Tuesday, 27 February, 2024
HomeFocusDebate continues to rage over e-cigarette regulation

Debate continues to rage over e-cigarette regulation

Whether it is rising cigarette prices or tightening smoking regulations, more people are turning to electronic cigarettes to kick the habit but the debate about e-cigarettes' safety and efficacy rages, reports [s]Health-e[/s]. Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-powered devices that look like conventional cigarettes but contain no tobacco. Instead, the devices are filled with liquid nicotine, which is heated and vaporised before being inhaled. However, the [b]International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease[/b] has warned that the safety of e-cigarettes had not been scientifically proven. A cause for concern is also the unregulated manufacturing of e-cigarettes, which have been found to contain poisonous and sometimes carcinogenic substances. Although more reputable brands may have stricter manufacturing controls, without regulation users have no guarantee of what is actually in their e-cigarettes. Worldwide, sales are booming and increased by 240% between 2012 and 2013.

Hoping to set a benchmark for standards around the world, the European Parliament has approved rules for the region’s fast-growing market for electronic cigarettes, reports [s]The New York Times[/s]. Beginning in mid-2016, advertising for e-cigarettes would be banned in the 28 nations of the EU, as it already is for ordinary tobacco products. E-cigarettes would also be required to carry graphic health warnings and must be childproof. The amount of nicotine would be limited to 20 milligrams per millilitre, similar to ordinary cigarettes. Also, the [b]US Food and Drug Administration[/b] is soon expected to issue regulations for the devices; some US cities have already acted independently to ban e-cigarettes in public places.

Los Angeles officials have joined a growing list of cities that treat e-cigarettes just the same as regular cigarettes, banning their use in parks, restaurants and most workplaces. The [s]Los Angeles Times[/s] quotes [b]Dr Jonathan Fielding[/b], director of the [b]LA County Department of Public of Health[/b] as saying that the growing acceptance of ‘vaping’ – as e-cigarette use is known – threatens to undermine decades of public education efforts aimed at stigmatising smoking. Other e-cigarette opponents said they do not want to risk the possibility that the second-hand vapour will be found to be harmful. The lack of federal data on the question has given ammunition to supporters of e-cigarettes who assert that the council is acting prematurely, the report says.

Cambodia has gone a step further and has banned e-cigarettes and shisha pipes – a Middle-Eastern tradition of smoking flavoured tobacco via pipes and a water bowl also known as hookah or hubbly-bubbly. [s]The Times[/s] reports that the country’s [b]National Authority for Combating Drugs[/b] said that while neither is classified as a drug, they contain high levels of nicotine that ‘affect the health more seriously than cigarettes’.

A report in [s]The New York Times[/s] says the emergence of ‘Hookah pens’ or ‘e-hookahs’ or ‘vape pipes’ is frustrating public health officials who are already struggling to measure the spread of e-cigarettes, particularly among young people. Public health authorities worry that people are being drawn to products that intentionally avoid the term ‘e-cigarette.’ Of particular concern is use among teenagers, many of whom appear to view e-cigarettes and e-hookahs as entirely different products when, for all practical purposes, they are often indistinguishable.

Little is known about the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes, but [b]Stanton Glantz, a Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco[/b] believes they have become a ‘gateway’ device for young people who then will move on to smoking real cigarettes. According to a San Francisco Chronicle report, while they have been characterised by tobacco companies as a smoking-cessation device, he said most smokers don't use them to quit, but simply for situations where regular cigarettes are banned. ‘The amount of toxic stuff in e-cigarettes is less than cigarettes – they have about 10% of the bad stuff. But the fact is that cigarettes are so ridiculously toxic, even something one-tenth as bad is still quite toxic,’ he said.
[link url=http://allafrica.com/stories/201402270737.html?page=2]Full Health-e report[/link]
[link url=http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/27/business/european-union-approves-tough-rules-on-electronic-cigarettes.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20140227&_r=0]Full report in The New York Times[/link]
[link url=http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-0305-e-cigarettes-20140305,0,2449939.story#axzz2v4xsLuxJ]Full Los Angeles Times report[/link]
[link url=http://www.timeslive.co.za/lifestyle/family/2014/02/27/cambodia-bans-smoking-shisha-and-e-cigarettes]Full report in The Times[/link]
[link url=http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/05/business/e-cigarettes-under-aliases-elude-the-authorities.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20140305&_r=0]Full report in The New York Times [/link]
[link url=http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/S-F-Supervisor-Eric-Mar-crafts-plan-to-regulate-5285787.php?utm_source=nextdraft&utm_medium=email]San Francisco Chronicle[/link]
[link url=http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1840772]Study[/link]

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