Restrict the Sale of Electronic Cigarettes

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Citing Health Concerns the American Cancer Society Calls for Action

The New York State Assembly health committee is expected to vote on a bill to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are a growing phenomenon with advertisements becoming more and more common on the Internet. The American Cancer Society is in full support of this effort to halt the sale of these products in New York.

"There is no scientific evidence that e-cigarettes are a safe substitute for traditional cigarettes or an effective smoking cessation tool," said Russ Sciandra, American Cancer Society New York State Director of Advocacy. "In fact, they may entice young people into trying traditional cigarettes.  We also have questions about the safety of these devices.  In lab tests, the FDA found some samples contain carcinogens and other toxic chemicals.  Using e-cigarettes can be like trading one deadly behavior for another."

Electronic cigarettes or “e-cigarettes” are battery-operated devices that allow the user to inhale a vapor produced from cartridges filled with nicotine, flavor and other chemicals. E-cigarette companies promote them as both alternatives to traditional cigarettes and tobacco cessation tools.

What are E-Cigarettes?

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), e-cigarettes are combination drug-device products designed to deliver nicotine or other substances to a user in the form of a vapor.1 FDA does not consider  e-cigarettes to be tobacco products.

E-cigarettes are not traditional cigarettes. They are typically composed of a rechargeable, battery-operated heating element, a replaceable cartridge that may contain nicotine or other chemicals, and an atomizer that uses heat to convert the contents of the cartridge into a vapor, which is then inhaled by the user.

Some e-cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive drug.

Safety and Cessation Concerns

There is currently no scientific evidence about the safety of e-cigarettes. In initial lab tests, FDA found detectable levels of carcinogens (nitrosamines) and toxic chemicals, including an ingredient used in  anti-freeze, in two brands of e-cigarettes and numerous cartridges.

FDA determined that users could potentially be exposed to these chemicals.4 This contradicts manufacturers’ claims5,6,7 that their products are safe alternatives to tobacco.

E-cigarettes have not been approved by the FDA for use in smoking cessation. No evidence exists to show they help people quit smoking.

More research on e-cigarettes is needed to determine what ingredients they contain, how they are being used, and what effect they have on users.

Marketing and Youth Access Concerns

Despite the fact that e-cigarettes have not been shown to be effective tobacco cessation tools and are not FDA approved, some distributors are marketing them for smoking cessation.

In one study, FDA found that some e-cigarette cartridges claiming not to contain nicotine actually did.

Government agencies and medical organizations, such as the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have also expressed concern that electronic cigarettes could increase nicotine addiction and tobacco use in young people.

E-cigarettes are often made to resemble cigarettes and available in flavors that may appeal to youth. E-cigarettes may also lead youth to try traditional cigarettes or other tobacco products, which are known to cause disease and premature death.

Many nicotine refill bottles or cartridges are not adequately packaged to prevent children’s access or accidental ingestion of toxic amounts of nicotine.

Additional Resources

ACS CAN Fact Sheet on E-Cigarettes >>>
News: Federal Judge Ruling on Electronic Cigarettes a Missed Opportunity >>>
News: E-Cigarettes Contain Toxins >>>
Memo of Support: Pass NY A1468 to Ban the Sale of E-Cigarettes >>>

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About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing about $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org