Is E-Cigarette E-Juice Safe?
E-cigarette users who enjoy the luxury of filling their e-cigarettes with a wide range of flavored liquid nicotine products - referred to as E-juice - argue against some proposed legislation that is based on fears of the safety of e-cigarette e-juice, whether it will make smokers out of children, and whether it is truly better than nicotine patches for quitting smoking.
“There is nothing safe about nicotine in any form. And that includes liquid nicotine―which is what is inside an e-cigarette,” says Dr. Oz who tells viewers that even one small teaspoon of this addictive drug referred to as “E-juice” or “Vape-juice” could be lethal.
According to Dr. Oz, E-cigarettes are smokeless nicotine delivery devices that consist of two screw-on chambers. One chamber is filled with a flavored liquid nicotine that is heated into an inhalable vapor by a battery powered second chamber. Part of the appeal of liquid nicotine is that currently there are over 200 flavors of liquid nicotine such as raspberry, key lime, peaches and cream—and even cotton candy and gummy bears!
“But the fun flavors should not hide the risk,” says Dr. Oz. “Along with the nicotine, E-juice may have additives and contaminants that could be carcinogenic.”
In fact, a recent report from Consumer Reports on Health identifies 5 common e-cigarette problems. Furthermore, some say a ban may be warranted in light of lack of any proof demonstrating that e-cigarettes are truly safe and may be harmful not only to smokers, but people exposed to e-cigarette secondhand vapor as well.
With Dr. Oz is special guest Dr. Eric Lavonas, Associate Director of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center who tells viewers that one of the concerns about e-cigarettes that use liquid nicotine is that users are exposing their bodies to too much nicotine in too short of a period of time.
“The problem is that a teaspoon of this liquid contains more nicotine than what a heavy smoker would consume in 24 hours…but it enters the body all at once,” says Dr. Lavonas.
Dr. Oz explains that one reason why smokers find nicotine so addictive is that it stimulates the nerves in the brain that not only helps with concentration, but also relaxes the smoker at the same time. However, when too much nicotine gets to the brain it results in a toxic overstimulation of the nervous system that can result in vomiting and seizures.
“Your whole body shorts out, you shut down…and you could potentially die,” says Dr. Oz.
Dr. Lavonas points out that because of the effect liquid nicotine can have on the nervous system, it presents a real health hazard not only to users of e-cigarettes, but also to children at home who might come in contact with the e-juice that is contained in small, attractive, brightly colored dropper-style bottles. Dr. Lavonas explains to viewers that even one small drop of liquid nicotine is enough to pose a serious health risk to a child and that these bottles can be a fatal attraction to little hands.
“These products should always be up and away and out of sight where small children can’t see them and get to them,” says Dr. Lavonas.
So what is the government doing to protect the public? Very little say many critics of the recent announcement this week that the FDA is proposing new legislation to extend current tobacco regulation to include e-cigarettes that will legally prevent minors from purchasing e-cigarettes and related products.
Critics point out that the proposed ban does not prohibit online sales, nor does it address the problem of manufacturers potentially targeting young children with youth-friendly flavors such as watermelon and bubblegum.
According to this week’s Los Angeles Times, Rep. Jacquie Speier (D–Hillsborough) argues that better legislation than what has been currently proposed is needed:
“With cotton candy and gummy-bear flavors and the ability to purchase e-cigarettes online, our children are still very much at risk even with the FDA’s move to regulate,” says Ms. Speier.
According to a recent analysis by the FDA and the CDC, approximately 10 percent of high school students have tried e-cigarettes and that the trend of use among minors is increasing.