Senior chemistry major Amy Balestrino at UTC (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga) has been conducting thorough research on her own to determine the safety of e-cigarettes. At a time when the FDA seems reluctant and even apathetic when it comes to regulating these new nicotine delivery devices, brave students like Balestrino are taking it upon themselves to make a difference.
“People don’t even know what’s in them. They jump on the bandwagon without knowing anything,” a seemingly frustrated Balestrino stated.
According to most E-cigarette manufacturers, their products only contain two ingredients: propylene glycol and nicotine. However, Balestrino reported finding 2-butanol, which is a potentially harmful irritant. It is also flammable. She is planning to publish her findings by July of this year, at which time she will be unveiling them at a UTC symposium.
Also excited about Balestrino’s research is a man by the name of Jay Collum, who works as a control coordinator for the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department. He is also in charge of tobacco education.
“I have no knowledge of any such e-cigarette regulation here, state or city,” said Collum. “With these things, you get your nicotine and you get it anytime you want to.”
Nicotine is, of course, highly addictive in any form.
As dire of a need as it may appear there is for regulation, the FDA seems in no hurry to act, despite the sort of evidence Balestrino and others are providing. A spokesman for the FDA, Jeff Ventura said, “Anyone in the regulatory world knows it’s going to take a while. There’s just not a lot of information out there about e-cigarettes one way or another.”
Right…isn’t that exactly why we should be regulating them in the first place? In any case, as more and more information becomes available “out there”, hopefully the FDA will run out of excuses and finally take action.