E-cigarettes packaging does not contain enough information and warnings. Some badly produced cartridges contain harmful substances such as diethyl glycol and nitrosamines. The long term effects of propylene glycol and glycerol are unknown.
Supply the producers with strict guidelines for warnings. Inspect and regulate, rather than push for prohibition, smoking is not going away. Propylene glycerol has been used as artificial smoke for many years and, when applied in that context, FDA said it to be 'Generally Regarded as Safe' (GRAS).
Liquid nicotine can be dangerous if it leaks.
The lethal dose for nicotine is 30 mg – 60 mg; cartridges hold up to 24 mg. It is therefore important to buy high quality pens to prevent leaking. A lethal dose for a small child already starts at 10 mg.
There are no means of disposal for batteries and cartridges with remaining nicotine. Nicotine can be very harmful for the environment and needs to be watered down first.
So we should educate users to dispose their cartridges as small chemical waste.
By no means can the current E-cigarettes truly be called healthy and it seems as though fear for this type of reasoning is what creates scepticism among authorities.
Though there is a growing group of supporters, including ten reputed French doctors who have recently signed a letter stating their support for electronic cigarettes, and warning members of the European Parliament that regulating them as medicinal products would keep smokers using traditional tobacco cigarettes.
They gave the following reasoning for their support:
- It is the combustion of tobacco that is dangerous for smokers’ health, not the nicotine. It’s well established that nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) are not harmful to smokers trying to quit.
- The main toxics produced by the combustion of tobacco and contained in the smoke are carbon monoxide (CO), responsible for heart attack and strokes, carcinogenic tar and fine particles that cause obstructive chronic bronchitis. Electronic cigarettes are far less dangerous than tobacco cigarettes as they contain no carbon monoxide, tar or fine particles.
- The characteristics of electronic cigarettes should always be compared to those of conventional cigarettes, and if doubts and debates regarding their long-term safety persist, they must be confronted with the certain dangers posed by tobacco.
- The electronic cigarette can be recommended to all smokers who want to quit and it may well be a co-prescribed with patches or oral forms of nicotine, if its sole use is insufficient to enable them to achieve their objective. It is less addictive than conventional cigarettes and thus contributes to a rapid or gradual smoking cessation.
Though the points raised by the government are fair, and nicotine itself is certainly not a healthy substance, we should not forget that most E-cigarettes allow the user to choose different levels of nicotine, from a 'heavy' dose to light or none at all. The ability to gradually smoke less (be less dependant on that nicotine rush) is what makes E-cigarette a great alternative.
A few Azarius crew members have adhered to a strict E-cig only regiment and the first experiences are positive. In one case going from a pack a day to a pack a week without enormous effort.
We don't know if E-cigarettes are healthy, we just know that it's a lesser evil than smoking.