No e cigarette has been approved by the FDA as a safe and effective product to help people quit smoking. Yet many companies are making claims that e cigarettes help smokers quit. When smokers are ready to quit, they should call 1 800 QUIT NOW or talk with their doctors about using one of the seven FDA approved medications proven to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit.

According to one study, there are 250 different e cigarette brands for sale in the U.S. today. With so many brands, there is likely to be wide variation in the chemicals intended and unintended that each contain.

In 2009, lab tests conducted by the FDA found detectable levels of toxic cancer causing chemicals including an ingredient used in anti freeze in two leading brands of e cigarettes and 18 various e cigarette cartridges.

There is no safe form of tobacco. Right now, the public health and medical community or consumers have no way of knowing what chemicals are contained in an e cigarette or what the short and long term health implications might be.

Commonsense regulation of e cigarettes by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is urgently needed. In the absence of meaningful oversight, the tobacco industry has free rein to promote their products as “safe” without any proof.

A proposal to regulate e cigarettes and other tobacco products has been under review at the White House Office of Management and Budget since October 1, 2013. The Obama administration must move forward with these rules to protect the health of everyone, especially our children.

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Harold P. Wimmer.

Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation: a randomised controlled trial : the lancet

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657 people were randomised (289 to nicotine e cigarettes, 295 to patches, and 73 to placebo e cigarettes) and were included in the intention to treat analysis. At 6 months, verified abstinence was 7 3% (21 of 289) with nicotine e cigarettes, 5 8% (17 of 295) with patches, and 4 1% (three of 73) with placebo e cigarettes (risk difference for nicotine e cigarette vs patches 1 51 95% CI 2 49 to 5 51 for nicotine e cigarettes vs placebo e cigarettes 3 16 95% CI 2 29 to 8 61 ). Achievement of abstinence was substantially lower than we anticipated for the power calculation, thus we had insufficient statistical power to conclude superiority of nicotine e cigarettes to patches or to placebo e cigarettes. We identified no significant differences in adverse events, with 137 events in the nicotine e cigarettes group, 119 events in the patches group, and 36 events in the placebo e cigarettes group. We noted no evidence of an association between adverse events and study product.