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FAQ

Electronic Cigarettes: Myths and Facts

Myth:  Electronic cigarettes are being sold to kids.
Fact:  Electronic cigarettes are intended for committed smokers of the legal age to smoke.

The industry advocates proper labeling, encourages retailers to check identification of customers and notes that electronic cigarette companies in good standing validate age prior to transacting online purchases. In a recent industry study that included a random sample of US electronic cigarette customers, the average respondent’s age was 44 years old. Further, with an average product price of about $100, it can hardly be called kid-friendly.

Myth:  Electronic cigarette cartridges offer many flavors in order to attract adolescent users.
Fact:  Many adult-intended products offer a variety of flavors.

The preference for flavor is universal and not age-specific. Products of all types offer colors, flavors and other variations in order to appeal to consumers. To suggest that the cartridge flavors for electronic cigarettes were devised to appeal to kids is patently false and has no basis in fact, and is the same thing as suggesting nicotine-infused smoking cessation gums are available in mint and cinnamon flavors in order to appeal to kids. Electronic cigarettes sold by companies in good standing are for committed smokers of the legal age to smoke.

Myth:  Electronic cigarettes make nicotine readily available to non-smokers.
Fact:  Electronic cigarettes are marketed to current smokers, not non-smokers.

Nicotine is widely available in over-the-counter products including tobacco cigarettes and smoking cessation gums and lozenges, and there is no evidence that these products or electronic cigarettes increase the consumption of nicotine by those who do not wish to smoke. In a recent industry study that included a random sample of US electronic cigarette customers, 96% were smokers purchasing the product for personal use, and 4% purchased the product for a friend or relative who smoked.

Myth:  No one knows what is in electronic cigarettes.
Fact:  Multiple studies have been conducted and the ingredients are well known.

Multiple studies by different laboratories around the globe have been conducted identifying that the vapor that is ingested when using an electronic cigarette, depending on the manufacturer,  contains approximately 20 ingredients including nicotine, all regarded as generally safe for human consumption when ingested prudently and in accordance with proper labeling. By contrast tobacco smoke contains 4,000 ingredients including arsenic and carbon monoxide, and dozens of cancer-causing ingredients.

Myth: People consume too much nicotine with electronic cigarettes because there is no governor.
Fact: The amount of nicotine in electronic cigarettes is much less than other OTC products.

Tobacco cigarettes and smoking cessation products, like electronic cigarettes and many other non-smoking-related products, rely on consumers to regulate their consumption and use according to manufacturer labeling. No one can control the misuse of products when directions are not followed.

That said, the intake of nicotine from electronic cigarettes appears to be substantially less than acceptable standards already in the marketplace. For instance, the consumption of a tobacco cigarette delivers about 1-1.5 mg of nicotine; with the average US smoker consuming 13.9 cigarettes per day, they consume 14-21 mg of nicotine per day. Depending on the smoking cessation product, labeling suggests consumption of 6-48 mg of nicotine per day.

By comparison, an electronic cigarette cartridge, depending on manufacturer and cartridge style, produces 0-16 mgs of nicotine when fully consumed by approximately 300 puffs. A recent industry study indicates the average electronic cigarette user takes 62.8 puffs per day. This suggests the average electronic cigarette smoker is consuming 3.36 mg of nicotine per day, far less than that typically consumed when using tobacco cigarettes or smoking cessation products.

Myth:  Electronic cigarettes cannot be legally marketed in the US.
Fact:  The FDA has not issued any formal guidance on electronic cigarettes.

While it is true that some manufacturers have had the importation of their products stopped, it is also true that the FDA has only provided informal comments about electronic cigarettes through its spokespeople and has not issued any formal guidance on the topic. FDA currently only has jurisdiction to regulate drugs and medical devices, and electronic cigarettes are neither.

Myth:  You can stop people from smoking.
Fact:  Tobacco smoking increased in the US in 2008 for the first time since 1965.

After a 30-year decline in tobacco smoking in the U.S., the percentage of US adults who smoke tobacco increased in 2008 and for the first time since 1965; this despite decades of gallant legislative and educational efforts, and the multi-billion dollar smoking cessation market. It is clear that some people will choose to smoke, and that further improvement in public health requires the acceptance of this reality and the full embrace of innovative new products that are ever-less hazardous than tobacco cigarettes and ever-more effective than abstinence.

Myth: Nicotine is bad for you.
Fact: The long-term use of nicotine is orders of magnitude safer than tobacco smoking.

Nicotine suffers from guilt-by-association with tobacco. The carcinogenic properties of nicotine in a standalone form, separated from tobacco smoke, indicate that nicotine, on its own, does not promote the development of cancer in healthy tissue and has no mutagenic properties. Further, the Royal College of Physicians says that there are no grounds to suspect appreciable long-term adverse effects on health from the long-term use of nicotine. Electronic cigarette companies in good standing and with proper labeling do advise consumers on who the product is intended for and who should not use the product, as well as the addictive qualities of nicotine.”