Electronic Cigarettes Included in New Orleans Smoking Ban

Maple Leaf Bar going smoke-free; bartender says outlook is hazy

Just before midnight on Tuesday, April 22 patrons of the more than 500 restaurants, bars, and casinos in New Orleans lit their last cigarettes indoors. According to the Associated Press, “[casino] employees handed out lollipops to smoking gamblers at the stroke of midnight and removed ashtrays from the casino’s gambling floors.” The Big Easy is the latest US city to officially enact a smoking ban in public areas.

Louisiana state law had previously banned smoking in restaurants. Prior to the wide-spread ban some bar and club owners voluntarily prohibited smoking in their establishments. In an effort to do away with smoking in public places City Council member LaToya Cantrell proposed a sweeping smoking ban last fall. After some revisions the council approved.

Reactions to the anti-smoking ordinance have been mixed. Understandably nonsmokers, including musicians who performed in smoky local venues, are pleased. On the other hand, objections have been made by some business owners claiming the ban will negatively affect business and infringes on the city’s freedom.

Smokers looking to step outside for a smoke will have to step at least five feet away from the windows and doors of restaurants, bars, casinos, sporting arenas, and hotels. If the establishment is owned or operated by the city or state, smoking is permitted twenty five feet from the entrance. Fortunately electronic cigarettes aren’t tobacco, so vaping is permitted indoors, right? Wrong.

The ban includes electronic cigarettes. Using an e-cigarette is forbidden in all of the same places as cigarettes. According to Gilbert Morris, a molecular biologist at Tulane University School of Medicine’s pathology department, “there’s not enough data to say that e-cigarettes don’t have harmful side effects. And until we know more, we should treat them exactly as tobacco cigarettes.”

Morris also said, “we know that e-cigarettes are not as bad as tobacco smoke. That’s just a given. So if you’re trying to switch someone off of cigarettes and onto e-cigarettes, that’s a good thing. The bad thing is the other way around, when people use e-cigarettes as a gateway to try tobacco cigarettes.”

Earlier in the week additional information was released and the “gateway” myth was debunked. Subjecting electronic cigarettes to the same regulations as tobacco because they mimic the act of smoking or because of unwarranted fears is not a justifiable reason. This smoking ban has potential to be a positive move for smokers as well as nonsmokers. If smokers were allowed to use electronic cigarettes freely, there is potential for decreasing the number of cigarettes smoked per day and possibly quitting altogether.


Sources: http://wapo.st/1Gbz6qI




photo: http://bit.ly/1PqgCcQ

Norwegian Institute of Public Health Publishes False Statements in its Report


Unfortunately, a newly released health report casts a shadow on electronic cigarettes yet again. This time the source is the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH). While the report points out that most e-cigarettes are used by smokers and ex-smokers, there are portions of this report that are particularly disturbing because they are simply untrue.

Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos is a Greek cardiovascular specialist who devotes much of his time to clinical research and scientific studies involving electronic cigarettes and the effects of their use. According to Dr. Farsalinos, statements made regarding passive exposure to e-cigarettes are “the most significant mistake in the report.”

According to the report, “…nicotine levels in the environment following passive exposure to e-cigarette aerosols causes similarly high nicotine levels in the blood as that of passive smoking of regular cigarettes. This means that one can expect similar harmful nicotine-related effects of passive smoking from e-cigarettes as for regular cigarettes. This does not mean that passive exposure to aerosols from e-cigarettes causes carcinogenic effects, but that passive smoking may affect the cardiovascular system, have stimulatory effects and contribute to addiction.”

The ways in which the NIPH came to these conclusions is unclear. However, there is scientific evidence that “the average concentration of nicotine resulting from smoking tobacco cigarettes [is] 10 times higher than from e-cigarettes.” Furthermore, Dr. Farsalinos revealed that continine levels of active smokers were approximately 1200 times higher than that of “passive vapers.”

According to Dr. Farsalinos, the NIPH is “legally and scientifically” obligated to provide truthful information. He is calling on the NIPH to retract the false statements from their report.

