Since the FDA released their news release warning against the use of electronic cigarettes, I have found myself bombarded by friends and co-workers trying to save my life. “I saw it on the news last night, e-cigarettes cause cancer,” one said. Another merrily informed me that, “There’s antifreeze in your liquid! You’re inhaling anti-freeze!” Then the inevitable, “They’re pulling them from the market.”
Nine out of eleven of these people were smokers, I might add. The worst was when a friend of mine who also uses an e-cigarette instant messaged me in a panic, under the impression that he had made a terrible decision and needed to go back to tobacco cigarettes.
After enduring this all day, I feel like I need to write about it in more detail than I can get into during passing conversation to defend my decision to quit smoking and enjoy vaping instead.
The FDA reports that they found a trace of Diethylene Glycol in one of the two samples of e-liquid they tested, a “chemical used in antifreeze”. Upon further review of the lab test, I found that they obtained both of their liquid samples from American companies (NJOY and Smoking-Everywhere), and the Diethylene Glycol was found in the Smoking-Everywhere liquid. My first thought upon reading this is, “Awesome. Leave it to the least reputable company in the business to give the FDA just what they need to launch their campaign against e-cigarettes.”
Regardless, some people have been lead to believe that they’re practically injecting antifreeze into e-liquid. However, the main ingredient in antifreeze is Ethylene Glycol, not Diethylene Glycol. In fact, in a material safety study performed by JT Baker, Diethylene Glycol was listed as only requiring fresh air when inhaled in high doses, and that it’s “not expected to require first aid measures”. The danger in this chemical lies mainly in the ingestion of high amounts, where it may cause lesions and other damage to the liver and kidneys. Conveniently, the report provided by the FDA failed to mention exactly how much Diethylene Glycol was found in the liquid and in which specific liquids it was found in – be it in one flavor/nicotine concentration, or in all of them.
Redundantly, they move on to report the findings of nitrosamines in the liquid, failing to also mention that FDA-approved products designed to help people quit smoking like Nicoderm CQ and Nicorette contain the same nitrosamines! This is because it’s impossible to extract nicotine from tobacco without also getting traces of the nitrosamines that come with it. Where you have nicotine, you also have nitrosamines.
The real kicker for me is their fear of electronic cigarettes appealing to minors due to the wide variety of flavored liquids available. This after the FDA approves Perrigo to market Cherry and Cinnamon flavored nicotine lozenges. They talk like any child can walk around the corner, buy an e-cigarette and begin puffing away just like that. The fact is that even American manufacturers are few and far between, the mall kiosks you may happen to find do card, purchasing on-line requires age verification, and it costs anywhere between $100-$200 dollars to get started properly. There’s also the learning curve and upkeep factor that even most smokers I’ve introduced it to can’t handle. The truth of the matter is that it’s so much easier for a teenager to walk to the corner gas station, hope they don’t get carded and fork over five bucks for a pack of cigarettes and light up. Or, if they’re so concerned about flavor being a factor, what makes them think the kid won’t just do the obvious and buy a chocolate bar or some mints? Tobacco has always tasted disgusting, and the taste has never prevented anyone, young or old, from getting addicted.
The FDA is missing the point. E-cigarettes are not marketed as a risk free past time. They’re marketed as a healthier alternative to smoking for smokers. The manual that came with my e-cigarette states:
“E-cigarette is a revolution in the market directed toward smokers. […] Suitable User: Adults; People with long smoking history, and suffering from uncomfortable feeling.”
Granted, the Chinese aren’t so great with their English, but their intentions are stated plain and simple.
Everyone is aware that nicotine is bad for you. We’re also aware that there is nicotine in the e-cigarette cartridges. There is no one saying that vaping is a 100% healthy way to smoke. What the FDA has blasted off for the media to broadcast is really nothing but a statement of what we already know, however twisted around to essentially give smokers the message that they should continue to smoke because this whole e-cigarette thing is simply too good to be true. Or use one of their FDA-approved products like Nicorette that rarely work and cost you an arm and a leg. Better yet, try their nicotine free alternative, Chantix, which has driven at least 55 people to suicide! How’s that for healthy?
Hidden behind the blatant propaganda of this report is some actually very good news for people who care to look. They found one harmful chemical in their test. One, compared to the over 2,000 chemicals found in tobacco cigarettes. Another study was done on e-liquid by Health New Zealand which reported nitrosamine findings in 16mg nicotine liquids of 8.183 parts per billion, with obviously much less found in lower nicotine strength liquids. To put a bit of perspective on the bigger picture here, the typical tobacco cigarette contains around 1,230.00 ppb.
However, I agree that e-liquid needs to be regulated. Different studies for different liquids always provide slightly different results, as occurred with this Diethlyne Glycol fiasco. I agree that the same efforts made to keep minors from attaining tobacco should be applied to e-cigarette products. However, I can’t stand behind the FDA when they’re attempting to ban something that could save thousands of lives. This device totes the highest success rate of any nicotine alternative method to date, and I’m stunned the FDA is ignoring it.
“Health care professionals and consumers may report serious adverse events (side effects) or product quality problems with the use of e-cigarettes to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail, fax or phone.”
I began using an e-cigarette in my eleventh serious attempt to quit smoking tobacco. After three days, I no longer had any cravings for a cigarette. I stopped having nicotine fits at work. Within a week I developed a horrible cough and began to hack up dark gunk that had built up in my lungs from smoking at least a pack a day for five years. Now, my lungs feel clean and I’m breathing better; even my asthma has settled down. I have a better appetite, and more energy. I can run farther than I have in years. My sex drive has shot through the roof. I no longer waste three hours a day going outside to smoke. I stopped smelling like cigarettes and I have fresh breath. My overall quality of life has improved immensely.
This is serious. Please help.