E-Cigarettes: Second-hand Smoke, Vaping, and the Price of FDA Regulations

Electronic cigarettes are creating a frenzy among politicians, health experts, and the media. Local bans on using e-cigarettes indoors are popping up all over the country, and many interest groups are clamoring for top-down FDA regulations, which are expected to be released in the coming weeks.

“E-Cigarettes currently exist in a complete no-man’s land,” says Heather Wipfli, associate director for the USC Institute for Global Health. Skeptics such as Wipfli worry about the lack of long-term data available because the product is so new.

But according to the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association’s Greg Conley, calls for regulation are "a perverse interpretation of the precautionary principle.” The precautionary principle holds that until all possible risks are assessed, new technologies shouldn't be allowed to move forward.

Conley points to preliminary studies, like this one from Drexel University, which confirm these smokeless, tobacco-less, tar-less products are not a cause for concern - or at least not a cause for the same concerns that accompany traditional cigarettes and second-hand smoke. 

“That [Drexel University] professor concluded that there was absolutely no worry about risks to bystanders from e-cigarette vapor,” says Conley.

The ingredients of e-cigarettes certainly have very little in common with tobacco cigarettes. Nicotine, the only ingredient found in both products, is mainly used to wean smokers off traditional cigarettes and is not one of the harm-inducing ingredients associated with lung cancer in smokers. The other ingredients in the “e-juice” at the core of e-cigarettes are propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and food flavorings— all of which are used in other food products.

“All we are doing is steaming up food ingredients to create a vapor,” says Ed Refuerzo, co-owner of The Vape Studio in West Los Angeles. The Vape Studio is one of the many boutique e-cigarette shops popping up that might be significantly affected or even shut down by both local legislation and FDA regulations.

Conley says it's the currently unregulated customizability of the e-juice that allows these small businesses to thrive. “The availability of liquids is what is allowing a lot of these small stores to open and prosper because they are able to mix their own liquid and sell it to consumers without having to go through a big manufacturing process,” says Conley.

The higher costs of complying with regulations would most likely be passed on to consumers, which would impact people who are looking towards e-cigarettes as an effective way to quit smoking. 

“We’re using technology, and that’s what we do in America, we use technology to solve really complicated problems,” says Craig Weiss, president and CEO of NJOYNJOY is a leading manufacturer of electronic cigarettes  - and a donor to Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes Reason TV. Weiss says that despite regulations, the potential of the industry is only just starting to be realized.  

“The electronic industry is growing at quite a dramatic pace. It’s more than doubled each of the last four or five years," says Weiss. "This piece of technology could have such an potential impact on the world.”  

For more on the industry and NJOY, watch this ReasonTV interview with Weiss:

About 6 minutes.

Written and produced by Tracy Oppenheimer, who also narrates. Camera by Oppenheimer, Zach Weissmueller, Jim Epstein and Anthony Fisher.

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  • trshmnstr||

    It's that darn vape culture.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Drugs are bad, children, mmmmkay?

  • ||

    The modern-day Puritans have a never-ending quest: to prove that any and all sources of fun victimize someone else.

  • SOS||

    Fantastic, straight forward, educational review. Bravo to Reason.com!
    I haven't yet tried the Njoy Kings, but I've heard they're great, & I love the charging carry box. Although I vape an APV, (advanced personal vaporizer), I'd like to have these around for backups and for lending out to still smokers to try. The price of smokes scares a lot of smokers away, because they can't afford both the smokes & the safer alternative on the same payday. I'll be more than ready for these smokers, when they are ready to try the safer alternative.
    Thanks so much for these interviews! Every speaker did a great job of clarifying the info, and dismissing the misrepresented aspects.

  • Jquip||

    Outlaw public appearances for Great Justice, Comrades!

    May as well outlaw anything else that has a small, or is publicly visible. Like perfume, tramp stamps, and cankles. And Rolex watches. Class-baiting, bastards.

  • Loki||

    I could be supportive of a cankle ban.

  • RussianPrimeMinister||

    You know if they passed a cankle ban, there would be cops in the streets shooting the legs off of women.

    They'd be screaming things like "Stop Resisting!" and "I thought it was a dog!"

    Good times.

  • bassjoe||

    I cannot wrap my head around the argument that e-cigs somehow "glamorize" regular smoking and make it cool again. I mean, the first time I heard it, I thought the person saying it must have just been hit with a stupid stick. But it's the most oft-used argument to regulate e-cigs like cigarettes.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    The anti-smoking Crusade went six bubbles off of true quite some time ago. The whole "second hand smoke" meme is largely hogwash; the EPA report on what they call "environmental tobacco smoke" admitted that the highest level of exposure they expected to find in the real world would amount to directly smoking two-fifths of a cigarette a day (or about three cigarettes a week). Secondhand smoke isn't killing anybody.