Sources: http://bit.ly/1yxDrY7




photo: http://www.fhi.no/eway/?pid=240

Report Shows Increase in E-Cigarette Use and Decrease in Smoking Among Teens

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report from the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey. The report looks at tobacco use among students in grades six through twelve from 2011-2014. The nine tobacco products assessed for use were cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, hookahs, tobacco pipes, snus, dissolvable tobacco, bidis, and electronic cigarettes.

Current use was defined as using a product for more than one day out of the past thirty days. E-cigarette use jumped in both middle and high school students. The results of current e-cigarette use are as follows:

Middle school students: 2011: 0.6%, 2012: 1.1%, 2013: 1.1%, 2014: 3.9%

High school students: 2011: 1.5%, 2012: 2.8%, 2013: 4.5%, 2014: 12.4%

In response to the 2011-2012 increase in electronic cigarette use among teens Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the CDC, stated “…many kids are starting out with e-cigarettes and then going on to smoke conventional cigarettes.” However, the data tells a different story. Electronic cigarettes do not appear to be a gateway to smoking. To the contrary, cigarette smoking rates in high schoolers decreased from 15.8% to 9.2%.

Unfortunately, due to increases in hookah use from 4.1% in 2011 to 9.4% in 2014 the overall use of tobacco remains stable. This report confirms that teenagers continue to experiment as they always have. While overall tobacco use persists, the method of which teens are receiving nicotine has shifted from tobacco cigarettes to less harmful electronic versions.

Although the study does not specify the nicotine content of the devices used, the increase in youths using electronic cigarettes is very troubling. Electronic cigarettes are not intended for minors and regulatory measures should be taken to ensure this doesn’t happen. Youths should be discouraged from using tobacco and nicotine in all forms.

Sources: http://bit.ly/1Gdv7zx



photo: cdc.gov

Questions Raised Over Flavor Chemicals in E-Liquid

The journal Tobacco Control published a study examining the chemicals found in thirty e-liquid flavors certified as safe for ingestion by the Flavor Extracts Manufacturers Association. The results raise important questions about the safety of inhaling flavors that are generally recognized as safe in foods.

The study’s author, James F. Pankow, is a professor of chemistry and civil and environmental engineering at Portland State University. Panko and his colleagues examined chemical levels in a wide variety of flavors including tobacco, menthol, cotton candy, vanilla, cherry, grape, chocolate, bubblegum, and coffee. The results found flavor chemicals made up anywhere from one to four percent of the e-liquids sampled.

The researchers did not examine the potential health risks in e-cigarette users, but the analysis of the e-liquids themselves poses important questions. One concern is that six of the twenty four compounds used to give the e-liquid samples their flavor are aldehydes which are know respiratory irritants. At this point it is difficult to fully analyze long-term health risks, as electronic cigarettes are relatively new products.

The study did not conclude that e-cigarettes are unsafe, but it does reemphasize the need for regulation and industrywide quality control. As a certified member of the American E-Liquid Manufacturing Standards Association (AEMSA), Vapor Shark takes consumer safety very seriously, going so far as removing e-liquids containing DEG, diacetyl and acetyl propionyl. As e-cigarette research continues and more information becomes available it is imperative that e-liquid manufacturers consider the science and make adjustments where needed.


Sources: http://bmj.co/1In39OU



photo: http://bit.ly/1baZBVC

Senate Bills Seek Regulation of the E-Cig Industry

billvectorElectronic cigarettes continue to grow in popularity and lawmakers are stepping in. Senate bills seeking to tighten regulations are being proposed around the country. One such bill in Indiana is focusing on e-liquids.

The Indiana Senate voted to proceed with a bill looking to enforce strict regulations on e-liquid manufacturing. If passed, e-liquids used in the state will be required to obtain a permit, regardless of being located in Indiana. Manufacturers will be forced to install 24 hour security systems in “clean rooms” where liquids are produced and bottled. Additionally, manufacturers must keep three 10mL bottles of e-liquid from each batch.

Many people agree with the implementation of childproof safety caps proposed in this bill. However, some local shop owners are concerned that stringent regulation may put them out of business. If House Bill 1432 is cleared, its next step will be approval by the governor.

