E-Cigarettes Can Churn Out High Levels Of Formaldehyde

January 28, 2015

vaping_slide-e8037645339ea7e11639aa5954c5722c8b444d5b-s800-c85Vapor produced by electronic cigarettes can contain a surprisingly high concentration of formaldehyde — a known carcinogen — researchers reported Wednesday.

The findings, described in a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine,intensify concern about the safety of electronic cigarettes, which have become increasingly popular.

The e-cigarette industry immediately dismissed the findings, saying the measurements were made under unrealistic conditions.

“They clearly did not talk to [people who use e-cigarettes] to understand this,” says Gregory Conley of the American Vaping Association. “They think, ‘Oh well. If we hit the button for so many seconds and that produces formaldehyde, then we have a new public health crisis to report.’ ” But that’s not the right way to think about it, Conley suggests.

E-cigarettes work by heating a liquid that contains nicotine to create a vapor that users inhale. They’re generally considered safer than regular cigarettes, because some research has suggested that the level of most toxicants in the vapor is much lower than the levels in smoke.

Some public health experts think vaping could prevent some people from starting to smoke traditional tobacco cigarettes and help some longtime smokers kick the habit.

But many health experts are also worried that so little is known about e-cigarettes, they may pose unknown risks. So Peyton and his colleagues decided to take a closer look at what’s in that vapor.

“We simulated vaping by drawing the vapor — the aerosol — into a syringe, sort of simulating the lungs,” Peyton says. That enabled the researchers to conduct a detailed chemical analysis of the vapor. They found something unexpected when the devices were dialed up to their highest settings.

“To our surprise, we found masked formaldehyde in the liquid droplet particles in the aerosol,” Peyton says.

He calls it “masked” formaldehyde because it’s in a slightly different form than regular formaldehyde — a form that could increase the likelihood it would get deposited in the lung. And the researchers didn’t just find a little of the toxicant.

And formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.

“Long-term exposure is recognized as contributing to lung cancer,” says Peyton. “And so we would like to minimize contact (to the extent one can) especially to delicate tissues like the lungs.”

Conley says the researchers found formaldehyde only when the e-cigarettes were cranked up to their highest voltage levels.

“If you hold the button on an e-cigarette for 100 seconds, you could potentially produce 100 times more formaldehyde than you would ever get from a cigarette,” Conley says. “But no human vaper would ever vape at that condition, because within one second their lungs would be incredibly uncomfortable.”

That’s because the vapor would be so hot. Conley compares it to overcooking a steak.

“I can take a steak and I can cook it on the grill for the next 18 hours, and that steak will be absolutely chock-full of carcinogens,” he says. “But the steak will also be charcoal, so no one will eat it.”

Peyton acknowledges that he found no formaldehyde when the e-cigarettes were set at low levels. But he says he thinks plenty of people use the high settings.

“As I walk around town and look at people using these electronic cigarette devices it’s not difficult to tell what sort of setting they’re using,” Peyton says. “You can see how much of the aerosol they’re blowing out. It’s not small amounts.”

“It’s pretty clear to me,” he says, “that at least some of the users are using the high levels.”

So Peyton hopes the government will tightly regulate the electronic devices. The Food and Drug Administration is in the process of deciding just how strict it should be.

Click Here to read the National Public Radio (NPR) story


Report Details Health Issues Linked to E-Cigs

January 28, 2015
January 26, 2015
PHOTO: The number of calls to poison-control centers about electronic cigarette incidents more than doubled last year, which has prompted the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to call on the Food and Drug Administration to finalize regulations. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. - See more at: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2015-01-26/health-issues/report-details-health-issues-linked-to-e-cigs/a44120-1#sthash.EqPhAhuS.kvAsJAmH.dpuf

PHOTO: The number of calls to poison-control centers about electronic cigarette incidents more than doubled last year, which has prompted the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to call on the Food and Drug Administration to finalize regulations. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

WASHINGTON – The number of calls to poison-control centers about electronic cigarette incidents more than doubled last year compared with 2013, according to new data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Children under age six were the victims in more than half the cases.

