The FDA seeks to regulate the electronic cigarette industry under the same guidelines at the tobacco industry. Despite being marketed as a healthier alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes, opponents are quick to say that e-cigarettes are merely another delivery source for nicotine, a known addictive stimulant. Early studies show that the level of chemicals in e-liquids are not dangerous, but most do contain at least some nicotine. Do these nicotine levels pack the same punch as tobacco? Two recent studies indicate that they do not.
Konstantinos E. Farsalinos from the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center and his associates conducted a study to determine if the amount of nicotine delivered by an e-liquid via an e-cig would be equivalent to the nicotine delivered by a conventional cigarette. They concluded that the e-cigarette does not deliver nicotine to the blood stream at levels similar to tobacco cigarettes. Some possible reasons could be that tobacco cigarettes deliver nicotine to the lungs where it is readily absorbed, whereas vapor deliver nicotine to the linings of the mouth and throat where it is poorly absorbed and where some is swallowed and is not available for absorption.
Another study by New Zealand Health Ltd. echoes these results. Each puff of an e-cigarette contains one-third to one-half of the nicotine of a tobacco cigarette. In order to deliver the same nicotine levels as tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes would have to use 50 mg/mL concentrations. Currently, the American E-liquid Manufacturing Standards Association limits the concentration to 36 mg/mL.
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