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Greg Webb
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FDA Study Identifies Toxins in Electronic Cigarettes


According to a preliminary analysis by the FDA, electronic cigarettes contain traces of carcinogens and toxins. These findings contradict electronic cigarette manufacturers’ statements that their products are a safe alternative to tobacco. Manufacturers claim that the battery-powered cigarettes contain nothing more than water vapor, nicotine, and propylene glycol, which is used to create artificial smoke. When heated, the liquid produces a vapor that users inhale.

The FDA analyzed 19 varieties of the cartridges that hold the liquid and two types of cigarettes made by NJoy and Smoking Everywhere. It found that several cartridges contained nitrosamines, tobacco-specific compounds known to cause cancer, and one cartridge from Smoking Everywhere contained diethlyene glycol, a common ingredient in antifreeze. Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the FDA’s principal commissioner, reports concerns because, while the FDA knows what’s in the cigarettes, it doesn’t know how those ingredients affect the body when inhaled through electronic cigarettes.

The Electronic Cigarette Association said in a statement that the FDA’s testing was too narrow to be reliable and that its members only sell and market their product to adults. CEO of NJoy Jack Ledbetter said a third party had tested its products and pronounced them an appropriate alternative to cigarettes, but he did not release those findings. He said experts would review both NJoy’s tests and the FDA’s.

Dr. Sharfstein said that electronic cigarettes are manufactured in China and subject to little quality control, adding that the study found nicotine levels to vary in cartridges who claimed to have a standard amount and found the drug in cartridges who claimed to be nicotine-free.

The FDA has called the cigarettes electronic drug delivery devices, turning away approximately 50 shipments of them at the border. It would not comment on whether it planned to ban electronic cigarettes, but public health officials are worried that the cherry and bubblegum flavors are enticing to children and may be easy for minors to obtain. Smoking Everywhere filed a lawsuit against the FDA in April, claiming that it did not have jurisdiction to bar electronic cigarettes from entering the U.S.


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  1. Randall Fox says:
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    Why doesn’t anybody write one of these articles in comparative comtext? Are e-cigs less harmful than cigarettes? Nobody knows for sure, but I would venture to guess that the answer is a big YES. Just read the lab studies by HelathNZ.

    The bigger issue is the Big Brother nanny-state that wants to control every action I take. From regulating the amount of water I can use to flush my toilet, to not allowing me to sell my kiwi fruit because it was 3mm below “standard” this government is an out-of-control totalitarian monster whose belicose actions are supported by too many sheeple.

    We all know that these new products entail risk, but it is our decision to decide what levels of risk we want to take. Are they going to outlaw snow skiing next?

    And enough with the “they sell it in flavors so they must be targeting children” BS. 50 year olds like flavor, too. Although according to the health nazis we should all be eating nothing but gruel and bran. I’m sure that’s coming up on the Government agenda. I’m nowhere near a kid and I love my flavor. Ever seen the vokda selection at your local liquor store. STFU about “THE CHILDREN” you frigging disingenuous slimeballs.

    If you would like more information about e-cigs, visit http://www.e-cig-info.org, a non-commercial information website.

    If you would like more information about styles, prices and flavors, visit http://www.libertyEcig.com, an online retailer.

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    Hey Everyone, there are many valid points being made here. I would just like to say that Traditional cigarettes have 4000 chemicals, and are way worse compared to electronic cigarettes. NOW are electronic cigarettes 100% safe?? of course not, but no body is claiming that it is. So lets allow adults to make their own decision, and if they wish to try e cigarettes http://www.electroniccigarettesource.com let them, they will be be way better off in the long term, because e cigs have no SMOKE no odor, and they don’t stain your teeth, and the water vapor is not the same as giving off second hand smoke. Please visit the Electronic cigarette association and read the valuable info that they have on there.

  3. Chris Sugar says:
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    This is a load of hooey. The FDA used a nicotrol inhaler as the test control. If they compared an e-cig with a normal cig, the results would’ve been totally different.

    I smoked for more than 10 years and now I’ve completely stopped smoking normal cigarettes. I can breathe easier and no longer cough. I’ve tried patches, nicotine gum, you name it! This is the best invention since sliced bread and I’m glad that I purchased a good unit. I started with disposable units that were cheap but they provided no throat hit, I thought, is that it? So I did my research.

    After researching online for various companies and prices, I found Freshsmoking[.]com They’ve got the best prices, their starter kits start at only $45 dollars and the rest of their accessories are much cheaper than anywhere else I’ve seen. The best part about it is that their units provide a strong throat hit and a great battery and cartridge life. I’ve had my unit now for more than a month and it’s still going strong! Also, their customer service was great and their shipping was lightening fast as well. I highly recommend them!

