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The FDA has issued a health warning about the potential dangers of electronic cigarettes, commonly referred to as E-Cigarettes, which are growing in popularity, claiming to be safer than normal cigarettes, and which seem to be marketed primarily towards young people.
E-Cigarettes are battery-powered devices, usually shaped like a pen, cigarette or cigar, which heat up a flavored nicotine solution when the user inhales. The resulting vapors are inhaled in the same manner as smoking a cigarette.
The FDA released a warning on Wednesday that laboratory analysis of some E-cigarettes revealed that they contain carcinogens and toxic chemicals. One of the detected chemicals, diethylene glycol, is an ingredient used in anti-freeze. The tests also found nitrosamines, some of which are known to cause cancer and also are present in normal cigarettes.
The FDA considers E-cigarettes a combination drug-device product that falls under its jurisdiction, but that jurisdiction has been challenged in court by E-cigarette manufacturers. The agency has been stopping shipments of E-cigarettes, a Chinese invention, at the borders for examination.
E-Cigarettes are sold mostly at mall kiosks and through the internet. The FDA is also concerned that the devices appear to be directly marketed to young people, do not contain any health warnings, and are currently virtually unregulated. They come in flavors such as bubblegum, chocolate, and mint.
Public health experts expressed concern that the cigarettes could increase nicotine addiction in young people, and that they are being marketed as being safer than they really are.
Smoking Everywhere, Inc. has a pending e-cigarett lawsuit against the FDA, claiming that it is overstepping its jurisdiction, and that E-cigarettes should be considered similar to cigarettes, which are not regulated by the FDA. The lawsuit was filed earlier this year after the FDA blocked a shipment to Smoking Everywhere, Inc. from entering the country.