FDA: Second-hand smoke from e-cigarettes may be harmful to your health
E-cigarettes, the seemingly innocent alternative to the real thing, may not be that harmless after all, the Food and Drug Administration said as it issued an advisory identifying the "volatile" substances in the device and its emitted smoke.
"Electronic cigarettes are not emission-free. E-cigarettes contain volatile organic substances, including propylene glycol, flavors and nicotine, and are emitted as mist or aerosol into indoor air," it said in FDA Advisory No. 2013-015 dated June 26, which was posted on the FDA website Thursday night.
"If several people are using e-cigarettes in a room at the same time, considerable indoor air pollution will accumulate and may result to harmful second-hand exposure," it added.
FDA cited studies showing these "ultrafine liquid particles" measuring less than 2.5 micrometer in diameter may penetrate deeply into the lungs.
Also, the FDA said such ultrafine particles could be inhaled by non-users especially when used indoors.
"Second-hand exposure to e-cigarette emission which may lead to adverse health effects cannot be excluded," it said.
The FDA also cited a German publication on electronic cigarettes showing:
- besides glycol, the main ingredient, nicotine, flavors, tobacco-specific nitrosamines, volatile organic compounds, acetone, form aldehyde, acetaldehyde, benzo(a)pyrene as well as silicate and various metal particles are present
- the particle size is between 100 and 600 nanometers, which is comparable to the particle size found in tobacco smoke of conventional cigarettes.
"The levels of most harmful substances are lower in the e-cigarettes than in conventional cigarette smoke, but they do accumulate in indoor air," it added.
Also, FDA said the study showed four metals - sodium, iron, aluminum, and nickel - were at higher levels than with those known in cigarette smoke.
Five other metals - copper, magnesium, lead, chromium, and manganese - were present in the same amount, while potassium and zinc were present at lower levels.
"Nickel and chromium are carcinogenic and lead is suspected to be carcinogenic," it noted.
Because of this, the FDA reiterated its appeal to the public, especially the youth, "NOT to start smoking at all and to stop using cigarettes, cigars, or e-cigarettes."
It reminded local government units to enforce the Consumer Act of the Philippines, by "strengthening their ordinances against smoking in public places and on second-hand exposure to harmful substances." — ELR, GMA News