In a report (PDF) examining 26 emerging risks, the group warned that the long-term health effects of smoking e-cigarettes are unknown.
Some manufacturers have advertised e-cigarettes as healthier alternatives to traditional cigarettes or as smoking-cessation aids. However, no peer-reviewed studies have proven such benefits.
If e-cigarettes turn out to be more dangerous than is presumed today, manufacturers may be vulnerable to liability claims from people who developed respiratory diseases, cancer, or other health problems.
According to the report:
“Concerns focus on e-liquids, the key ingredients in e-cigarettes, which are powerful neurotoxins. When e-liquids are ingested or absorbed through the skin, they can cause vomiting and seizures and can even be lethal.”
The group also warns that e-liquids pose health risks, especially for children. There is also a serious workplace hazard for preparing and selling e-liquids when precautions are not taken, such as wearing gloves.
The European Union (EU) has moved much faster to regulate the sale of e-cigarettes than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In April, the FDA proposed extending their regulatory authority over tobacco to also cover e-cigarettes. In the EU, advertising of e-cigarettes will be banned after mid-2016. The products will also have to be childproof, carry safety warnings, and contain no more than 20-mg/mL of e-liquid.
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