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Safety of electronic cigarettes remains up for debate around Augusta

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 5:08 PM
Last updated Wednesday, May 7, 2014 2:36 PM
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With electronic cigarettes becoming increasingly popular, cities around the United States are taking notice – and changing laws.

On April 29, New York, Chicago and San Francisco implemented regulations prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes in smoke-free environments. BreathEasy Augusta says the dangers of electronic cigarettes are a local concern, too.

“We do not know that e-cigarettes are safe and need to restrict them until further research is conducted,” said Jennifer Anderson, the chairwoman of BreathEasy Augusta. “Since e-cigarettes are not regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, there is no scientific data to support the safety of e-cigarettes for the user and for others in close proximity who inhale the emitted e-cigarette vapors.”

Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and San Francisco amended existing smoke-free laws to include electronic smoking devices. Roughly 17 million residents who live in these cities will be affected by the new protections, according to The Associated Press.

Since Aug. 1, Georgia Regents University has implemented a tobacco-free campus policy that includes prohibiting e-cigarettes.

“Some of the same toxins that are found in cigarettes are also found in electronic cigarettes,” said Christine O’Meara, GRU’s director of Cancer Information and Awareness. “E-cigarettes are nicotine delivery devices, as are regular cigarettes, and nicotine is an addictive drug. The cancer center does not support the use of e-cigarettes. Our top priority at GRU is to provide a safe and healthy environment for our students and teachers.”

Not everyone, however, is convinced secondhand smoke from e-cigarettes is hazardous.

“I can’t go as far as saying electronic cigarettes are healthy, but they’re a healthier alternative,” Lauryn Sprouse, the store manager of Vapor Shotz on Broad Street, said. “Not only are they tobaccoless but customers can choose the amount of nicotine they want – and some elect not to have any nicotine at all.”

As for the potential dangers of secondhand smoke from e-cigarettes, Sprouse said she does not believe bystanders are at risk.

“It’s water vapor, so I don’t think it produces any secondhand harm,” she said. “Of course you want to be courteous and not smoke inside certain places but if you smoke outside I don’t think people should worry about secondhand smoke.”

Even though electronic cigarettes don’t burn tobacco or produce ashes, Breath­Easy Augusta claims there are other potentially dangerous consequences.

“E-cigarettes are battery operated,” Anderson said. “However, the nicotine is heated along with propylene glycol – a chemical that’s used industrially as antifreeze, solvent stabilizer and as a preservative in liquid livestock feeds. E-cigarettes deliver an array of other chemicals, including diethylene glycol – a highly toxic substance – and various nitrosamines, which are powerful carcinogens found in tobacco. The vapor that is expelled also includes levels of nicotine and nitrosamines, among other chemicals.”

Other concerns for O’Meara are ads that depict the safety of e-cig­arettes and long-term consequences for teens and children.

“E-cig promotions claiming that the vapor only includes pure nicotine and that e-cig vapor is harmless water vapor are incorrect,” she said. “The aerosol emitted from electronic cigarettes is not purely water vapor but contains nicotine, ultrafine particles and low levels of toxins that are known to cause cancer.

“Public health advocates are concerned that e-cigarettes, a nicotine delivery device, are a gateway device to smoking among youth.”

The Univer­sity System of Georgia has adopted a tobacco-free campus policy systemwide, effective Oct. 1.


According to the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of San Francisco, secondhand e-cigarette aerosol contains the following chemicals and metals:

• Acetaldehyde

• Benzene

• Cadmium

• Formaldehyde

• Isoprene

• Lead

• Nickel

• Nicotine

• N-Nitrosonornicotine

• Toluene

Comments (8) Add comment
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nocnoc 05/07/14 - 07:37 am
E-Cigs are as unhealthy as our Tap Drinking Water.

E-Cigs are as unhealthy as our Tap Drinking Water.

You'll have to read between the lines using the EPA data.
But look at the accept levels of contaminants, then you'll understand how they abused and misrepresented the info.

For you picture people.

So there you have it.
E-Cigs are are unhealthy as our Tap Drinking Water.

curly123053 05/07/14 - 08:10 am
Controlled !!

