If there is one thing that has remained prevalent about e-cigarettes, it’s the fear that they seem to generate, and that fear only reinforces the idea among current tobacco smokers that they’re better off with their traditional cigarettes. One tainted article spreads unwarranted fear among the people, and those people then turn lies into truth by spreading the false message to others. Thus, more and more people continue to argue against the use of e-cigarettes – citizens, politicians and doctors alike.
No matter the research that is done, more and more seem to be sounding off against the possible life saving device. But often times their logic seems to be a bit misplaced, like this quote, for instance…
“So far there hasn’t been very much chronic use of e-cigarettes. So it’s not possible to say there will be no harm.” Those are the words of Dr. Norman Edelman, a senior medical consultant for the American Lung Association, and he disagrees with advocates of e-cigarettes. He believes that e-cigarettes do cause harm, and that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should have sole authority over all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
“It is imperative that the FDA finalize proposed e-cigarette regulations by the end of 2014,” and he demands, “The FDA needs to crack down on quit-smoking and other health claims that e-cigarette companies are making.”
I’m guessing that he’s basing his fears on the fact that, in his own words, “there hasn’t been very much chronic use of e-cigarettes. So it’s not possible to say there will be no harm.” But he seems all too ready to conclude that it is possible to believe that there will be harm, based on the same lack of chronic use.
What sense that sort of logic makes, I’m not really sure, but that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Dr. Norman then goes on to state that, “Since we are talking about a recreational drug (nicotine) — it’s not essential to life, it doesn’t cure any illness — it would only make sense to regulate it rigorously until we find out whether it’s good or bad.”
I’m sorry, Dr. Norman, but if we should be rigorously regulating recreational drugs, then who’s regulating the caffeine industry? Should we make coffees and sodas, along with their boundless flavors illegal?
And where’s the regulations when it comes to the opiate industry? Why are pain killers so openly dispensed when, according to the CDC, they kill over 15,000 people per year? But e-cigarettes, which have not been linked to a single death, should be harshly criminalized? Why?
There is no answer, so I digress.
What Dr. Norman truly fears, I cannot be sure, but a recent study partly funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, which was recently published in the July 30 edition of the journal Addiction, should put all his fears to rest.
The team of researchers concluded after reviewing 81 previous studies that “strict regulation of electronic cigarettes IS NOT warranted based on current evidence”. They even go on to say that “allowing e-cigarettes to compete with regular cigarettes might cut tobacco-related deaths and illness”.
After a statement like that, such a device should be heralded as a savior – the cleanser of blackened lungs, destroyer of tar, the decimator of the tobacco leaf. But instead it is demonized on a worldwide scale.
In Australia it is illegal to sell any liquid containing nicotine.
In Brazil, the sale, importation and advertising of any type of e-cigarette is strictly forbidden.
In Hong Kong, the sale or possession of any e-cigarette device is not authorized, and both are punishable with a fine of up to HK$100,000 and/or a prison term of 2 years.
In Mexico, the selling and promotion of non-tobacco objects that include elements generally associated with tobacco products are forbidden.
In Turkey, the sale of electronic cigarettes and e-liquids are illegal.
And on and on…
Still, many are continually trying to allow the masses a glimpse at the truth that rests beyond the endless spin of the media, like study researcher Thomas Eissenberg, co-director of the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, who stated in a recent article on WebMD, “Current evidence suggests that there is a potential for smokers to reduce their health risks if electronic cigarettes are used in place of tobacco cigarettes and are considered a step toward ending all tobacco and nicotine use.”
That’s huge. I mean, just imagine a world where Big Tobacco has a legitimate contender standing against it, threatening to steal away their customers and save their lives. It would be like life competed against death, quite literally, and it would be quite interesting to see if e-cigarettes could actually topple the almighty giant that is the industry of Big Tobacco.
Some, like Dr. Norman, believe the risks outweigh the reward. But if any of the previous studies hadn’t made it clear enough, this study does…
“If there are any risks, these will be many times lower than the risks of smoking tobacco,” said the senior author of the study, Dr. Hayden McRobbie, from the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Queen Mary University of London. “We need to think carefully about how these products are regulated. What we found is that there is no evidence that these products should be regulated as strictly as tobacco, or even more strictly than tobacco.”
These are things that the FDA must take into account when making their final ruling, and hopefully they will. They should not rush into making any sort of hasty decision, and refrain from damaging a possibly life saving market.
Prof Peter Hajek, of Queen Mary University in London, also an author on the paper, acknowledged as much when he told the BBC, “Regulators need to be mindful of crippling the e-cigarette market, and by doing so failing to give smokers access to these safer products that could save their lives.”
“If harsh regulations are put in place now, we will damage public health on a big scale.”
RMP – 19 Weeks Smoke-Free
Chattin’ Chief vs. The Myths Against Vaping
Part II – LIQUID NICOTINE IS TOXIC!!!
