FDA: E-Cigarettes May Be as Bad as Real Thing

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NBC Nightly News
Brian Williams/Mike Taibbi
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Video News Report
NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
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Battery-operated "e-cigarettes," or electronic cigarettes, are marketed as a healthier alternative to real cigarettes, but early test results by the Food and Drug Administration indicate the products still contain some toxic chemicals.



"FDA: E-Cigarettes May Be as Bad as Real Thing." Mike Taibbi, correspondent. NBC Nightly News. NBCUniversal Media. 22 July 2009. NBC Learn. Web. 12 August 2017.


Taibbi, M. (Reporter), & Williams, B. (Anchor). (2009, July 22). FDA: E-Cigarettes May Be as Bad as Real Thing. [Television series episode]. NBC Nightly News. Retrieved from https://archives.nbclearn.com/portal/site/k-12/browse/?cuecard=44816


"FDA: E-Cigarettes May Be as Bad as Real Thing" NBC Nightly News, New York, NY: NBC Universal, 07/22/2009. Accessed Sat Aug 12 2017 from NBC Learn: https://archives.nbclearn.com/portal/site/k-12/browse/?cuecard=44816


FDA: E-Cigarettes may Be as Bad as real Thing


If you smoke, if you have ever smoked, or worried about someone who does, you know it is a tough one to break. People will try anything to quit the habit, even electronic cigarettes. Well, today the FDA issued a warning on those so-called e-cigarettes, saying they may be more like the real thing than anyone has bargained for. Our report from NBC's Mike Taibbi.

MIKE TAIBBI reporting:

When 67-year-old Phyllis Brown of Parlin, New Jersey, want a cigarette she steps outside, wishing, like most of the country's other 50 million smokers, that she didn't have to.

Ms. PHYLLIS BROWN: If I could quit, I would quit.

TAIBBI: But for months she's been doing this, indoors and anywhere else.

Ms. BROWN: I'm not smoking an analog. I'm vaping.

TAIBBI: Vaping, as in the vapors she inhales from her electronic cigarette, as opposed to smoking real cigarettes that she calls analogs.

These battery-operated e-cigarettes are designed to look and feel like the real thing and to atomize liquified nicotine and other flavorings. In barely three years, they've become an estimated $100 million a year business. But NBC News has learned preliminary FDA tests on some samples found toxic and cancer causing chemicals.

Dr. JOSHUA SHARFSTEIN (FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner): We're concerned about how they're being marketed, what's in them. And we certainly don't think people should be using them.

TAIBBI: In fact, the FDA labels them "drug device combinations subject to regulation and enforcement."

Mr. STEVE MYLAN: Typically what I'll tell people is to reload with 10 to

15 drops.

TAIBBI: Enforcement so far has been seizures of shipments, like these Chinese-made products ordered by distributor Steve Mylan of Chicago.

Mr. MYLAN: It's just held. It's in limbo.

TAIBBI: Held while a court decides whether smokers like Mylan himself--his was a four pack a day habit--can freely choose this alternative to cigarettes.

Mr. MYLAN: This is something that people not only want, they need. It does work.

TAIBBI: Judging by the Internet chatter, there are plenty of smokers who want to quit and who've gone over to e-cigarettes who say they refuse to wait for the FDA to say OK.

Unidentified Woman: How much are you smoking now?

TAIBBI: When Phyllis Brown went for a recent physical, she reported she'd gone from two packs of real cigarettes a day to one pack every three or four days.

Ms. BROWN: And my doctor is thrilled, and my--I'm thrilled.


How E-Cigarettes Work nightly.msnbc.com

TAIBBI: Even though neither she nor her doctor know exactly what's in the devices that she's using dozens of times a day.

Smart, not smart?

Ms. BROWN: Not smart. Not smart.

TAIBBI: But...

Ms. BROWN: Addicted.

TAIBBI: Still addicted to nicotine and, like millions of others, struggling to break the habit. Mike Taibbi, NBC News, Parlin, New Jersey.