|Electronic cigarettes banned from airplanes|
|Written by Erin Hogg, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Tuesday, 22 February 2011 22:54|
More questions about the effects are being raised in light of the ban
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced a ban of smokeless electronic cigarettes on airplanes this spring, according to the Huffington Post.
Electronic cigarettes are plastic and metal devices that heat liquid nicotine that creates a vapor the smoker inhales.
They have prompted a debate over how risky they are to one’s health and whether they can even be considered legal, according to the article.
Jim Almeda, health educator at the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness, explained there is still much research to be conducted on the safety of e-cigarettes.
“The findings from a test of 19 cartridges from two e-cigarette products indicated all but one cartridge as having no nicotine and the cartridges marked with low, medium and high nicotine had various levels of nicotine unrelated to their labeling,” Almeda said.
Many airlines have already begun informing passengers that e-cigarette smoking is prohibited on flights.
First marketed overseas in 2002, e-cigarettes did not become available in the United States until late 2006. The industry has grown to several million smokers worldwide with thousands of new customers every week.
The Food and Drug Administration is likely to decide the future of e-cigarettes.
Last year, the FDA lost a court case after trying to treat e-cigarettes as drug-delivery devices, rather than tobacco products, the article stated.
“Also, one cartridge contained a toxic antifreeze ingredient and the devices emitted tobacco-specific nitrosamines and impurities harmful to humans,” Almeda said.
“Since they aren’t currently regulated by the FDA, there is no guarantee that what the manufacturers say the ingredients are in the product, or how safe they claim to be, are actually accurate,” he added.
In addition, there is no conclusive research that indicates e-cigarettes are effective in helping people to quit smoking, Almeda explained.
“Because the safety has not yet been established, I would not recommend them as smoking cessation aids, but they do have that potential,” Jean Swearingen, medical director at Student Health Services, said.
Swearingen said it is too soon to say if e-cigarettes are safe or not.
“In theory, they don’t have as many carcinogens as real cigarettes, but studies are not yet completed,” she said.
E-cigarettes could be banned from public places based on the safety profile, especially in regards to any bystander effects.
Nearly 46 million Americans smoke cigarettes and about 40 percent try to quit each year, according to the article. Unlike nicotine patches or gum, e-cigarettes have opened a legal gray area in public smoking.