    Basically, the Crusaders absolutely cannot STAND that there are people in the world who won't do what they are told by their betters.

  • williamh||

    Excellent video. I used these to quit and haven't looked back.

  • DenverJay||

    This morning on the local news there was a story about a nearby town that banned ecigs on any city property, including parks. The guy they interviewed actually said something like "Our citizens and visitors deserve to be able to visit a park without being exposed to ecigarettes."
    They also said some bullshit about "second hand nicotine".
    I shit you not.

  • Habeas Dorkus||

    That's par for the course for American "journalism," the repository of stupid fucks to be able to voice their stupid-fuck opinions, to stupid-fuck, blow-dried "reporters," without any sort of filter.
    They're the original Internet.

  • Habeas Dorkus||

    "Vaping" helped me quit smoking.
    I have not a sneaking suspicion, but an outright RIGHTEOUS FUCKING KNOWLEDGE that the cuntery fighting e-cigs are the same self-fellating fuckholes who came in their pants when "sin tax" tobacco revenues started to flow in.
    These christy little turds care not a shit about public health.

  • circadia||

    Well said. I'm four years smoke-free now because of ecigs. My health is great and my vaping hurts nor bothers no one.

  • mrvco||

    We spent decades demonizing "smoking" and here we are... a nicotine delivery system that does not have the harmful side effects of "smoking", does not require products manufactured by Big Pharma and is free of confiscatory sin taxes.

    Obviously e-cigs need to be taxed, regulated and demonized "for the children".

  • Weygand||

    How long until these are banned because people are using them for marijuana? Since they are hard to distinguish they will all be banned.

  • wadair||

    Just add WiFi and GPS to ecigs and the NSA has another means for tracking Americans.

  • carminakaka||

    my friend's aunt makes $73/hr on the computer. She has been without a job for 10 months but last month her pay was $14848 just working on the computer for a few hours. view it


  • Overtaxed||

    I "accidentally" quit smoking about 3 years ago using Ecigs. I say accidentally because I really had no intention of quitting. I got an EC and had to go away for work. I brought my real cigs and was only planning on using the EC in places where the real stuff was restricted (indoors). Anyway, long story short, I just never felt the need to go have a real cig; the EC was so much easier and more convenient; I just puffed away on that the whole week and never smoked a real cig again. Still have an opened carton of cigs sitting around somewhere.

    I have a "mod" which runs on a big battery and probably spend about 10-20 bucks a month on supplies (cartomizers and juice). So, big savings there compared to the 150 or so I was spending on real cigs. And, the much bigger benefit; I don't have any "smoker signs" anymore. No more cough. No more smell. Food tastes better (double edged sword if there ever was one). No more worrying about that last cig of the night. I feel much better all the way around. And, again, I had no intention of quitting when I picked up my first EC.

    I "stealth vape" all the time in places I'm not supposed to. Nobody can tell; it has no smell and, if you get stealth juices, almost no vapor. It's wonderful to be free of the cig restrictions, almost worth the price of admission right there!

  • taddy||

    I only listen to Dr.'s who have MY best interests at heart. Dr. Farsalinos, Dr. Michael Seigel, Dr. Igor Berstyne, Dr. Carl Phillips, and so many more! They are literally researching for MY benefit, to help me to make informed choices.

    On the other hand, I do not listen rubbish tossed about by "expert" data twisters, epidemiologists who are only in it for the power of greed and to further their own agendas.

    We Vapers are ecstatic to finally quit smoking with, tar, toxins, carcinogens.
    I assure you, every single one of us want to know the absolute truths.
    How long can we vape before we turn into a pumpkin?
    Which Flavors should we refrain from, or minimize in our daily rotation?
    Does vaping PG help to reduce our chances of catching colds? & also spreading cold germs?
    Does breathing PG from a vaporizer help to relieve respiratory problems? as many doctors have suggested in the past.

    our families and friends are extremely happy we took the decision to quit cigarettes in favour of vaping as our health and well being has impoved beyond what was realistically expected, also the smell and mess associated with cigarettes has gone and our friends and families are not being exposed to second hand smoke something if we are honest should have been avoided at all costs.

    Vapers everywhere want to have the right to make informed decisions. Vapers are people too.fact!!!

    "the truth will out it always does".

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