicotine, when extracted from the tobacco, isn’t harmful.
E-cigarettes are inhalers that use a tiny battery to heat up liquid nicotine into a mist. And, this mist has flavoring, water and propylene glycol, which is a flavoring solvent.
Sandford said people won’t know for some time with the health effects are from e-cigarettes because they’re still too new. Extensive medical testing must be conducted, which leaves many questions unanswered.
One such question is whether or not people will smoke more with the e-cigarettes than they would with regular cigarettes because of the impression they give about being safer? And, this leads to another question: what are the health risks from the added nicotine addiction?
Should E-Cigarettes Be Regulated
A pressing issue in the safety of e-cigarettes is do they have what they claim to have in them. Many of the e-cigarettes imported come from Asian countries like China.
Individual electronic cigarettes had very levels of nicotine even when labels were noted as being “light” or “strong” dosage. And, there’s next to no control over what additives go into the flavoring.
Many countries’ government regulatory boards are trying to come up with a classification for e-cigarettes and guarantee quality standards. And, while these boards come up with a classification, a battle is brewing between the conventional cigarette industry and the e-cigarette industry.
It’s not just about the loyalty of customers. The right involves e-cigarette companies getting their devices categorized as being a tobacco product.
According to the head of the U.S.-based Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association Ray Story, the Europe regulatory agencies generally classify e-cigarettes as being a drug or medical device. Story said a classification like this places a tight sales limitations on them than traditional cigarettes and protects the already-established cigarette distributors from the competition.
What E-Cigarette Manufacturers Say About The Regulations
Story said the e-cigarette manufacturers are fighting against the regulatory bodies. With the end goal being in court that allows the association to legally challenge the classification of the product.
Regulatory boards, he said, will stand on the idea that e-cigarettes are a drug, giving no clarity or factual basis for their classification. Story said they put force against the issue by selling e-cigarettes in a certain country, which leaves the regulatory agencies to incite a ban or other kind of legal recourse.
The companies go to court to answer the citations for selling the products without any type of market authorization, and they get to question why the products fall into a particular category.
As of now, it’s a battle uphill for e-cigarette manufacturers who want to take up more space on the store shelves.
Story said interest is growing with major U.S. tobacco companies who are getting involved with the e-cigarette business, especially as more people make the change from regular cigarettes to e-cigarettes.
Should tobacco giants do get involved in the e-cigarette business; the smoking could be less smoky for the future.
Article Posted: 28/12/2013 01:00:01
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