E-Cigarettes To Be Banned In UK, Illegal In U.S.

In National News on August 9, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Britain’s Medicine and Healthcare Regulatory Agency [MHRA] has reportedly decided to ban e-cigarettes unless the traders apply for certification as a medical device from the MHRA, which could be prohibitivly expensive.

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] has already classified e-cigs as medical devices. Since no one has applied to the FDA to license their sale as nicotine replacement devices, the FDA has ruled that the products are illegal.

Although that ruling is being challenged in court, e-cigs are currently illegal products, and apparently will remain so unless and until the U.S. Court of Appeals rules to the contrary. Britain is apparently worried about some of the same concerns which trouble the FDA in the U.S.

Based upon the limited information which is available to it since sellers have not submitted the kind of medical evidence which would be required for FDA approval, the FDA has warned that e-cigs pose “acute health risks,” that the “danger posed by the unrestricted distribution of [these] unregulated products containing toxic chemicals cannot seriously be questioned,” and that they have caused a wide variety of potentially serious problems “including racing pulse, dizziness, slurred speech, mouth ulcers, heartburn, coughing, diarrhea, and sore throat.”

This is not surprising because the users inhale a mixture of nicotine (a deadly and addictive drug which can contribute to fatal heart attacks), propylene glycol (a respiratory irritant used in antifreeze and known to cause respiratory tract infections), and other substances the FDA has labeled “carcinogenic” and “toxic.”

It appears that these same substances are then also exhaled where those around the user — including the elderly, those with special sensitivities, as well as infants and toddlers — are also forced to inhale them. It is therefore not surprising that e-cigs have already been banned in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Mexico, and New Zealand, restricted in Finland and Malaysia, and the subject of law suits by attorneys general in several states.

New Jersey and Suffolk County, NY, have prohibited their use in no-smoking sections, and New York is also moving to ban them.

The sale and use of e-cigs may not be a bad thing, but their use without any testing and approval by the FDA, with no warnings, quality controls, or restrictions on their sale to children, could be dangerous. If e-cigs meet the criteria established for such products by the FDA, they may become available to smokers wishing to quit in much the same way as nicotine gums, patches, sprays, inhalers, and other nicotine replacement products are currently available, having been tested and approved by the FDA.

(Information from ASH)


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