Meanwhile in California, Sen. Mark Leno proposes Senate Bill 140. Leno equates e-cigarettes with tobacco cigarettes and states, “No tobacco product should be exempt from California’s smoke-free laws simply because it’s sold in a modern or trendy disguise. Addiction is what’s really being sold. Like traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes deliver nicotine in a cloud of other toxic chemicals, and their use should be restricted equally under state law in order to protect public health.”

Regulation within reason can improve the electronic cigarette industry by ensuring a quality product for consumers. Also, it may increase the legitimacy of this industry in the eyes of lawmakers and the general public. However, treating e-cigs like tobacco and making them subject to the same laws will hinder smokers’ accessibility to a potentially life saving alternative.


Sources: http://bit.ly/1PoEBds



Study Concludes E-Liquids Contain Significantly Lower Levels of Tobacco-Derived Toxins Compared to Tobacco

1280px-NNK_chemical_structureThe International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a new study examining the accuracy of nicotine labels as well as the presence of tobacco-derived toxins in tobacco flavored e-liquids. Specifically, researchers were looking for the presence of phenols, nitrate and tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) in conventional and NET e-liquids.

Natural Extracts of Tobacco, or NET liquids, get their flavor through steeping and solvent extraction of cured tobacco leaves. According to some e-cigarette consumer forums, NET liquids are preferred because they more closely resemble the flavor of conventional tobacco. This is the first time NET liquids were specifically tested.

A total of twenty one e-liquid samples (ten conventional and eleven NET liquids) from the US and Greek market were tested for nicotine levels and compared with labelled values. Additionally, tobacco-derived chemicals were measured in both types of e-liquids and the results were compared with each other and traditional tobacco.

According to this study, “nicotine concentrations were similar to those labelled.” The results are as follows: Nicotine levels deviated from their valued amounts at an average of 5.9% in conventional liquids and 1.5% in NET liquids, with maximum deviation found at 22%. Twelve samples (more than half) were within the 10% range which is acceptable for pharmaceutical products. Nine samples contained less nicotine and twelve samples contained more nicotine than labelled. There was no difference between conventional and NET liquids in regards to nicotine levels and label accuracy.

Acetaldehyde was present mostly in conventional e-liquids and formaldehyde was found at trace levels in both liquid samples. Phenols were present in trace amounts, mostly in NET liquids. Nitrates were found almost exclusively in NET liquids.

The study reports, “TSNAs are probably the most important compounds associated with negative health effects in tobacco cigarettes, mostly due to a combination of abundance and strong carcinogenicity.” TSNAs were present in all samples at ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter) levels. A nanogram is one-billionth of a gram. Total TSNAs and nitrate were found at levels 200-300 times lower in 1mL of NET liquids compared to 1 gram of tobacco products.

The study concludes that the extraction process by which NET liquids obtain their flavor does not transfer a significant amount of toxins. Most importantly, all of the e-liquid samples contained significantly lower levels of tobacco-derived toxins when compared to traditional tobacco products. Nitrosamines were 146-1447 times lower in e-liquids compared to tobacco products, and nitrate was 1360 times lower. This study adds to the growing body of work confirming electronic cigarettes are much less harmful than tobacco.




Reducing the Number of Cigarettes Smoked per Day Increases Chances of Completely Quitting

550016-575-4Completely cutting out tobacco is one of the best things you can do for your health and life expectancy. Whether quitting is achieved with the assistance of nicotine replacement therapy or (less commonly) through sheer will power, ex-smokers have done a great service to themselves and others by kicking the habit. Unfortunately, as every smoker knows all too well, quitting is no easy feat.

In an attempt to eventually quit smoking there are those who are looking to cut down on cigarettes by using electronic cigarettes and reducing their cigarette consumption simultaneously. Anti-smoking groups warn against dual use and argue that reducing the number of cigarettes smoked per day provides no health benefits.

The journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research published a study examining the correlation between reducing cigarette consumption and complete smoking cessation. The authors of this study were seeking to discover if increases in smoking cessation are due to nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or if reductions in the number of cigarettes per day (CPD) in and of itself leads to cessation.

