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Consumer Reports Warns Buyers about the 5 Most Common E-Cigarette Problems

Tim Boyer's picture
E-Cigarette dangers

Just how safe are electronic cigarettes known as “e-cigarettes” by consumers, and who’s regulating their production and sale? According to a recent special report by experts from Consumer Reports on Health, not much about their safety is known. And currently - nobody is overseeing and regulating their manufacture and sale.

E-cigarettes are marketed as the smart alternative to smoking regular tobacco cigarettes because they deliver an atomized form of nicotine vapor without added carcinogens, carbon monoxide or harmful smoke particles. How they work is that as a user puffs on one end, a tiny electronic device in the e-cigarette becomes activated and heats up a nicotine cartridge. The contents of the cartridge become atomized into a vapor that is then inhaled. The remainder of vapor that is exhaled by the smoker then quickly evaporates and thereby avoids the complication of emitting noxious second-hand smoke.

While the makers of electronic cigarette make claims that e-cigarettes are a safe and smart way to quit smoking, neither claim has been thoroughly put to the test to convince experts one way or the other. One of the biggest fears of e-cigarettes is that while some carcinogens have been removed from the hazard of smoking, it is only being replaced by another type of carcinogen—namely, diethylene glycol, a dangerous chemical used in antifreeze.

Furthermore, many brands of e-cigarettes contain unlisted ingredients that may be just as harmful as those found in regular tobacco cigarettes. Without regulation by the government and disclosure by manufacturers, it’s a health risk to inhale who-knows-what.

From data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, Consumer Reports on Health recently disclosed the 5 most common e-cigarette problems reported by users and healthcare providers. These complaints consist of:

• 32 complaints of respiratory problems, some related to secondhand exposure.

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• 12 hospitalizations involving blood pressure abnormalities, disorientation, pneumonia, seizures, other health problems including 2 reported deaths.

• 10 heart problems including arrhythmias and congestive heart failure.

• 10 allergic reactions.

• 4 exploding e-cigarettes with 3 reportedly resulting in burns.

While, Consumer Reports on Health adds that these reports of complaints are not proven to be directly caused by the e-cigarettes, and that some of the complaints could be related to pre-existing medical conditions or other unrelated causes, their final recommendation to consumers is that e-cigarettes should be avoided and not to be started as a new habit out of fun believing that they are safe.

For an informative article about a study that reports that e-cigarettes are not safe, click-on the titled link, “Smoking Alternative E-cigarettes Not Safe Study Says.”

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Reference: Consumer Reports on Health April 2014 issue