On September 17, 2019, the Scientific Liaison Coalition (SLC) hosted a webinar entitled “Health Hazards of Electronic Cigarettes,” during which Neal L. Benowitz, MD, of the University of California San Francisco discussed the risks associated with electronic cigarette use. A recording of this webinar is now available online.
The impact of electronic cigarette use on population health is strongly influenced by the harms and risks of e-cigarettes. The harm from cigarette smoking is to a great extent caused by toxic products of tobacco combustion. E-cigarettes deliver nicotine in an inhalable aerosol without combustion. E-cigarettes do deliver propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, various flavoring chemicals, and their various thermal breakdown products, as well as particles; some of these chemicals are potentially toxic. E-cigarettes vary considerably in design, and the risk is almost certainly greater with those with bigger batteries that operate at higher temperatures. The long-term safety of e-cigarettes is unknown at this time. Major current health concerns in the US relate to e-cigarette use by youth, particularly with respect to impaired adolescent brain development, development of nicotine addiction, and serving as a gateway to cigarette and other drug use. Short-term adverse effects include increased respiratory symptoms and asthma, although respiratory symptoms improve in smokers with chronic lung disease who switch completely to e-cigarettes. Other health concerns include cardiovascular toxicity (particularly in people with preexisting heart disease) and reproductive toxicity during pregnancy. Direct nicotine toxicity from ingestion of nicotine-containing liquids can occur, particularly in children, but is uncommon.
About the Scientific Liaison Coalition
The mission of the SLC is “improving the ability of societies to partner with other domestic and international organizations with the goal of advancing science to improve human and environmental health” by efforts to:
- Strengthen partnerships among health science organizations to increase awareness of toxicology and related sciences on human health
- Enhance cooperation among societies with the goal of accomplishing tasks benefiting human health and disease prevention through joint and shared activities
SOT is a member association of the Scientific Liaison Coalition.