On October 1st, we had reported in our blog post Tobacco Kills. E-Cigarettes, Not Sure. So Smoke Tobacco, Siobhan DeLancey, Press Officer at FDA, stated:
“There are no long-term studies on the health effects of just nicotine, minus the tobacco component. We know what smoking tobacco does to the body over the long term,” DeLancey said. “What we want to see are well-designed clinical studies. Personal reports are not enough,” DeLancey said.
A recently published study done in 1996 on the long term effects of inhaled nicotine is now available.
The Department of Medicine, University Hospital, Tronheim, Norway, found:
“Tobacco smoking has been reported to be associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, particularly of the lungs. In spite of extensive research on the health effects of tobacco smoking, the substances in tobacco smoke exerting these negative health effects are not completely known. Nicotine is the substance giving the subjective pleasure of smoking as well as inducing addiction. For the first time we report the effect on the rat of long-term (two years) inhalation of nicotine. The rats breathed in a chamber with nicotine at a concentration giving twice the plasma concentration found in heavy smokers. Nicotine was given for 20 h a day, five days a week during a two-year period. We could not find any increase in mortality, in atherosclerosis or frequency of tumors in these rats compared with controls. Particularly, there was no microscopic or macroscopic lung tumors nor any increase in pulmonary neuroendocrine cells. Throughout the study, however, the body weight of the nicotine exposed rats was reduced as compared with controls. In conclusion, our study does not indicate any harmful effect of nicotine when given in its pure form by inhalation.”
Please note this study was not done on the electronic cigarette. The e-Liquid in an electronic cigarette is not pure nicotine. The e-Liquid is generally comprised of propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine, water, and flavorings. No long term studies have been done to show the electronic cigarette vapor is safe to humans. The product has been used worldwide for about 5 years and in the US for over 2 years. To date there are no reported serious side effects.
If you are now wondering about the propylene glycol, studies have been done on the inhalation of propylene glycol by the EPA and “the Agency has concluded that there are no endpoints of concern for oral, dermal, or inhalation exposure to propylene glycol.” But again, please note that this was not a study of long term, direct inhalation of PG.
It is clear that in the current quest for public health, there is some serious misinformation going on. It appears that there is a clear lack of understanding between the differences of combustion and vaporization and that it is no longer the burden of the accuser to show proof that the electronic cigarette vapor is in fact dangerous.
One “public health” organization, who we will not name, hasn’t even updated their own research links page regarding scientific studies since 2005. Considering this, it is no wonder they are trapped in a bubble and not seeing the electronic cigarette for what it is and that is an alternative to something that kills over 400,000 Americans per year.
All we ask is that those in the public health sector keep an open mind to the technology, base decisions on the most current science available, and work with the electronic cigarette industry rather than against it, to make sure smokers have all the necessary information to make a decision for themselves.
The current studies and science on the electronic cigarette is not perfect, as it never is. And yes, more testing needs to be done. And yes, in the meantime this is an alternative to smoking tobacco which kills a good percentage of it’s users.