As the debate over regulating e-cigarettes heats up, leaders on both sides of the debate are beginning to emerge.
Skeptics of the e-cigarette industry include U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. They allege flavor options are intended to create new addicts for the conventional cigarette industry. State Attorneys General Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, and Martha Coakley, D-Mass., are leaders of this push, too. They sent a letter to the FDA Sept. 24 calling for a flavor ban and recruited 35 other state attorneys general and three territorial attorneys general to sign on.
The budding e-cigarette industry has its own champions. In addition to ECIG and Connor, the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association organizes thousands of avid fans to advocate for the products and the Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association, another e-cigarette industry group, is conducting a "fly in" to meet with congressmen on Oct. 3-4 in Washington, D.C. Criss, the ECIG leader, said he communicates on a regular basis with SFATA leaders.
Scientific analysis of e-cigarettes may tilt the debate. Studies on the devices are beginning to sprout up, and so far the results have been largely positive for e-cigarettes.
E-cigarette liquid is typically, although not always, laced with nicotine. The e-liquid is mainly comprised of vegetable glycerin – which studies found may reduce the incidence of tumors in mice – and propylene glycol, which a 2001 Environmental Protection Agency review found was not carcinogenic.
An analysis released in August by Drexel University researcher Igor Burstyn said the chemical composition of various e-cigarette liquids pose a negligible risk to second-hand smokers. Further, Burstyn wrote, "[t]here are no known toxicological synergies among compounds in the aerosol, and mixture of the contaminants does not pose a risk to health."
And a study published in March by the journal Tobacco Control looked at 12 brands of e-cigarettes and found they had far fewer toxins than conventional cigarettes. Large-scale, comprehensive studies on long-term health outcomes, however, haven't been performed yet.