The rise in calls has the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to finalize its proposed rule to regulate the products. Campaign vice president for communications Vince Willmore says the agency also needs to crack down on companies’ marketing and flavors, such as “gummy bear” and bubble gum.

“Given how they’re being marketed, and given these sweet flavors, it’s not surprising more kids are using e-cigarettes, and that they’re attracted to nicotine liquids and being poisoned by them,” Willmore says.

While there are no federal regulations to restrict the sale of electronic cigarettes and nicotine liquids, most states require that purchasers be 18 years of age. Willmore says his group wants the FDA to finalize and strengthen rules by the end of April.

Willmore says the colors and packaging of e-cigarettes also appeal to kids, yet nicotine is highly dangerous and not only because of potential addiction.

“Nicotine is a very toxic substance and exposure to even small amounts of nicotine, whether it’s through the skin or through ingestion, can cause vomiting and seizures,” he says. “Unfortunately, it can even be lethal.”

A 1-year-old child in New York died last month after swallowing liquid nicotine. Willmore says the FDA should require childproof packaging, and adults need to keep the devices and supplies out of sight and out of reach of children.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service – AZ

– See more at: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2015-01-26/health-issues/report-details-health-issues-linked-to-e-cigs/a44120-1#sthash.EqPhAhuS.kvAsJAmH.dpuf


County bans e-cigarettes: County buildings, vehicles now smoke and vapor free

December 16, 2014

File photoE-cigarettes, emitting a vapor, have been banned from all county buildings and vehicles.

File photo E-cigarettes, emitting a vapor, have been banned from all county buildings and vehicles

Joanna Dodder Nellans
The Daily Courier

Yavapai County supervisors agreed to a new countywide policy Monday that bans e-cigarettes in county buildings and vehicles.

They also agreed to a new Human Resources Department proposal to require all employee disciplinary action appeal hearings to be open to the public.

A new state law requires such hearings to be public if they relate to certain law enforcement positions, a county Human Resources memo explains. So HR is proposing a single policy that would make all such hearings open. Currently, county hearings to appeal disciplinary actions are automatically closed to the public unless employees ask for them to be public.

The county didn’t get any employee comments about the HR policy changes relating to appeal hearings and e-cigarettes, HR Director Wendy Ross said.

Supervisor Rowle Simmons cited a Sunday New York Times article about how China manufactures 90 percent of the world’s e-cigarettes, aka electronic cigarettes, personal vaporizers and electronic nicotine delivery systems.

The article states that the industry has little oversight, and studies have found tin particles and other metals in e-cigarette vapors that appear to come from the “solder joints” of e-cigarettes.

Supervisor Jack Smith said any kind of smoking in county vehicles could reduce their sale value.

“For me, there’s a zero tolerance on it,” Smith said.

The HR department will continue to work on revisions to a third policy after hearing employee comments, Ross said. A draft would ban the use of electronic equipment while county employees are driving, but it would allow them to use hands-free cell phones.

Ross said she’ll probably bring that draft policy to the supervisors in January.

Also at Monday’s meeting:

• Supervisor Chip Davis asked his fellow supervisors to vote against his proposal to donate $4,500 of his district’s park fund money to the City of Sedona to build a wildlife viewing platform at the Sedona Wetlands Preserve, where the city processes and cleans wastewater.

Davis explained that voters apparently don’t want non-essential services since the majority voted in November against doubling the county’s jail sales tax to build a new jail in Prescott.

“I’m going to take the first step and ask that we not honor that” request for $4,500, Davis said. “The citizens have spoken and nothing is sacred.”

• The supervisors approved using the remaining $30,463 in the Yavapai County Water Advisory Committee fund to collect hydrologic data in the Verde Valley.

Most of the remaining money, $27,500, was contributed by municipalities in the Verde Valley.

The committee hasn’t met since the summer, shortly after most of the supervisors said they wanted to dissolve the 15-year-old group. They stopped paying dues and also stopped paying for the committee’s long-time coordinator position.

It was the only organization that brought the county and all its municipalities and tribes together to discuss common issues.

