Critics warn that trace amounts of bad stuff can be found in e-cigarettes’ vapor, but that is not necessarily cause for concern, much less prohibition. As a new review of the literature on e-cigarettes from Drexel University’s Igor Burstyn concludes, “Current data do not indicate that exposures to vapors from contaminants in electronic cigarettes warrant a concern. There are no known toxicological synergies among compounds in the aerosol, and mixture of the contaminants does not pose a risk to health.” In fact, the inability to show proof of harm was one of the reasons the Food and Drug Administration’s 2010 bid to control e-cigarettes as a “drug-delivery device” failed in court. Burstyn notes further there is even less reason to be concerned with second-hand fumes, which are by definition even less concentrated that what the vaper sucks down. His main concern is that users knowingly choose whether they’re getting nicotine or not.
As Michael Siegel, who teaches at Boston University’s School of Public Health, wrote in a recent New York Times’ debate on e-cigarettes, despite evidence that e-cigarettes reduce overall harm from smoking, “many anti-smoking groups oppose these products because they are blinded by ideology: they find it difficult, if not impossible, to endorse a behavior that looks like smoking, even though it is literally saving people’s lives….What’s not to like?”
Naturally, Mayor Bloomberg is leading the charge.
Next move: Banning nicotine patch delivery systems.