E-Cigarettes: What You Don’t Know May Hurt You

iStock_000013479204SmallE-cigarettes, devices that deliver vaporized nicotine, are not only popular with former smokers but with first-time users – including teenagers. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a proposal this year to regulate e-cigarettes like tobacco products, health experts and the public have little information today about the health effects of these devices.

The potential risks of e-cigarettes are many. Liquid nicotine used in the devices can be dangerous if accidentally ingested or absorbed through the skin, especially for children. Manufacturers are not currently required to disclose all the ingredients in the liquid, making it unclear what users are getting. A recent study in the publication Clinical Cancer Research finds that cells exposed to e-cigarette vapor show unhealthy changes similar to cells exposed to tobacco smoke. 

“Sales are skyrocketing, including use by teenagers, and we need to know more about e-cigarette safety,” says Virginia Mason pulmonologist, Tony J. Gerbino, MD. “We know they can lead to nicotine addiction, thereby serving as a gateway drug to cigarette smoking, a known health risk.”  

To read more on the FDA’s proposal to regulate e-cigarettes, visit the Extending Authorities to Additional Tobacco Products web page.

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