E-Cigarettes are the latest craze and people are passionate about the debate as to whether or not they harm anyone. In a previous post we called attention to studies being conducted that support that e-cigarettes can be a trigger or gateway to other addictions.
Just when Kentuckians thought they had found a way to legally smoke in public places, Lexington, Kentucky could become the largest city to ban electronic cigarettes. One man commented on a blog saying, I would like to point out that E-liquid has the same chemicals that are used in fog juice for fog machines. (minus the nicotine). I don’t hear anyone complain about fog machines being used indoors at public events. So if the council votes to ban e-cigarettes, shouldn’t fog machines be banned as well?
Minors Buying E-Cigarettes
Kentucky has taken a stand on how they want to handle the distribution of e-cigarettes to minors. At the beginning of the year a bill to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors cleared the Kentucky Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously. Senator Paul Hornback of Shelbyville, a tobacco farmer no less, is sponsoring the bill. Governor Steve Beshear has urged lawmakers to take action to keep e-cigarettes away from minors too. With these government officials support, the next step will be to have the bill set as law.
Are E-Cigarettes Harmful?
E-Cigarettes also referred to as smoke free cigarettes sellers say that they are not harmful. Craig Youngblood, president of InLife, an e-cigarette company said, “They are electronic, alternative smoking devices that simulate the sensation of smoking. They do not expose the user, or others close by, to harmful levels of cancer-causing agents and other dangerous chemicals normally associated with traditional tobacco products.”
Medical practitioners disagree. According to Norman Edelman, MD,chief medical officer, American Lung Association, “We are concerned about the potential for addiction and abuse of these products. We don’t want the public to perceive them as a safer alternative to cigarettes.”
FDA Has Yet To Approve E-Cigarettes
“We have an open investigation into this issue,” FDA spokeswoman Rita Chappelle told WebMD. “What is happening right now is FDA has reviewed several e-cigarettes, e-cigars, and e-pipes, and have refused entry of these products into the country. We acted because these products appear to require FDA approval for marketing, and have not been reviewed by the agency.” If the FDA bans e-cigarettes, an action many observers believe imminent, it won’t be the first North American agency to do so. Last month, Canada’s health agency banned the importation or sale of e-cigarette products.
Where Did the E-Cigarette Come From?
The earliest e-cigarette can be traced back to Herbert A. Gilbert, who in 1963 patented a device described as “a smokeless non-tobacco cigarette” that involved “replacing burning tobacco and paper with heated, moist, flavored air”. This device heated the nicotine solution and produced steam but was never commercialized.
Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist, is credited with the invention of the electronic cigarette. In 2003 he came up with the idea of using a piezoelectric ultrasound-emitting element to vaporize a pressurized jet of liquid containing nicotine diluted in a propylene glycol solution. This design produces a smoke-like vapor that can be inhaled and provides a vehicle for nicotine delivery into the bloodstream via the lungs. He also proposed using propylene glycol to dilute nicotine and placing it in a disposable plastic cartridge which serves as a liquid reservoir and mouthpiece.
Nicotine in liquid form is one of the most addictive and dangerous drugs available today. Keeping liquid nicotine filled e-cigarettes out of the hands of minors is a step in the right direction.