How Safe are Electronic Cigarettes?
4/12/2013 (Updated 7:05:15 PM)(Source: Jason Weinstein)
Despite multiple attempts, Maryanne Harkness was unable to kick her long-time smoking habit. That is until she tried e-cigarettes.
"I started using an e-cigarette on January 9th of 2012 and I have not smoked a real cigarette since then," said Harkness.
As a 9-year smoker Mike Micha's experience with the device that allows users to inhale a vapor containing nicotine or other substances wasn't as successful.
"It kind of became that I was addicted to the e-cigarettes and it became another habit that I had so I wanted to quit that. So I tried to quit the electric cigarettes which is the point when I fell back into smoking actual cigarettes again," said Micha.
But the question is are e-cigarettes safe?
"We don't have enough information yet. The FDA has done a preliminary test which did find a couple of carcinogens and some toxins in the ones that they tested but it was a small sample," said Sharon Fischer, Public Health Educator and Coordinator of the Tobacco Control Program for the Broome County Department of Health.
But the owners of Glory Vapes in Endicott take issue with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration study, saying it focused on two brands which used unregulated ingredients from China - ones not used in their product.
"We have reverse-osmosis water. We have pharmaceutical-grade nicotine which is 99.9-percent pure which is derived from the tobacco leaf. We also use propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine. There's no PEG or other chemicals in there whatsoever. It's four ingredients," said Glory Vapes co-owner Brent Hannum.
"It's all FDA approved individually. The only thing the FDA doesn't study or approve is the mixing of the chemical compounds," said Glory Vapes co-owner Anthony Pugh.
The FDA has not approved e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation device. But sellers and some users stress they are safer than traditional cigarettes.
"If there are health risks I can only say they are far fewer than smoking regular cigarettes," said Harkness.
According to the American Lung Association there is no scientific evidence establishing the safety of e-cigarettes. The Center for Public Health and Tobacco Policy says a number of groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics worry e-cigarettes could lead to an increase in nicotine addiction and youth tobacco use.
"There still haven't been tests, really extensive tests on anything, even if made in the U.S. So we need more information," said Fischer.
****In Broome County, Jason Weinstein, Fox 40 HD News****
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