  4. Greg Webb says:
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    Thank you all for commenting. This post evoked strong reactions. I am not a smoker, but my father has smoked for nearly sixty years, although he quit for a 7 year period and resumed several years ago, much to my disappointment. I formerly represented several people who were intimately involved in the cigarette industry, and having learned what some of the cigarette companies allegedly did, did not do, hid, and covered up, I was astounded. I think the latter is why you see some verdicts against the cigarette companies, even though, as someone pointed out, there are warnings on the packs and cartons. Cigarettes basically are an accelerant to end one’s life – i.e., they speed up the processes by which we all die. If one was going to die of cancer at age 75, or 85, smoking increases the likelihood of dying from that cancer years and years earlier. Cigarettes “put the petal to the metal”, as a scientist once told me in highly scientific terms. Having said all of the above, the jury may still be out on these electronic cigarettes, although I hope they are much safer than regular, tobacco-laden, cigarettes


  5. Charles Murray says:
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    If you don’t rely on the FDA’s Press Release and actually read the reports, you can see through the smoke and past the mirrors.


    Only very small amounts of the harmful substances the media loves to mention were actually detected. The FDA admits that no conclusions can be made from the study. The only thing the E-Cigs were compared with was the Nicotrol Inhaler, NOT Real Cigarettes, Gums or Patches.

    So far, the chemical count between real cigarettes and E-cigarettes is about 4,000 to what? Maybe 15. How can they NOT be safer than real cigarettes? With no Dead Bodies yet and if all they have found so far is in this FDA report then I will take my chances with the E-cig’s.

    Need another reason they are safer? What if just One Forest fire fails to start this year because someone was using an E-cig and didn’t carelessly toss out that smoldering cigarette butt from the window of their new Prius that has no @%*$ ash tray.

  6. Wayne says:
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    Why isn’t the FDA releasing their report? Why was the testing done on such a small (19) number of cartridges? What was the purpose of the report?

    These are the questions the media needs to be asking, not simply falling in line and declaring e-cigs as potentially dangerous. Isn’t it obvious that e-cigs are meant to be used as an alternative to real cigarettes? Shouldn’t the test have reflected this?

    I don’t think anyone would argue that e-cigs may need to be regulated in some ways. I for one don’t want teens to using these products. Yet it seems obvious that the FDA is hell-bent on banning e-cigs and is manipulating the media in an effort to gain support for it’s agenda.

    Yes, I am an e-cig users. I am also an smoker, and until the invention of e-cigs had tried everything to quite. Now, I only smoke 1 or 2 “real” cigarettes per day. I breath easier, food tastes better, and it’s obvious to my family and friends that I am much better off.

    Isn’t this the “real” issue? Does the FDA want me to go back to using a product that it knows will kill me because my alternative “may” not be 100% safe? Why aren’t you writing about that?

  7. Wayne says:
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    “the jury is still out”??????

    The jury isn’t getting a chance to see all the evidence. The FDA hasn’t (or WON’T) do a comparison between the two.

    I suggest you do some real reporting and run a follow up to this article. Call the FDA, and ask the important questions…When will the FDA provide the details of it’s report? When will the FDA do a FULL comparison between the two? How does the FDA feel about forcing millions of people back to a product that is basically a death sentence?

    We need people like you to ask the tough questions, and not just re-print the propaganda of the FDA.

    I wish your father had known about e-cigs. If he had, he might still be here today.

  8. Johnny says:
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    In response to the FDA’s recent announcements, some manufacturers are already switching to American Made “Smoke Juice”. This is a good step in the right direction as users can be more confident in the origins of the vapors being inhaled into their bodies. With a American accountability, the quality control is likely to be higher than that of foreign countries. The first to start this trend is Halo and can be found at http://www.halocigs.com.

  9. Greg Webb says:
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    Thank you for your strongly worded comments. Obviously, you are a supporter of e-cigs. By the way, my father is still with us. Also, I am not a reporter; I am an attorney (probably worse to you). Propaganda runs many ways, including from manufacturers trying to sell products; I highly recommend not believing everything published by a company trying to sell its product. I could give you a laundry list of products for which the latter applies (asbestos and cigarettes, to name a quick few), but I will not go into an exhaustive list in this forum. Do you use e-cigs or work for one of the manufacturers?


  10. Greg Webb says:
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    Mr. Murray,

    If your data is accurate, you may be correct. You make some good points.

    Greg Webb

  11. Randall Fox says:
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    Mr. Webb,

    I just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to blog. I know it costs time you could be spending elsewhere, and your willingness to share your time to provide for, encourage, and engage in public debate is admirable. Our society could use many more open-minded attorneys such as yourself.


    Randall Fox

  12. Greg Webb says:
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    Mr. Fox,

    Thank you. I actually enjoy the little bit of blogging I do, especially trying to keep up with the many products out there that may be harmful.


  13. Greg Webb says:
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    Mr. Fox,

    Thank you. I actually enjoy the little bit of blogging I do, especially trying to keep up with the many products out there that may be harmful.


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    Great comments by everyone. The media and FDA have certainly skewed their findings. There are several tobacco researchers that have looked at the FDA report and concluded that the electronic cigarettes are safer. You can read the rebuttals at our website: http://www.e-cigarettedirect.com
    It is important for our industry to inform the public of the real facts, not just the scare tactics used by media.

