Their websites have names like SmokeAnywhere.com and SmokingEverywhere.com, and manufacturers of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are touting that their products are "cheaper than a cigarette," have a "cool design," come in "different flavors" and are a "tar-free option" to traditional cigarettes. The website of E-Cigarettes National boasts that its new electronic cigarettes have "eliminated over 3,900 chemicals for the smoker that is looking for a smart alternative," and one site even advertises it as a "health cigarette." But the heat on electronic cigarettes is growing. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation, Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis (DPA) recently purchased samples of e-cigarettes and analyzed cartridges from them for nicotine content and the presence of potentially cancer-causing tobacco constituents. DPA found one percent diethylene glycol -- a toxic ingredient used in antifreeze -- in the cartridge of one cigarette. Half the samples tested contained tobacco-specific nitrosamines, which are known human carcinogens. All but one of the e-cigarette cartridges labeled as containing no nicotine did, in fact, contain low levels of nicotine. And three different cartridges with the same label were tested and found to emit "markedly different amounts of nicotine with each puff." DPA suggests the findings indicate "that quality control processes used to manufacture these products are inconsistent or non-existent." E-cigarettes are currently manufactured, advertised and sold without FDA oversight.
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