Touted as the safer al­ter­na­tive to smok­ing, e-cig­a­rettes are also in­tro­duc­ing an­other haz­ard: liq­uid nico­tine

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - BULLETIN -

Once upon a time if some­one whipped out their e-cig­a­rette at a party and be­gan puff­ing nico­tine vapours they’d be in­stantly ridiculed. Af­ter all, e-cig­a­rettes look like the stuff of a B-grade sci-fi movie. But, in­creas­ingly, it’s a movie we’ve come to oc­cupy: the use of e-cig­a­rettes is boom­ing, as anec­do­tal ev­i­dence spreads that they help wean smok­ers off tobacco (as yet these claims are un­con­firmed, and in some cases dis­puted, by re­search). E-cig­a­rettes work by va­por­is­ing a liq­uid, of­ten a di­luted nico­tine con­coc­tion, within an in­ner cham­ber of the de­vice. Al­though liq­uid nico­tine is a po­tent neu­ro­toxin, even a ta­ble­spoon of which is po­ten­tially deadly, its pro­duc­tion and sale are un­reg­u­lated. With just a few clicks you can legally ac­quire bar­rels of it, in a va­ri­ety of colours and flavours. But in­ci­dents of in­ad­ver­tent poi­son­ing are on the rise: last year the Poi­son Con­trol Cen­ter in the US saw a 300 per cent in­crease of cases linked to e-cig­a­rette liq­uids (up to 1 351, with 365 cases re­ferred to hospi­tal). The toxin can also en­ter the body through the skin. The Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion is plan­ning on reg­u­lat­ing e-cig­a­rettes, which is a step even some re­tail­ers wel­come. ‘It’s the wild, wild west right now,’ Chip Paul, who owns 13 e-cig­a­rette fran­chises in the US, told The New York Times. ‘Ev­ery­one fears FDA reg­u­la­tion, but hon­estly, we kind of wel­come some kind of rules and reg­u­la­tions around this liq­uid.’

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