On July 22nd, 2009, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) held a press conference to announce the results of the smokeless cigarettes studies¹ they had done on two brands of the smokeless cigarette, more commonly known as electronic cigarettes, e-cigs or electronic smokes.
It seems the FDA found trace amounts of “tobacco-specific nitrosamines,” “tobacco-specific impurities,” and “diethylene glycol” (used in antifreeze) in these e-cigs.
Electric Cigarette Dangers – The Truth Is Concealed
No mention was made of the fact that nitrosamines are also to be found in such commonly-consumed foods as bacon and beer, nor that FDA-approved smoking-cessation products like NicoDerm CQ and Nicorette gum also contain trace amounts of carcinogens, nor that FDA-approved tobacco cigarettes contain over 4,000 hazardous chemicals, nor that diethylene glycol is ‘not’ a substance used in the manufacture of e-cigs, so how could it possibly have turned up in the test results?
Nobody was thinking of these things at the time of the FDA press release. Everyone was so horrified at the thought that there might be antifreeze in their e-cigs that critical evaluation of the announced results was temporarily suspended.
Self-Serving ‘Dangers Of Electronic Cigarettes’ Scare Tactics
After the dust settled a bit, though, people began to see the FDA announcement for what it really was…a scare tactic designed to protect the profits of the smoking-cessation-products industry, the tobacco-products industry, and the states’ tax revenues from the sale of tobacco cigarettes.
This, in turn, caused public-health professionals like Dr. Joel Nitzkin to take issue with the FDA. He submitted two Citizen Petitions² on behalf of the Tobacco Control Task Force.
The first petition asked the FDA to “reclassify nicotine vaporizers, also known as e-cigarettes, from drug-device combinations to a tobacco product.”
The second petition asked the FDA to “follow up on its July 22, 2009, press release with another press release based on new information” which Dr. Nitzkin attached to both petitions.
Focusing on Harm Reduction
Dr. Nitzkin came forward with these Citizen Petitions because “reclassification of e-cigarettes to tobacco products could open the door to a new harm-reduction component to current tobacco-control programming. That new component, in turn, could rapidly and substantially reduce tobacco-related illness and death without increasing the numbers of teens initiating nicotine use.”
When he signed these Citizen Petitions, Dr. Nitzkin declared that “neither I nor the American Association of Public Health Physicians have received or anticipate receipt of any financial support from any electronic-cigarette enterprise, any other tobacco-related enterprise, or any pharmaceutical enterprise.” The purpose of this statement, I’m sure, was to make it clear that this unbiased report was not influenced by financial contributions.
Read more about these FDA studies: Electronic Smokes – FDA Studies Don’t Tell the Whole Story