SFATA: New Toxicity Report Reveals Continued Support for Electronic Cigarettes

Top Quote The Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA) announces a recent report authored by an independent research and toxicology consulting firm supporting industry conclusions involving comparisons of electronic cigarettes to tobacco burning cigarettes (TBCs). End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) October 10, 2012 - The Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA) announces a recent report authored by an independent research and toxicology consulting firm, Environmental Medicine Inc. (EMI), that supports previous research on electronic cigarettes (e-cig) as well as industry conclusions involving comparisons with tobacco burning cigarettes (TBCs). The EMI report provides an extensive toxicological profile involving inhalational exposure of electronic cigarettes with specific reference to the most basic and common e-cig components namely propylene glycol, known as safe as a food ingredient by FDA, nicotine, the substance in tobacco that is responsible for its powerful addictive action, and glycerin, a natural constituent of both animals and plants. The report also includes identification of specific toxicity endpoints such as cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer among other morbidities as they are causally associated with conventional TBCs.

    EMI applied its own research and expert knowledge based on prior analysis in order to comprehensively examine air drawn through electronic cigarettes to determine the potential effects due to the presence of three major components of the aerosol: propylene glycol, nicotine, and glycerin as well as several other low concentration solvents. The chemical analysis study was performed by a highly regarded and well qualified analytical laboratory, where they analyzed the air drawn through electronic cigarettes (simulating human puffing behavior) and looked for the presence of combustion products such as tar, tobacco specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocrabons (PAHs) and carbon monoxide. This analytical study utilized Solid Phase Microextraction (SPME) as well as gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) technologies. The subsequent report by EMI was based on this analytical work as well as the scientific literature. EMI reviewed the potential for adverse health effects of electronic cigarette smoking and the study of components not found in electronic cigarette smoke, citing over 60 references for comparison and analysis.

    Results of the EMI report concluded that the major components of electronic cigarettes including propylene glycol and glycerin posed no increased risk of adverse health effects usually associated with TBCs, namely Cancer, COPD and cardiovascular disease. Additionally, it was noted that nicotine per se is not carcinogenic, is currently approved by the FDA and is on the market for smoking cessation in various forms. In this regard, nicotine has shown no serious adverse effects on health as presently used. Comparisons delineating approximately 98 of the known hazardous tobacco smoke components revealed that none of these compounds were present in the aerosol generated from the specific electronic cigarettes analyzed The additional data from genotoxicity studies support a conclusion that potential exposures to ethanol, methanol, and methylene chloride, if indeed they are present in the aerosol produced from electronic cigarette usage, is negligible and not likely to be carcinogenic in humans.

    As for other comparisons with TBCs, the EMI report revealed that the effect of TBCs on cardiac function showed a significant elevation in blood pressure (+8 % in systolic pressure and +6% in diastolic pressure) and heart rate (+10%) after smoking conventional tobacco burning cigarettes while electronic cigarettes produced only a minimal change in systolic pressure with no change in diastolic blood pressure or heart rate. This work is ongoing.. The EMI report notes, "The absence of combustion products from not burning tobacco provides a safer alternative to conventional tobacco burning cigarettes and that the substitution of electronic cigarettes for TBCs is likely to be beneficial to health, at least with respect to cardiac function."

    As assessments continued, the EMI report noted that tobacco specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) are present in both burned tobacco cigarette smoke and in unburned tobacco. However, several polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are known to be present in TBC smoke due to the combustion of tobacco and are not found to be present in the aerosol generated from electronic cigarettes. The EMI report reveals that evidence for PAH involvement is strong and these compounds may play an important role in cancer induction. Finally, since no substantial concentration of carbon monoxide was detected in the aerosol from electronic cigarettes, the users of electronic cigarettes are at no increased risk of cardiovascular disease or adverse effects from this combustion related toxicant.

    In conclusion, EMI claims that the agents known to produce deleterious effects in tobacco smokers, including TSNAs, PAHs, carbon monoxide and tar, are not present in the particular electronic cigarettes tested. The authors of the report state, "the users of electronic cigarettes are at no increased risk of adverse health effects as compared to the users of conventional tobacco burning cigarettes. Based on this review, we contend that the reduction in tobacco risk with the use of electronic cigarettes is substantial and positive."

    For a copy of the EMI report and more information, please contact the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA) at 218-22SFATA or info ( @ ) sfata dot org. SFATA is the voice of the electronic cigarette industry. It is the only advocacy group in the industry that represents manufacturers, distributors, retailers and stakeholders. SFATA is committed to cohesive, self-regulated industry promotion, education and outreach at the consumer, legislative, and regulatory levels. Visit www.SFATA.org for more information.

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