Sorry about the loud headline, but I really wanted you to read this. And now that you’re here, I’m going to make sure that you leave this page that much more knowledgeable about the truth regarding e-cigarettes, which may not actually be as bad as all these headlines make it sound.
So hello and welcome to Part 2 of the Chatting Chief’s attempt at shedding a bit of light upon the smoke-screen which the FDA is trying to push upon us in order to gain control of the entire vapor movement.
If you missed out on Part 1, be sure to check it out, (E-cig Myth #1 – E-cig Vapor Contains No Harmful Second-hand Smoke) because I’ll be continuing right where I left off.
This is a direct response to an article written by Live Science, titled “4 Myths About E-cigarettes”, where they go on to make it sound quite dangerous to be vaping anything.
In our first ‘myth’, we saw how they twisted different studies to their own whim in order to ‘bust’ it, which only further spreads the same disinformation that the FDA wishes the masses to believe as truth. And, with this second ‘myth’ presented to us by LS (Live Science), we’ll see more of the same as they continue shining a bright light on anything they can twist to sound negative while completely ignoring all the positives, as I remain as truthful as the actual studies allow me to be.
Now, on with the show…
E-cig ‘Myth’ #2 – E-cigarettes Are Safe
Despite this being such a broad topic, I’ll try to stay on track with the article that I’m disputing by following their exact course, and this is the section that LS uses to attack liquid nicotine. So the first thing that they and so many other articles seem to mention, usually in dramatic fashion, is that “liquid nicotine is extremely toxic if swallowed”, touting that as a reason to restrict its use.
So I think it would only be fitting if I, as well, jumped onboard this bandwagon to wield this catchphrase as my own, as you may have noticed up yonder. But don’t worry. I haven’t sold out and I haven’t been brainwashed. I’m just trying to make a point.
The statement itself is not a lie; however it seems to be a truth that is often manipulated to be used as a simple one liner that can easily draw a few people’s eyes. At least that’s the idea. Here… let’s try it again…
Liquid Nicotine Is Toxic!!!
Quite dramatic, right? Sure. And I’ll bet a link like that gets quite a few clicks. But I could say the same about a lot of things that we use on an everyday basis, that are all probably just as deadly, some even more so than liquid nicotine…
Gasoline is Toxic!!!
Dishwasher Detergent is Toxic!!!
Air Freshener is Toxic!!!
Cigarettes are Toxic!!!
Each should stimulate the same exact feelings of fear that so many seem to have towards e-cigarettes. Just adding the word TOXIC is meant to incite sensations of paranoia and nervousness, yet for some reason, as much as each example is true and as much as I’d like them to do just that… they just don’t.
But why, I have to ask. Why can’t I be so afraid of these very dangerous things that I come into contact with each and every day? And that’s when I realized… ‘Bam’… that was exactly the reason why.
I’ve grown up using these all too common things, watching other people use them on a daily basis, just like I watched other people smoke their cigarettes and puff on their cigars, and as I live now, I’m genuinely not afraid of any one of those things, no matter how much I should be.
I put gas in my car just about every other day, it seems, and wash dishes way more than I’d really like. I live with a few animals, so air fresheners of all sorts are simply inevitable, and I also smoked cigarettes consistently between the ages of 14 and 30. Still, despite my ignorance of these items, each one of them is equally dangerous if used in the wrong way.
Gasoline is flammable, even harmful if inhaled, and don’t even try to drink it.
Dishwasher Detergent is the #1 cause of child poisonings, according to the Poison Control Center.
Air Freshener’s work because they “interfere with your ability to smell by disabling your nasal passages with an oil film or a nerve-deadening agent”. They also contain over 130 VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), of which “24 are classified as toxic or hazardous under U.S. federal laws,” according to a 2011 study published in Environmental Impact Assessment Review by researchers at the University of Washington, where they tested the leading air freshener brands for safety.
And cigarettes, or any form of tobacco for that matter… do I even have to explain what they do?
But e-cigarettes are new and scary, and that’s why this myth isn’t finished yet, no. Now, apparently, e-juice is beginning to “entice” children into drinking it. “The chances of this happening may increase with flavored liquid nicotine, which may come in enticing-looking packages and can smell tempting,” so says LS in their e-cig myth article.
They say it “mistakenly has this reputation for being safe because it’s purchased over the counter,” but I’d like to know… since when did everything sold ‘over-the-counter’ become safe?
Clothes detergent is pretty bright and colorful, looks quite flavorful, enticing, if you will, and I can grab that right off the shelves… does that mean I’m supposed to feel comfortable enough to chug it?
Cigarettes are sold over-the-counter. Does that make them safe? Does it make children believe that they are safe? And if so, why doesn’t anyone complain about cigarettes being sold over-the-counter?