Follow Joanna Dodder on Twitter @joannadodder


E-Cigarette Use on Rise for Teenagers, Study Finds

December 16, 2014

A government survey found that more teenagers are trying e-cigarettes than they are traditional cigarettes.CreditNam Y. Huh/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A new federal survey has found that e-cigarette use among teenagers has surpassed the use of traditional cigarettes, even as smoking of traditional cigarettes has continued to decline. Health advocates say the upward trend for e-cigarette use is dangerous because it is making smoking seem normal again. They also worry it could lead to an increase in smoking of traditional cigarettes, though the new data do not show that.

The survey, released Tuesday by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, measured drug and alcohol use this year among middle and high school students across the country. More than 41,000 students from 377 public and private schools participated. It is one of several such national surveys, and the most up-to-date.

It was the first time this survey measured e-cigarette use, so there were no comparative data on the change over time. Other surveys have shown e-cigarette use among middle and high school students to be much lower, but increasing fast.

The survey found that 17 percent of 12th graders reported using an e-cigarette in the last month, compared with 13.6 percent who reported having an traditional cigarette. Among 10th graders, the reported use of e-cigarettes was 16 percent, compared with 7 percent for cigarettes. And among 8th graders, reported e-cigarette use was 8.7 percent, compared with just 4 percent who said they had smoked a cigarette in the last month.

A 2013 youth tobacco survey by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released in November found that the share of American high school students who use e-cigarettes rose to 4.5 percent in 2013 from 2.8 percent in 2012. The share of middle school students who use e-cigarettes remained flat at 1.1 percent over the same period.

The gap between the two sets of findings was substantial, and researchers struggled to explain it. Both are broad, reliable federal surveys that go back years, and their methodologies do not differ greatly. The drug abuseinstitute uses individual school grades, while the disease centers combine grades, which may account for some of the difference.

Some experts said that the new data suggested the rate may have increased substantially since 2013, though it will be impossible to know for sure until the C.D.C. releases its 2014 data sometime next year.

E-cigarettes have split the public health world, with some experts arguing that they are the best hope in generations for the 18 percent of Americans who still smoke to quit. Others say that people are using them not to quit but to keep smoking, and that they could become a gateway for young people to take up real cigarettes.

But that does not seem to be happening, at least so far. Daily cigarette use among teenagers continued to decline in 2014, the survey found, dropping across all grades by nearly half over the past five years. Among high school seniors, for example, 6.7 percent reported smoking cigarettes daily in 2014, compared with 11 percent five years ago.

Most experts agree that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than traditional cigarettes. But they contain nicotine, an addictive substance that some experts contend is potentially harmful for brain development. Some experts also warn that nicotine use could establish patterns that leave young people more vulnerable to addiction to other substances.

The survey found significant declines in the use of other drugs. Among high school seniors, about 6 percent reported having taken a prescription drug, substantially down from the peak of 9.5 percent in 2004. Abuse of Vicodin, the opioid pain reliever, declined by nearly half among 12th graders over five years.

In states with medical marijuana laws, 40 percent of high school seniors who reported using marijuana in the past year said they had consumed it in food, compared with 26 percent in states without such laws.

Click here to read the story at nytimes.com


Study offers support for the notion of e-cigarettes as a gateway drug

December 16, 2014
A new study offers support for the idea that electronic cigarettes can serve as a gateway drug to regular smoking. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

A new study offers support for the idea that electronic cigarettes can serve as a gateway drug to regular smoking. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

By KAREN KAPLAN

Study finds significant overlap between use of electronic and regular cigarettes. Does one lead to the other?
29% of the high school students surveyed had used e-cigarettes at least once, researchers say
Among ninth and 10th graders who had tried e-cigarettes, 41% also smoked traditional cigarettes
Do e-cigarettes lure teens into a world of vice that turns them into smokers of regular cigarettes? This is the big fear of anti-smoking activists, and new data from Hawaii suggest they may be right.

A survey of 1,941 ninth- and 10th-graders from Oahu found that 29% of them had tried electronic cigarettes at least once, and that 18% of them had used the devices in the last month, according to a study published Monday by the journal Pediatrics.

