Want to quit smoking? Well, it looks like those electronic cigarettes—or e-cigarettes—are not safer than regular smokes. According to a recent investigation, poison control centers across the U.S. have witnessed a 161 percent increase in e-cigarette complaints. 30% of e-cigarettes investigated had as much formaldehyde and acrolein, which are known carcinogens, as regular cigarettes.
What is worse, the investigation found that more than half of the poison control calls were about children who got their hands on e-cigarettes and exposed our found the liquid cartridge inside. Kids have reportedly been injured by ingestion or skin exposure to the liquid. Another report concerned a bedroom fire when an e-cigarette overheated while in the charger, causing a home to burn down.
The FDA and the American Cancer Society both say that there is no evidence that e-cigarettes are safe. The FDA website states:
As the safety and efficacy of e-cigarettes have not been fully studied, consumers of e-cigarette products currently have no way of knowing:
- whether e-cigarettes are safe for their intended use;
- how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled during use; or
- if there are any benefits associated with using these products.
Additionally, it is not known if e-cigarettes may lead young people to try other tobacco products, including conventional cigarettes, which are known to cause disease and lead to premature death
In initial tests, the FDA found carcinogens and toxic chemicals. The FDA is now in the process of promulgating regulations to oversee the nearly $2 billion global industry, a move that the industry is fighting.