According to the study the results are as follows: …”every one percent decrease in CPD or carbon monoxide was associated with a 3% to 4% increase in the odds of cessation. The naturalistic studies found that ordinal (e.g., quartile) increases in participants’ magnitude of reduction in CPD were associated with 50% to 290% increases in the odds of cessation.” These findings suggest “reduction in CPD is a mechanism of increased cessation in prior NRT-aided reduction studies.”

Anti-smoking and public health groups’ warnings against dual use may discourage smokers who are attempting to quit smoking by supplementing the number of cigarettes smoked with using an e-cigarette. Perpetuating the lie that electronic cigarettes are no better for you than smoking may cause smokers to give up on their reduction attempts and return to tobacco cigarettes. However, these findings suggest that reducing the number of cigarettes smoked per day may be an effective way of achieving the ultimate goal of complete smoking cessation.

Sources: http://bit.ly/1GelfS7







Are Public Health Groups Doing More Harm Than Good?

No-SmokingAnti-smoking and public health groups have done much in the way of informing the public on the dangers of tobacco use. Historically, their mission has been to provide education on the very serious hazards of smoking. Over the years, these groups have done a great service by taking a stand against big tobacco.

However, as of late some public health organizations have demonized electronic cigarettes. One such group is the California Department of Public Health. We recently posted an article describing the issues with a Health Advisory released by the CDPH.

The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed taking a closer look at public health organizations and their “crusade against e-cigarettes”. Sadly, deception among these groups is not limited to the CDPH. Many other public health groups are jumping on the bandwagon and their fear mongering is undermining the potential harm-reducing benefits of electronic cigarettes.

The op-ed entitled The Misbegotten Crusade Against E-Cigarettes examines false claims made against electronic cigarettes. One such claim comes from Thomas Frieden, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In September of 2013 Frieden stated, “many kids are starting out with e-cigarettes and then going on to smoke conventional cigarettes.” In reality, there is no evidence to support his statement. On the contrary, there are multiple studies proving electronic cigarettes are not acting as a gateway to tobacco cigarettes. We reported on one such study back in November of 2013. Additionally, the op-ed cites a recently published study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine along with a piece in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence to further quell Frieden’s unsubstantiated claim.

Transparency is essential, and no one is claiming that electronic cigarettes are 100% safe. While there is a need for continued research, existing studies show that e-cigs are far safer than tobacco cigarettes. Vaping does not involve combustion, therefore vapers are not exposed to the more than 60 known carcinogens produced by smoking. With the information that currently exists, electronic cigarettes lend themselves to a categorization of harm reduction. Harm reduction does not mean “safe”; it is a way of mitigating negative consequences.

Despite a clinical trial that concluded otherwise, the California Department of Public Health said, “there is no scientific evidence that e-cigarettes help smokers to successfully quit traditional cigarettes.” If smokers are made to believe e-cigs are a “community health threat” there is no incentive to make the switch. Sadly, the war against electronic cigarettes rages on.

Sources: http://on.wsj.com/1N97XLH


California Department of Public Health Warns Against E-Cigs

logo_CDPH_v.1_colorThe California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued a health advisory report warning California residents of the “toxicity” of electronic cigarettes. According to CDPH director and state health officer Dr. Ron Chapman, “E-cigarettes contain nicotine and other harmful chemicals, and the nicotine in them is as addictive as the nicotine in cigarettes. There is a lot of misinformation about e-cigarettes. That is why, as the state’s health officer, I am advising Californians to avoid the use of e-cigarettes and keep them away from children of all ages.”

We all agree, electronic cigarettes should be kept out of the hands of minors. The CDPH’s recommendations of requiring leak-proof containers and child-resistant safety packaging should be a legally required, industry standard. Regulation, within reason, is not a bad thing. In fact, standardization ensures a quality product for consumers.

Dr. Chapman mentions the significance of misinformation surrounding e-cigs. However, in the same breath he makes a statement that is simply untrue. Yes, nicotine is addictive, but to say that “the nicotine in them [electronic cigarettes] is as addictive as the nicotine in cigarettes” is misleading. In fact, the journal Nature: Scientific Reports published a study on this very topic entitled Nicotine Absorption from Electronic Cigarette Use: Comparison Between First and New Generation Devices. According to this scientific study, “The results of the study showed that nicotine absorption from e-cigarettes was significantly lower compared to tobacco cigarettes.”