These figures represent a substantial jump from e-cigarette smoking rates reported in earlier years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Youth Tobacco Survey, for instance, found that 10% of U.S. teens had tried e-cigarettes in 2012, up from 4.7% in 2011.

Read the rest of this entry »


University of Arizona Team to Use Social Media in Study of E-Cigarettes

December 11, 2014
UA Eller College of Management | December 10, 2014

Five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health will support project that is as much about data-gathering methods as it is about public health.

 When Facebook announced in September that it would use all that personal data it collects to roll out a new ad platform to rival Google, privacy advocates groaned and marketers grinned.  But what if all that intelligence could be used to crack open one of today’s most pressing — yet least understood — public health issues?
Professor Daniel Zeng of the UA's Eller College of Management expects to create "a suite of novel technologies" for studying e-cigarettes.

Professor Daniel Zeng of the UA’s Eller College of Management expects to create “a suite of novel technologies” for studying e-cigarettes.

That’s precisely the vision of the University of Arizona’sDaniel Zeng, MIS professor at the Eller College of Management, and Scott Leischow, adjunct faculty in the UA College of Medicine and professor of health services research at Arizona’s Mayo Clinic.

Fusing cutting-edge informatics and public health, their plan to scrape social media to create the world’s best data on e-cigarette usage and marketing recently won a five-year, $2.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The project will tackle four distinct goals. It will:

  • Create a massive, real-time and continuously growing data set of what consumers and marketers say about e-cigarettes on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as social media forums focused on e-cigarettes and “vaping.”
  • Mine that content for insights into why people use e-cigarettes, how they believe they affect their health and whether they help them quit smoking.
  • Document the marketing landscape — all the ways brands and vendors use these channels to promote their products and how consumers respond.
  • Integrate all of that information in the world’s first one-stop resource for wide-ranging data on e-cigarettes as revealed through social media as a tool for other researchers, health care professionals and more.

While e-cigarettes are relatively new in the U.S. — they were introduced in 2007 — sales are doubling annually and were expected to reach $1 billion last year. Even so, any time public dollars fund research, two questions naturally arise: Why study this? And why study it this way?

“There’s so much we don’t know about e-cigarettes,” Leischow says. “The scientific community has found mixed data on whether they’re helpful for smoking cessation. We have questions about how different flavorings impact use, particularly among minors. And many health professionals worry that e-cigarettes may ultimately lead to more young people taking up smoking. All of these blind spots around a product that is still totally unregulated make this a top-priority area for the FDA.”

As for why it makes sense to study e-cigarettes in this way, Zeng’s MIS expertise holds the key.  By mining social media in real time, as Zeng and Leischow have proposed, there are a number of strategic advantages:

  • Data comes from people interacting naturally in their day-to-day lives, thus removing “presentation bias” problems intrinsic in surveys.
  • The data collection is automated, which means sample size is not constrained by how much money or how many eyeball hours researchers can muster.
  • The lack of constraint also makes anecdotal information scientifically relevant: One personal story is just that, but 10,000 or 100,000 personal stories over time equal robust statistical data.
  • Because content is processed by algorithms, not people, data is available in near real time, not months or even years after countless hours of labor-intensive review. Read the rest of this entry »

Gilbert becomes third Arizona city to regulate e-cigarettes

November 12, 2014

image

The regulation came after the town received several complaints of people using e-cigarettes inside the Freestone Recreation Center. Councilwoman Jenn Daniels said she had seen people using them in the Town Hall lobby.

The council first discussed an e-cigarette ordinance in June, but held off until council members spoke with supporters, opponents and businesses.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices and release a vapor that contains nicotine but no tobacco.
The Food and Drug Administration has yet to regulate e-cigarettes, and there is little conclusive research regarding the long-term effects of inhaling e-cigarette vapor. Some states and cities have taken regulation into their own hands, including Arizona, which prohibits minors from purchasing them.

In August, Tempe became the first city in Arizona to regulate e-cigarettes with an amendment prohibiting their use in public areas, including private businesses and workplaces. Neighboring Guadalupe passed a similar ordinance around the same time.

Read the rest of this entry »