Anyway, they then go on to mention that “a teaspoon of standard liquid nicotine would be enough to kill a person who weighs 200 pounds”. Okay, so let’s dig a bit deeper into that figure…
When it comes to the Poison Control Center, they claim that “60 milligrams of nicotine is enough to kill a 150-pound adult,” and that is taken by most to be an unwavering fact, just because it comes from the PCC, though there are researchers out there who dispute this number.
German toxicologist Bernd Mayer, part of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, is one of those researchers. He became curious how this number was generated, so he ultimately traced the source of those calculations back to two mid 19th century researchers who were experimenting on themselves.
The year was 1856 – the same year that Last Island, Louisiana and all of its luxurious majesty became washed from the face of the Earth by a mighty hurricane – and Austrian pharmacologist Carl Damian von Schroff was publishing his pharmacological text book, where he describes the self-experiments of two researchers known only as Dworzack and Heinrich.
He reports that “The symptoms were determined exactly in self-experiments by (Wilhelm) Reil and later by Dworzack and Heinrich. After 1–4 mg (milligrams) of nicotine, these authors felt a burning sensation in the mouth, scratchy throat, increased saliva excretion,” and so on.
As time passed, this text book notes that the subjects “became agitated, suffered from headache, dizziness, numbness, cloudy vision and hearing, light sensitivity, anxiety, nausea, vomiting,” you get the point. And “After 45 min the experimenters lost consciousness. One of them suffered clonic seizures for 2h, particularly of the respiratory muscles, also tremors of the limbs and shivering over the whole body. After the initial recovery, feelings of exhaustion, drowsiness and bleakness remained for 3 days.”
Now, taking all that into account, let’s jump forward fifty years…
The year was 1906 – the same year that a mighty earthquake devastated the city of San Francisco – and Rudolf Kobert, a renowned pharmacologist and pioneer of toxicology in Germany, made the following calculations based on those previous reports from 1856…
“The lethal dose of pure nicotine is also difficult to determine,” he admitted, “because it easily decomposes a bit and, on the other hand, mostly contains more or less water; however, in accordance with the severe symptoms evoked in several experimenters by 0.002–0.004 g (2-4 mg) it (a lethal dosage) is certainly not going to be higher than 0.06 g (60 mg).”
And ‘BAM’, that right there is where the Poison Control Center gets their number – “60 milligrams of nicotine is enough to kill a 150-pound adult,” – from a one-hundred year old study that did some math on a one-hundred-and-fifty year old study.
Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up.
And in regards to his discovery, German toxicologist Bernd Mayer, the one that first sought out the origin of these lethal calculations, states that, “Some of these effects resemble typical symptoms of nicotine overdosing, but 1–4 mg of oral nicotine will certainly not evoke the severe adverse effects described, such as clonic seizures and loss of consciousness. Curiously, Kobert mentioned the Pharmacologist Wilhelm Reil but ignored Reil’s account on very mild symptoms caused by self-ingestion of up to around 7.5 mg of nicotine.”
“Thus, Kobert estimated the lethal dose of nicotine on the basis of highly dubious self-experiments performed in the mid of the nineteenth century while ignoring conflicting data. His excellent reputation as a leading scholar in toxicology has apparently led to uncritical acceptance and citation of the 60-mg dose by contemporary fellows and successive researchers.”
So, in his closing, he states, “This value is still accepted without scrutiny and taken as the basis for worldwide safety regulations of tobacco and other nicotine-containing products. Nicotine is a toxic compound that should be handled with care, but the frequent warnings of potential fatalities caused by ingestion of small amounts of tobacco products or diluted nicotine-containing solutions are unjustified and need to be revised in light of overwhelming data indicating that more than 0.5 g of oral nicotine is required to kill an adult.”(His entire study can be found HERE)
And that leads me to my final point, one that this LS article and many others just fail to mention, and that is the fact that pure liquid nicotine IS NOT sold over the counter. What is sold over the counter is a mixture of mostly vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG), flavoring, and only a small amount of actual nicotine.
Still, though, this is not an excuse. We cannot hide from the fact that nicotine in any form is indeed poisonous, even ‘toxic’, if you will. But just because it is a toxic substance, that does not mean it should be treated as being completely unsafe.
Just like every other toxic substance that we handle each day, it is up to us to properly handle our e-juice. Just be sure to stay smart about it. Use common sense – keep it all clear and out of the reach of any children or pets, at all times, make sure nothing is leaking and everything is sealed tight, throw empty bottles straight into the garbage can – and I think that’s the only real way that we can assure that our liquid nicotine is indeed kept as safe as any other toxic substance can be… no differently from gasoline, or dish detergent, or air freshener.
Another selling point of the anti-vapor club, though, another ‘myth’ that they are there to dissuade the masses from believing, is whether or not e-cigarettes can help a smoker actually quit smoking cigarettes, and that’s the subject I’ve been all too excited to tackle since starting this, next time, in the conclusion of “Chattin’ Chief vs. The Myths Against Vaping”.
I’m RMP – 12 Weeks Smoke Free
Peace and Love… Always!!!