    Our customers RAVE about how they feel and look after using electronic cigarettes for a full week. We need to get their stories out in the public eye.

    It’s easy for non-smokers to dismiss all this information, but these products can be potentially life-saving for their smoker friends and family.

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    Oregon Stops Sale of Unapproved E-Cigarettes

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    The FDA are being very ‘selective’ in what they are saying about Diethylene glycol. Sure, it is used in coolants, such as car anti-freeze. Diethylene glycol is also widely used as a humectant, a moisturizer, for tobacco, which is probably where it came from in the nicotine being used for those Ecigs, and easily eliminated if required to. BUT, it is also used in skin cream and lotions, deodorants, cough syrup, toothpaste, and mouthwash, and to make sweet wines. The nitrosamines come from flu-cured tobacco, and easily eliminated. Yes, nicotine is addictive, as is caffeine, neither of which have been causally linked to any disease. Indeed both are used to treat diseases. Anti-smokers have taken over the FDA and are now waging a similar campaign against Ecigs of obfuscation, misinformation, and outright junk science lies, to deliberately promulgate false fears by implied association in the minds of the public, based on nothing at all. The FDA lies about a lot of other products too.

  17. Wayne says:
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    Dear Mr. Webb,

    Please forgive my strongly worded post.

    I am not a seller of the product, nor do I represent any company. As you have noted, I am a user of the product. I have tried many products, and done a great deal of research on the subject.

    I can only speak from personal experience. I have been smoking for many years, and have tried (and failed) to quit many times. I have tried everything from the patch to gum, pills, and even cold turkey. I have had some limited success, but always returned to smoking.

    When I started e-cigarettes, I almost completely stopped within the first few days. I noticed my sense of taste and smell returning within a week, and how much better I looked and felt soon after. I have had conversations with many like minded people that have had the same experience. For many of us, this is truly a Godsend.

    This is why we feel so strongly. It’s not that we are against real, fact based, research. So far, the FDA has gone out of it way to show a rather one-sided view of the product. Many of us our confounded by the FDA’s attitude. On the one hand it permits smoking (and is even working with the industry to come up with “safer” products), but on the other hand seems to be pushing the idea that e-cigs “may” be unhealthy.

    What are they comparing them too? Common sense dictates e-cigs should be compared to real cigarettes. I agree that they SHOULD be regulated in much the same way as real cigarettes are (no one under 18, etc). It seems however that the FDA is more interested in banning the product, rather than doing some honest research.

    There are 1000’s of manufacturers, and yet the FDA’s study (that you refer to in your article) included only 19 cartridges. They fail to say what levels of these unsafe ingredients they found, or even release the report to the public to be reviewed by those who would be able to confirm their findings.

    Most USA makers of e-liquids and cartridges provide a list of all ingredients used in their products. I agree that there should be accountability for these products, and perhaps this is where the FDA needs to be involved. However, it appears the organization is more interested in banning the product altogether, than informing the public of the which products are safe, and which are not.

    There are dozens of doctors (and other health organizations) that have done there own studies which show that e-cigarettes are 99.9 percent safer than the real thing. The FDA isn’t interested in these reports, because these are comparison studies. These organizations and there results are available online, and can be easily found via a simple google search.

    Should you like investigate my claims further, I suggest you visit e-cigarette-forum.com or dozens of other websites dedicated to the truth about e-cigarettes.



  18. James says:
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    A billion dollar lawsuit, against the tobacco industry, was won a several years ago by a local attorney and he profited emmensely. The results of this demonstrated in a federal court that people don’t have any free will.

    No one forced people to smoke and get cancer. I smoked for 30 years and quit. I just didn’t smoke anymore and from my first cigarette I knew they weren’t healthy. I enjoyed everyone that I smoked.

    The only motivation is money. The new regulations of lowering the nicotine content, additional taxing of all tobacco products and eliminating any competitors is an agreement between a large tobacco company and the FDA. The government gets higher taxes for cigarettes and the tobacco company sells more cigarettes because of the lower nicotine content.

    No references to cite, just my opinion.

  19. Greg Webb says:
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    Good points. I disagree to an extent, however. People do have free will, but there are circumstances when they are fraudulenly lured into something that is harmful. I do not profess to know the whole tobacco industry story, but I do know that there was some egregious conduct by certain manufacturers that led to some of these people being injured (and to some verdicts, but I believe many of the cases are not successful). In Virginia (the state where I practice), however, a smoker’s case against a tobacco company would never make it much past the filing stage because Virginia adheres to the doctrine of contributory negligence, meaning that if the conduct of the plaintiff is even slightly to blame for the plaintiff’s injury, the plaintiff cannot recover. Most other states have adopted a comparative negligence doctrine, which apportions blame amond the defendant(s) and plaintiff(s). There have been no successful cases in Virginia against a tobacco company for a smoking related injury.

    Greg Webb