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E-cigarettes under fire: New study warns of secondhand smoke from e-cigarettes

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E-cigarettes are coming under fire because a new study shows that particles from e-cigarettes do not only harm e-cigarette users but also those around them. The most recent study, which analyzed exactly what was in e-cigarette vapors, was conducted by scientist Prue Tablot and her team at the University of California Riverside, reports San Diego’s 10News on Jan. 31, 2014.

Scientist Prue Tablot and her team at the University of California Riverside are among the first in the United States to analyze e-cigarettes.

The first e-cigarette that was analyzed in the laboratory was "Smoking Everywhere Platinum," which is made in China and distributed out of Florida across the United States. "There is quite a bit of tin. Most of this material is composed of tin. There is also some oxygen, some copper and some nickel."

“The electronic microscope revealed a possible source for the tin was the solder used to cover the wires inside of the e-cigarette. A lot of the solder seems to have come off, some of it has spread and come off and melted on the side," said Talbot.

The second e-cigarette that was analyzed in the university's lab was the Mistic e-cigarette. While there was no tin found in Mistic, the laboratory analysis showed concentrations of copper, calcium and potassium.

Stanton Glantz, who is professor of medicine at the University of California and one of the leading figures in the study of e-cigarettes, says that the fact that e-cigarettes contain such minute particles means that the nanoparticles go from the lungs straight into the bloodstream and carry the toxic chemicals into various organs.

It also means that the vapor released from e-cigarettes contains the same chemicals which he believes are harming secondhand smokers.

"If you are around somebody who is using e-cigarettes, you are breathing in ultra-fine particles and you are breathing in nicotine," he said. "You are breathing in volatile organic campaigns and metals that are in the vapor."

So far, there are no long-term health studies about the effects of e-cigarettes but nicotine levels have been found in people exposed to e-cigarette vapors. Besides an indoor e-cigarette ban in Chicago and New York, California State Senate Bill 648 requires e-cigarettes to be regulated as a tobacco product and be included in existing smoke-free laws.

For many smokers, e-cigarettes have become an important alternative to smoking tobacco. For many e-cigarette users, not exposing children to the harmful effects of tobacco smoke is an incentive to make that switch.

However, the fact that there is no regulation at the local, state or federal level as to what e-cigarettes can or cannot contain, might mean that an e-cigarette user is doing unintended harm to those exposed to secondhand e-cigarette vapors. “Most e-cigarettes are made in China by different manufacturers with no U.S. government oversight.”

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