E-cigarettes: looks like the “E” stands for “Eek! Cancer!”

The US FDA has been testing some electronic cigarettes. It seems they’re aren’t the safe alternative to real cigarettes they claim to be.

Specifically, DPA’s analysis of the electronic cigarette cartridges from the two leading brands revealed the following:

  • Diethylene glycol was detected in one cartridge at approximately 1%. Diethylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze, is toxic to humans.
  • Certain tobacco-specific nitrosamines which are human carcinogens were detected in half of the samples tested.
  • Tobacco-specific impurities suspected of being harmful to humans—anabasine, myosmine, and β-nicotyrine—were detected in a majority of the samples tested.
  • The electronic cigarette cartridges that were labeled as containing no nicotine had low levels of nicotine present in all cartridges tested, except one.
  • Three different electronic cigarette cartridges with the same label were tested and each cartridge emitted a markedly different amount of nicotine with each puff. The nicotine levels per puff ranged from 26.8 to 43.2 mcg nicotine/100 mL puff.
  • One high-nicotine cartridge delivered twice as much nicotine to users when the vapor from that electronic cigarette brand was inhaled than was delivered by a sample of the nicotine inhalation product (used as a control) approved by FDA for use as a smoking cessation aid.

(Via Techradar)





0 responses to “E-cigarettes: looks like the “E” stands for “Eek! Cancer!””

  1. It’s sickening that the FDA allows drugs like chantrix to be sold to stop smoking.It’s already proven itself to be a dangerous substance,people have become suicidal on that drug.
    That same agency wants to stop me from harming myself accoriding to them by stopping my use of a personal fog machine mixed with nicotone,flavorings and propelene glycol.
    If this gets taken away from me I’ll just go back to smoking regular cigarettes.
    Surely with the 400 plus chemicals in those including MAOI inhibitors,arsenic and tar I’m not harming myself.
    The FDA could care less about me,they just want more power to tell me what I can or can’t put in my body.

    Regarding Diethylene Glycol:

    Looking at the Health New Zealand study1, the presence of Diethylene Glycol was not tested for. They seem to have based their tests on manufacturer ingredient lists and known tobacco carcinogens.
    So what is Diethylene Glycol? The MSDS2 shows that chronic exposure to Diethylene Glycol can cause lesions on the liver and kidneys, as well as damage to the same organs. In the case of inhalation, the only first aid recommended is removal from the source to fresh air. The toxicalogical information is as follows:

    Oral rat LD50: 12565 mg/kg. Skin rabbit LD50: 11.89 g/kg Irritation: eye rabbit, standard Draize: 50 mg mild. Investigated as a tumorigen and reproductive effector.
    ——–\Cancer Lists\——————————————————
    —NTP Carcinogen—
    Ingredient Known Anticipated IARC Category
    ———————————— —– ———– ————-
    Diethylene Glycol (111-46-6) No No None

    This shows that Diethylene Glycol is not a known carcinogen, nor is it expected to be found as one in the future. In addition, the dose required to kill half of the sample of rats tested is 12.565 g/kg and 11.89 g/kg for rabbits. Assuming this can be extended to humans, an average adult male would have to ingest 855.925 g to receive a lethal dose.
    Is Diethylene Glycol the main ingredient in antifreeze? The EPA3 has this to say about antifreeze variations:

    Antifreeze typically contains ethylene glycol as its active ingredient, but some manufacturers market propylene glycol-based antifreeze, which is less toxic to humans and pets. The acute, or short-term, toxicity of propylene glycol, especially in humans, is substantially lower than that of ethylene glycol. Regardless of which active ingredient the spent antifreeze contains, heavy metals contaminate the antifreeze during service. When contaminated, particularly with lead, used antifreeze can be considered hazardous and should be reused, recycled, or disposed of properly.
    Ethylene Glycol is the main ingredient in antifreeze. While straight antifreeze is toxic, the main hazard is from used antifreeze, which absorbs heavy metals.

    What about Nitrosamines? Nitrosamines are carcinogens. Tobacco specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) are found in the liquid used by Ruyan in their cartridges. According to the Health New Zealand report1, the amount increases with the amount of nicotine, and the average is 3.928 Ng (or parts per billion [ppb]). The breakdown is as follows:

    0mg – 0.260 Ng (ppb)
    6mg – 3.068 Ng
    11mg – 4.200 Ng
    16mg – 8.183 Ng

    The highest amount found was in 16mg liquid, which had an average of 8.183 Ng. In comparison, Nicorette Gum (which is approved as an NRT) contains about 8 Ng. To put that number into perspective, Swedish moist snuff contains between 1000 and 2400 ppb nitrosamines, and unburned tobacco from cigarettes contains around 1230 ppb.



  2. I was going to say basically the same thing, but without knowing such an impressive amount of background stuff.

    Oh, no! An alternative to cigarettes might be bad for you! Yeah, and? As long as there’s no second-hand smoke, who cares?

    Come to think of it, are the FDA trying to ban these things or simply providing people with information about how dangerous they are? If the latter, fair enough. But I doubt it. The FDA are such risk-averse loons they’ve effectively banned decent cheese in the US.

  3. Gary

    Thanks Raven. That’s fascinating.

  4. Gary

    I’m closing comments on this one: I’m getting inundated with e-cigarette spam and I can’t be arsed moderating it.