People are always asking the question, “ are electronic cigarettes safe?” Well I always like to put things into perspective and the fact is people all over the world use common items every day that they know are NOT safe.
Sometimes people are surprised to find out that something they purchased to improve their health and safety is still not totally safe OR healthy!
This is what happened to me when I purchased a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 yesterday.
I very was excited to get my new space age looking addition to my office home and start using it as I have developed the dreaded “twinge” of pain from some yet to be identified musculoskeletal disease (MSD) after working on computer keyboards for over 25 years.
I was disappointed when I opened the box and unwrapped the packaging to find the following warning labels on the USB cord and the back of the keyboard:
To be honest, I didn’t even know what musculoskeletal diseases (MSD) were until I read this label! I now know they include, “carpel tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, tenosynovitis (huh?), and other conditions.” My spell checker didn’t even know what that last one was so now I am really afraid!!
The real kicker here is that these warning labels are much bigger and colorful on my new Microsoft ergonomic keyboard than they are on the old Logitech wireless keyboard it is replacing.
Does this mean that since the warning labels are more pronounced on the ergonomic keyboard that the danger is greater than with my inferior flat straight layout keyboard from before? Probably not, but the point is that sometimes companies just want to CYA to prevent or lessen the impact of being sued in our law suit happy society.
Microsoft doesn’t want me to think that just because I bought their keyboard that it will halt, eliminate or cure my MSD. (OUCH! I think I just felt some pain all the way up in my ring finger that time!)
What does this have to do with eCigs?!
If the FDA gets its way with eCigs (and they probably will) I think people are about to get a similar answer to the question of, “are electronic cigarettes safe?”
As long as regular cigarettes (with all their warning labels) continue to be sold in this country the only logical thing the FDA can do without a major public revolt is to require that eCigs continue to be sold, but have a warming label allowing the end user to judge electronic cigarettes safe enough for their usage.
No one knows at this point what the electronic cigarette warning labels will look like or what they will say. If eCig warning labels happen to be bigger, brighter, or use scarier language than tobacco warning labels, this does little to answer the question, “are electronic cigarettes safe?”
Also, the fact eCigs are NOT required to be labeled by the FDA at the time of writing this article does not make electronic cigarettes safe.
One thing that drives me crazy is that the FDA and many other people, mostly non-smokers, that are trying to figure out whether or not electronic cigarettes are safe are trying to hold them to the same safety standard as so called FDA approved nicotine replacement therapies such as the patch, gum, and nicotine inhaler.
To me it makes more sense to compare regular cigarettes to eCigs and ask the question, “are electronic cigarettes safer than regular cigarettes?”
The funny thing is when comparing regular cigarettes to electronic cigarettes you begin to realize that you might as well compare the safety of electronic cigarettes to diet soda, automobiles, or ergonomic keyboards for that matter!
The intent of this article is not to go into all the details of 10-20 substances (most individually recognized by the FDA as safe) that get inhaled after being vaporized (as in eCigs) vs. 4000 that get inhaled after combustion (as in regular cigarettes), but seriously..
There is tons of research out there already that you can find, but until the FDA, AMA, ACS, or any other TLA (three letter acronym) organization get off their butts and come up with their own research they are comfortable with only you can judge electronic cigarettes safe based on what information is out there and your own logic and common sense. Until that day comes, I hope my hands and wrists begin to feel a little better.