A Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher is bucking concerns raised by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding electronic cigarettes, saying they are much safer than the real deal and show real promise in the fight against tobacco-related diseases and death.
Michael Sigel, professor of community health sciences at BUSPH and colleagues were the first to comprehensively examine scientific evidence about the safety and effectiveness of electronic cigarettes. The battery-powered devices, also known as e-cigarettes, provide tobacco-free doses of nicotine in a vaporized solution. The review is published early in the December 9, 2010 online edition of Journal of Public Health Policy.
“Few, if any, chemicals at levels detected in electronic cigarettes raised serious health concerns,” the authors said. “Although the existing research does not warrant a conclusion that electronic cigarettes are safe in absolute terms and further clinical studies are needed to comprehensively assess the safety of e-cigarettes.”
Siegel said available evidence shows the electronic device to be much safer than tobacco cigarettes and comparable in toxicity to conventional nicotine replacement products.
Siegel’s report reviewed 16 lab studies that identified the components in e-cigarettes liquid and vapor. The authors found the level of cancer-causing ingredients in electronic versions are up to 1,000 times lower than in traditional cigarettes.
“The FDA and major anti-smoking groups keep saying that we don’t know anything about what is in e-cigarettes,” Siegel said. “The truth is, we know a lot more about what is in e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes.”
E-cigarettes have proven controversial since debuting in the United States three years ago. The FDA has threatened to ban the sale of e-cigarettes and six national anti-smoking groups — The American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Legacy Foundation, and Action on Smoking and Health — have called for e-cigarettes to be removed from the market.