E-cigarettes could face stiffer regulation. Good thing, says expert
February 4, 2015
| by Nicole White
California health officials are opting to be safe rather than sorry when it comes to e-cigarettes.
What's in an e-cigarette? Without labeling and ingredient list regulations, no one can be sure. California is considering regulation of e-cigarettes as tobacco products.
The increasingly popular devices are a public health threat, according to a California Department of Health report
released Jan. 28. The department is seeking statewide regulation of e-cigarettes, saying they emit cancer-causing chemicals and increase the likelihood of nicotine addiction. Though more research must be done to ascertain the exact risks of e-cigarettes, the devices are not currently regulated and their ingredients can vary from product to product, said Brian Tiep, M.D., director of the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at City of Hope. "One of the ingredients is proplyeneglycol — a food substance," Tiep said in an interview with ABC7
. "However, when it's heated up high enough, it becomes ethylene glycol. That's antifreeze."While it is unlikely most e-cigs warm the liquid up hot enough to make that particular chemical change, the claims that they are simply emitting water vapor simply are not true, Tiep said. The state legislature is considering a proposal that would define e-cigarettes as tobacco products, and would prohibit their use in public places. A similar bill failed last year, in part due to opposition from tobacco companies — which are among major producers of e-cigarettes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing regulations that would require warning labels and ingredient lists on the devices — a move Tiep applauds. Knowing exactly what is in the liquids heated up in e-cigarettes would be a step toward knowing more about their safety. "There's a lot of research going on about e-cigarettes, a lot that we don't know," he said. "We don't know if they're safer." As a physician, Tiep doesn't recommend them.
** Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion at City of Hope by visiting our website or by calling 800-826-HOPE (4673). You may also request a new patient appointment online. City of Hope staff will explain what's required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.
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