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Big Victory for e-Cigarettes

by Guy McCardle

June 8, 2011

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Donate Attention smokers! By now you have probably seen those smoke free electronic cigarettes for sale in internet ads or in magazines. They are tobacco free, flame free, and emit a cool nicotine containing vapor that looks like smoke. Since they don't emit any actual smoke you can get your oral/nicotine fix anywhere. Heck, they actually come in different flavors and menthol. Hallelujah!! No no one ever has any excuse to smoke ever again. This device has the possibility to save approximately 5 million lives a year globally. Annual healthcare and lost productivity costs alone in the US, related to smoking, amount to $167 billion dollars. Whoever invented this thing should be given a Nobel Peace Prize immediately! Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? As always, I'm skeptical.

Back in April the FDA decided not to appeal a federal court ruling that asserted e-cigarettes could be regulated as tobacco products and that they "are not drugs or devices" unless specifically marketed for therapeutic purposes, such as smoking cessation. The nicotine used in e-cigarettes is derived from tobacco plants. FDA imposed guidelines for medical devices are stricter than those imposed on tobacco use. This decision can be seen as a big win for the e-cigarette and premium liquids manufacturers. The FDA’s acceptance of the appeals court ruling means the manufacturers of e-cigarettes will not be required to conduct animal or human studies, which the government requires for drugs and medical devices.

I'm not quite ready to go out and puff on a cool nicotine vapor-stick yet. Nicotine is still a deadly poison and one of the most addictive substances known to man. About 1mg/kg is the lethal dose in 50% of humans. This sounds even worse then you consider that it is 95 times more toxic than cocaine. One fact that I found surprising is that nicotine is not a carcinogen. The currently available literature indicates that nicotine, on its own, does not promote the development of cancer in healthy tissue and has no mutagenic properties. Who would have guessed?

To top everything off, these e-smokes cost significantly less than traditional cigarettes. Their current cost is roughly $2 for the equivalent of a pack of smokes. I'm guessing cigs are much more than that where you live. Some places even give the heater/vaporizer part away (butt end) and all you buy are the screw on nicotine cartridges (tobacco end). My guess is that it will all come down to the "cool" factor. If big name celebs get behind these things in big money ad campaigns it may just be the new hot thing. As for me, I remain a cigar man.


by Guy McCardle

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