The Health Advisory also states, “there is no scientific evidence that e-cigarettes help smokers to successfully quit traditional cigarettes or that they reduce consumption of traditional cigarettes.” The report cites an article by Dr. Katrina Vickerman published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research to provide backing for this claim. However, the author of Vickerman’s article entitled Use of Electronic Cigarettes Among State Tobacco Cessation Quitline Callers stated,The recently published article by Dr. Katrina Vickerman and colleagues has been misinterpreted by many who have written about it. It was never intended to assess the effectiveness of the e-cig as a mechanism to quit. ”

On the other hand, there are existing clinical trials which were conducted to determine the efficacy of electronic cigarettes as smoking cessation tools. Dr. Riccardo Polosa supplied one such study. Sadly, there was no reference to this in the Health Advisory.

While there are viable concerns surrounding electronic cigarettes (e.g. keeping them out of the hands of minors), it’s unfortunate the CDPH isn’t providing the public with accurate information to accomplish their agenda.

Sources: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/Pages/NR15-12.aspx







A Closer Look at Formaldehyde Levels Found in E-Cigarette Vapor

FormaldehydeRecently we reported on a story out of Japan evaluating levels of formaldehyde released through vaping. Yesterday another study on this same topic was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and has been picked up by mainstream media. In this study, researchers measured formaldehyde using a variable voltage battery set at 3.3 and 5 volts. The vapor was collected and evaluated from an unnamed atomizer after a 4 second puff. The study found that at low voltage (3.3V) no formaldehyde was detected. However, at high voltage (5.0V), levels of formaldehyde were detected at levels up to 15 times higher than cigarette smoke.

Without further investigation on the methods and conclusion of this study, the results are very alarming. We feel it is our responsibility to dig deeper and provide the public with the whole truth.

One glaring problem with this publication is the researchers found formaldehyde hemiacetals (a combination of formaldehyde and alcohols) not formaldehyde. It is also important to know that formaldehyde is present everywhere. It is found in every person, smokers and nonsmokers alike, and can occur anytime hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen are in the presence of each other.

The truth is, this study is deeply flawed in many ways. In fact, it is highly irresponsible to publish a half truth and present it as science. For starters, as outlined by Dr. Konstantino Farsalinos, the authors of this study failed to mention (perhaps unknowingly) that volts do not measure thermal energy. Energy should be expressed in watts. Therefore, with the published information we do not know how many watts were applied to the atomizer.

Fortunately, Dr. Farsalinos used the information that was provided to approximate wattage settings. According to the study, 5mg of e-liquid were consumed at 3.3 volts. Based on measurements performed by Farsalinos, “…such consumption is observed at about 6-7 watts at 4-second puffs. Thus, the atomizer resistance is probably 1.6-1.8 ohms. This means that at 5 volts the energy was around 14-16 watts.”

So, what does this mean in terms of realistic user conditions? If the resistance was between 1.6-1.8 ohms and the wattage is somewhere between 14-16 watts, the vaporizer is being overheated and the wicking materials are being burned. Essentially, these researchers are collecting data on a dry or burnt hit.

What the authors of this study aren’t accounting for is how easily this scenario is detected by the user. Although the atomizer used was unnamed, it was most likely incapable of withstanding those settings. No one continuously vapes an overheated atomizer. The taste is unpleasant, to put it mildly. Therefore, it’s highly unlikely any vaper will ever be exposed to the reported levels of formaldehyde.

This method of measuring aldehydes in a lab environment is deceptive and unfair. The public deserves clear and concise results from scientific studies. If researchers continue to publish misleading findings and the media continues with its sensationalism the results can be damaging. How many smokers are afraid to switch to a device that could potentially save their lives?

For a more detailed breakdown on this study, I urge you to read Dr. Farsalinos’ response by following this link:  http://ecigarette-research.com/web/index.php/2013-04-07-09-50-07/2015/191-form-nejm

Sources: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1413069