Oregon has already issued a landmark ordinance to prohibit sales of electronic cigarettes across the state. This week two leading vendors of those battery-operated cigarette-look alike devices are contesting the American Food and Drug Administration for detaining almost 50 shipments of their products, mainly from China. The FDA states that the devices are unhealthy and unapproved. The hearing started in federal district court on Aug, 18.
The electronic cigarettes are becoming extremely popular these days, as their distributors keep marketing them as healthy alternatives of traditional cigarettes. These devices resemble conventional cigarettes in appearance and deliver liquid containing shots of nicotine and various flavorings directly to lungs, evaporating a vapor to mimic smoking. The users of e-cigs named the process “vaping.” However, several countries, among which are Australia, Canada, Thailand and Mexico have prohibited sales and use of electronic cigarettes, whereas Oregon became the first American state to ban them.
E-cigarettes distributors keep claiming that the devices are safe for humans, but health organizations, including American Lung organization state that this allegation is highly debatable.
Kathleen Dree, vice chairman of the Upper Midwest branch of the American Lung Association said that they were concerned to hear that the FDA has examined several samples of electronic cigarettes and found out that the liquid contained in the cartridge of one sample had carcinogens and several other poisonous substances that have been inhaled by the users of the devices. The FDA even found diethyline glycol in one sample, a chemical toxic for humans and mainly used in antifreeze and household chemicals
Drea added that the findings should be regarded as preliminary, since the electronic cigarettes are relatively new and no scientist could confirm the long-term adverse effects of constant inhaling of the mixture of toxic chemicals contained in those devices.
The American Lung Association as well as other health organizations are deeply preoccupied about the constant growth of sales of the devices, especially because they had not been approved or regulated by the FDA.
The Chicago court judge will have to rule whether electronic cigarettes should be classified as tobacco-containing product or a nicotine-replacement product. If the devices would be subjected to the classification as nicotine product, then, according to the FDA they would be regarded as ordinary nicotine-replacement therapies and subject to federal scientific examinations and subsequent regulation. The distributors are seeking the court to rule that electronic cigarettes should be classified as a tobacco product and therefore regulated in a looser manner. The Association of Electronic Cigarette distributors, state that their products represent a harmless blend of nicotine and fruit flavoring.