MANILA, Philippines—The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday warned the public against using electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), saying their smoke contained substances that might be harmful to one’s health.
In a statement, the FDA said that e-cigarettes were not emission-free and that they contained “volatile organic substances,” like propylene glycol, and “carcinogenic” metals like nickel and chromium.
“The public, especially the youth sector, is advised not to start smoking at all and to stop using cigarettes, cigars, or e-cigarettes,” the FDA said.
“These ultra-fine liquid particles of less than 2.5 micrometer in diameter may penetrate deeply into the lungs … second-hand exposure to e-cigarette emission, which may lead to adverse health effects, cannot be excluded,” it added.
The FDA said a study conducted by the German Cancer Research Center and the World Health Organization-Collaborating Centre for Tobacco Control1 showed that besides glycol, e-cigarette emissions also contained, nicotine, flavors, tobacco-specific nitrosamines, volatile organic compounds, acetone, form aldehyde, acetaldehyde, silicate and various metal particles.
“The particle size is between 100 and 600 nanometers, which is comparable to the particle size found in tobacco smoke of conventional cigarettes,” the FDA said.
“The levels of most harmful substances are lower in the e-cigarettes than in conventional cigarette smoke, but they do accumulate in indoor air,” it added.
The FDA said the study also showed that sodium, iron, aluminum, and nickel were present “at higher levels than with those known in cigarette smoke.”
“Five others, namely copper, magnesium, lead, chromium, manganese, were present in the same amount, while potassium and zinc were present at lower levels,” the agency said.
The FDA noted that nickel and chromium are carcinogenic or substances that might cause cancer while lead is suspected to be carcinogenic.
“If several people are using e-cigarettes in a room at the same time, considerable indoor air pollution will accumulate and may result to harmful second-hand exposure,” it said.
The agency said local government units should strengthen their ordinances against smoking in public places and on second-hand exposure to harmful substances.