HOW MUCH NICOTINE ARE YOU GETTING WITH THAT ELECTRONIC CIGARETTE?
BY: ERICA WESTLY
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, as they're commonly called, have been giving the FDA the shakes for almost a year now.
But as the regulatory debate over the tobaccoless nicotine delivery systems rages on, a new issue has come to light: How much nicotine, if any, are these e-cigarettes actually sending into users' brains? When the FDA did their lab analysis, they found e-cigarettes contained much higher concentrations of nicotine per puff compared to previously approved nicotine inhalers. But yesterday, CNN reported on a new academic study from Virginia Commonwealth University that found electronic cigarettes deliver little to no nicotine when users' inhale. So, which is it? Do e-cigarettes deliver more nicotine or none at all?
The plastic cigarette-looking devices first appeared in China about 7 years ago, but American distributors only recently started importing them and selling them online and at mall kiosks. Electronic cigarettes don't contain tobacco, but they do contain nicotine-infused water, which is heated via a lithium battery to create an odorless vapor.
The idea is to simulate the smoking experience while delivering the addictive nicotine smokers crave. The FDA considers e-cigarettes nicotine delivery systems, much like nicotine inhalers, and therefore subject to government regulation as smoking cessation devices. But the e-cig distributors, which have names like Smoking Everywhere, claim the devices are merely cigarette alternatives for smokers who need a nicotine fix but can't get outside, not tools to help them quit. They also argue that since their products don't contain tobacco, they're protected from the FDA's new-found power to…