Dr. Kim Wright
According to the May 2014 Scientific American online article e-cigarettes generally contain 3 ingredients, nicotine, propylene glycol and flavorings. Nicotine is a highly addictive stimulant and now there is new science suggesting that it may also impair the immune system. Propylene glycol is used to keep products moist. When it is eaten or applied to the skin the FDA has given it a “generally recognized as safe” designation. However, there is not much human scientific research on the effects when this substance is vaporized and inhaled into the lungs.
E-cigarettes utilize heating coils to vaporize the ingredients. Metals from the coils and solder joints could potentially dislodge from the apparatus and particulates accumulate in the lungs. Tin, chromium and nickel are among the majority of metals used in the coils but other heavy metals could be used since there is little regulation of these products.
The concerns are that the children appealing flavorings such as chocolate and bubble gum has contributed to the doubling of the U.S. high school student use from 4.7% in 2011 to 10% in 2012, as reported from the CDC.
The e-cigarette industry has used the “substantially similar” argument to prevent the FDA from stringent regulation of e-cigarettes as drug delivery devices but the same legislative laws that protect target marketing youngsters with regular tobacco cigarettes does not apply to e-cigarettes, a dichotomy that is unbelievable.
In summary, more controlled non-e-cigarette industry supported research must be conducted before declaring e-cigarettes as safe.
Dr. Wright is a general dentist practicing in West Linn, Oregon. Dr. Wright earned the prestigious Masters Award from the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) in 2011. She has actively served professional associations in leadership roles, such as the past president of the Oregon AGD and past trustee for the Oregon Dental Association (ODA).