How Effectively is E-Cigarettes Safety Communicated to Consumers?

The electronic cigarette market has – and continues – to grow at a rapid pace. However, it was not until recently that regulations were developed and put into place. In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued long-anticipated rules that extended federal regulatory authority to e-cigarettes. Before these rules were issued, the e-cigarette industry had operated with no federal regulation. One of the biggest concerns that led to this change was the protection of the public, especially children.

Protecting Consumers

With regulations in the early stages for the e-cig industry, the next concern has been how effectively e-liquid ingredients, HPHCs, and nicotine levels are being communicating to consumers? The American public health community was very split on the safety of e-cigarettes after hearing the news of FDA regulations on e-cigarettes.

For example, Stanton Glantz, a medical professor at the University of San Francisco, says that e-cigarettes are between 30% and 50% safer than combustibles. Though he did admit that the e-cig vapor contains particles that could damage vapers’ hearts. Others like Michael Sigel, a professor at Boston University’s school of public health disagree. He points to studies like the recent report from the Royal College of Physicians in the UK, which states that “having a non-tobacco product that delivers nicotine in a relatively safe way could have cut nicotine consumption in half.”

As of now, the causes of e-cigarette related symptoms among users and their impact on health remain largely uncertain. The goal of a recent social media study conducted by collecting data from Reddit was to analyze the potential relationships between symptoms and e-liquid components like propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerine (VG), flavor extracts, and nicotine.

The study outlined three main sets of findings:

  1. Three groups of flavors in terms of VG/PG ratios were identified: fruits, cream, and nuts; sweet, menthol, and seasonings flavors; and tobacco and beverages flavors.
  2. Throat hit was analyzed. It was discovered that menthol and tobacco flavors and as well as high ratios of PG and nicotine level could produce more throat hit.
  3. The study also examined a total of 9 systems of 25 symptoms identified. It was suggested that components including VG/PG ratio, flavor, and nicotine could be possible reasons for the symptoms.

E-Cigarettes, A High-Risk Industry

As new regulations are introduced, merchants and manufacturers must adjust. The uncertainty of the industry has made it risky in the eyes of lenders and payment processing providers. To continue to operate efficiently, many have turned to alternative providers that specialize in helping high-risk merchants. For example, an e-cig merchant account allows these companies to easily secure the payment processing options and business funding solutions they need.

Ultimately, the information this study provides will be very useful for e-cigarette users to understand the relationship between e-liquid type and symptoms experienced, as well as guide vendors in choosing appropriate recipes of e-liquid. In the future, these findings can also help policy makers as they work to develop new regulations for the industry and to protect e-cigarette users.

Author Bio: Electronic payments expert Blair Thomas co-founded eMerchantBroker, serving both traditional and high-risk merchants. His passions include producing music and traveling.