I feel sorry for people like that who allow themselves to be controlled by stuff like that. I know some who quit smoking cigarettes and went to those silly things because they are so used to puffing on something. That is allowing yourself to be controlled. It's kinda sad in a way.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 05/07/14 - 08:16 am

Here is a quote from the story:

“We do not know that e-cigarettes are safe and need to restrict them until further research is conducted,” said Jennifer Anderson, the chairwoman of BreathEasy Augusta.

Ms. Anderson's thinking is dangerous. One cannot really know whether anything is safe. Complete safety is an unreachable goal.

Instead, the government can consider restricting e-cigarettes after they have been proven to be significantly dangerous.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 05/07/14 - 08:23 am

As usual, NocNoc has provided a heavy does of common sense and truth. For that University of San Francisco Tobacco Control Lab to merely list some chemicals they detected when analyzing e-cigarette liquid provides no meaningful data on which to draw a conclusion.

You have to know the concentrations, then you have to know how much actual vapor a person would likely inhale to be able to draw conclusions on safety or danger.

As NocNoc pointed out, those chemicals listed up above may be found in tap water and bottled water sold for human consumption.

deestafford 05/07/14 - 08:43 am
"We don't know if there is anything wrong or bad....

"We don't know if there is anything wrong or bad with e-cigarettes but as people who are smarter than everyone else and know what is best for the peons, we want to band them. Just understand we are from a health organization and are here only to help you because you are too stupid and ignorant to make your own choices and decisions." is the attitude of these desire-to-control do-gooders.

billy888 05/21/14 - 08:17 am
As an electronic cigarette

As an electronic cigarette user for over 2 years now and almost as long smoke free, I'm glad to see e-cigs making headlines but lately all the negative propaganda is getting irritating.
E-cigs saved my life. I tried everything, nothing worked. I knew it was killing me but I could never go more than a day or two without a smoke. E-cigarettes helped tremendously. It still took a few months even with the e-cigs as I went back and forth for a bit but I was finally able to quit and I feel great. I still feel like I'm smoking but I'm not slowly killing myself and I can actually breath again.
I just watched a just video yesterday where Dr. Gilbert Ross, who is the medical director of the American Council on Science and Health where he explains how electronic cigarettes represent no significant harm either users or bystanders and he himself has used one to quit smoking.
For anyone interested I found it here: they have some great overall e-cig info as well and I think there's even a few brand reviews.
Don't buy all the transparent negative propaganda. If you smoke and would like to quit, I urge you to at least try an electronic cigarette. You never know, you just might enjoy it.

oldredneckman96 05/07/14 - 09:48 pm

An addict can not be expected to be rational when talking about the drug they are addicted to. That is how addiction works. I do not care what these addicts do to themselves, they are free to do anything that does not harm me and my family. That is the issue here, their addiction is harming others when they use tobacco products in public. Too much has been known for too long to continue to allow this, it is time for tobacco to go the way of DDT, Red Dye #2 and asbestos. Smoking, vaping, dipping, chewing; all are unhealthy for the public.

billy888 05/21/14 - 08:22 am
I was a heavy smoker for more

I was a heavy smoker for more than 20 years. The last 10 of those years I spent trying to quit (admittedly, sometimes halfheartedly). I tried everything including Champix at one point. Nothing helped me the way that electronic cigarettes did.

In my opinion you can't even compare e-cigs with other quitting methods which is why big pharma is releasing a host of negative propaganda campaigns.

It's been almost 2 years now completely smoke free and it feels fantastic. I've even cut the nicotine down drastically in the last few months.

It's precisely because it's a hand to mouth action that makes it effective, along with the fact that it actually feel like smoking (without the cough, bad breath and slow death). I can even imagine going back at this point. I had a little slip about a year ago and the cigarette tasted horrendous. E-cigs taste good and you can choose from hundreds of flavors. How many flavors of cigarettes or Nicorettes are there?

If you are a smoker and you are looking to quit, try e-cigs. You might just be surprised.

I just watched a just video yesterday where Dr. Gilbert Ross, who is the medical director of the American Council on Science and Health
where he explains how electronic cigarettes represent no significant harm
either users or bystanders and he himself has used one to quit smoking.

For anyone interested I found it here: there is some great e-cig info there too for anyone looking to try it.

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