Kicking the Habit… Electronically?

January 10th, 2011 | Author: Ifdy Perez

Electronic cigarettes (or e-cigarettes) have created quite the stir in the market; its popularity has skyrocketed meanwhile the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the manufacturers engage in a heated discussion about their regulation.

In September of last year, the FDA announced its intention to regulate the sale of e-cigarettes stating that it’s a “medical delivery device” that needs

Photo by AMagill

more clinical trials to confirm its safety and receive FDA approval. Under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, medical delivery devices require clinical testing for FDA approval of the product. The FDA’s concern stems from the actions of some e-cigarette manufacturers; according to the FDA website some products labeled as not containing nicotine indeed do. They also feel that further testing will determine if in fact the e-cigarette helps in smoking cessation, as some of the companies claim.

Just last week, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the FDA doesn’t have the authority to regulate e-cigarettes as medical delivery devices. Instead, the Court stated that the FDA can regulate e-cigarettes as a tobacco product.

Several organizations have opinioned in the process, including the Legacy Foundation, which suggests that e-cigs should be taken off the market until further studies confirm they’re safe . Legacy issued a statement saying they were “disappointed” in the court’s decision.

According to Dr. Byron Thomashow, Medical Director at the Center for Chest Disease at the New York Presbyterian Hospital and chairman of the COPD Foundation, most e-cigarettes still use nicotine (which is addictive) and the manufacturers apparently have repeatedly refused to undergo clinical trials suggested by both the FDA and World Health Organization.

The FDA is currently evaluating its next steps.

For quick reference, visit the Legacy Foundation’s fact sheet on e-cigarettes.


  1. ib42 says:

    I can’t be sure if it’s the ecig that makes me feel so congested cough a lot.
    I have emphysema from 50 yrs. of heavy smoking cigarettes. Since my last exacerbation three months ago ( 9 days in hospital) I have not recovered well, and feel more breathless each day. It would be very hard to give up the ecig which I have been using for about a year. Tried lower nicotine, but stuck on 18 mg.
    No ‘real’ cigarettes for three years. I used lozenges for two years but hated them, then found the electronic cigarette. Wish I knew why I feel so ill. Is it the disease or the ecig, or both?

    • michelle morris says:

      Can anyone tell me why I get buzzing and ringing in my ears and head after puffing on an ecig? It lasts for ages and doesnt go off.
      I gave up smoking for 10 months last year with patches etc but started again in Jan 2013, I was ok for 3 months then couldnt breathe properly, went to the docs and she sent me for a lung x ray and put me on Serevent, Atrovent and my old faithfull Ventolin which I have been using for about 10 years. The only time I am ok now is when I take steroids for a week. I was so healthy for the 10 months I gave up smoking and used to run/walk every day for about 4 miles, now I cant walk 4 metres without getting out of breath. Would I have still gotten like this regardless of starting to smoke again, eventually ?? I ask myself.Any advice would be good advice and I know I have to give up smoking but at the moment it is the only thing that seems to get me “working” in the morning after taking my inhalers. I have tried to find a blog like this in UK but cant seem to find one. I am still waiting for my results to come back for my lung x ray and have that appointment on the 12th June, but doctor seemed to think it was COPD anyway. I had never really done any research into it until she mentioned it and now I really wish I had never started smoking again as I now feel so ill, but any advice on the e cig would be good, I have tried all varieties PG and VG and they all give me buzzing. I feel really down at the mo as I am quite a young 56 year old but now feel like a 70 year old.

      • Katelyn Turner says:

        Hi Michelle,

        I’m not really sure. I could suggest you call our C.O.P.D. Information Line and talk to a trained Associate about it. They might be able to help you. 866-316-2673. Thanks for stopping by our blog!

  2. Mary Rodgers says:

    I too was a smoker for over 40 yrs. no matter what I tried I couldn’t quit. Two yrs ago my daughter bought me an E-cig. Haven’t had a cigarette since. I can’t stand the smell of cigarettes!!!I have cut doen on the nicotine that goes into the E-cig. Went from 18 mg. to less than 1 mg now. It is almost strictly out of habit now that I use it. But everything is easier now…breathing, I don’t cough, sinuses have cleared up.

  3. David Walls says:

    I believe that all the negative comments are from people who depend on the tobacco industry for their living. I smoked for 52 years. I had tried everything to quit. Patches were a n expensive joke. As a last resort I tried an ecig 1 month ago and haven’t felt the need for another cigarette. The fact that my former 2 packs a day or $350. a month is now about 1/10 that is a bonus. Suffering from COPD for the last 3 years and on advair going into coughing fits and coughing up 2-3 OZ. of phlem everyday has improved 100% I no longer need the advair, (theres no difference when I use it) so I stopped using it, saving me another $250. a month. Nicotine is not bad for you, and if anyone thinks inhaling a little vapor is, then stay away from a steam iron, and MAKE sure you don’t get close to the second hand steam endured by laundry workers. You negative bloggers are an uninformed joke.

  4. Steve says:

    Thanks for this information. I need help. I have severe COPD, emphysema, and asthma. I have 47% lung function and I’m on oxygen supposedly 24/7. I’ve tried everything that I know to try to quit smoking except the e-cigarettes. I’m allergic to Chantix, I have dentures so gum is out, the lozenges make me sick to my stomach. I cannot go to pulmonary rehab (because I still smoke). I’ve tried cold turkey and was ready to commit suicide because of the depression I was going through. Maybe the e-cigarettes will do the trick. I so need to quit! Any help would be appreciated.

    • Katelyn Harding says:

      Hi Steve–Glad you’ve found our blog. I would suggest you give our C.O.P.D. Information Line a call, and talk to them. All the Associates who work on the Line have COPD, so they can talk to you from their own experiences. They are open 9AM to 9PM EST, Monday through Friday, and can be reached at 866-316-2673. Give them a call!

    • David Walls says:

      Steve My lung function was 42% I praised the ecig on the blog

  5. Judy says:

    Thank for for the phone number. I’m worried what they will tell me.

  6. Judy says:

    I need help please. I have tried using an e-Cigarette, I have COPD, but not breathless, but everytime I try to draw on it, even with 0 nicotene, I cough and gag, bring up phlegm. I do not do this with cigarettes. I read that one should not use an e-cigarette with COPD…not good to inhale more into the lungs. I used an e-cigarette a yr. ago, coughed, but later in the day would be better. My Dr. says okay to use. Thank you!

    • Katelyn Harding says:

      Hi Judy,

      You should give our C.O.P.D. Information Line a call at 866-316-2673 and tell them what you’re experiencing!

  7. Bonnie says:

    I was a smoker for 30 years, have COPD/Emphysema. I started using an e-cig 5 months ago and don’t see the need to ever go back to tobacco. I had tried every product that claims to help you quit but none helped. The fact that you can still hold a cig, drag on it and feel that throat hit is what keeps me using them. My pulmonary doctor is the one that suggested them to me. I’m stage 4 and if i didn’t do something i wouldn’t be here much longer. I still need oxygen all the time, but i hope that gets better with time. Eventually, i will not use the e-cig anymore and hope to be nicotene free, but for now this is much better than the real thing!

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  9. js513 says:

    What is addictive in cigarettes is the nicotine. What an e-cigarette does is give that nicotine “fix” without all the other harmful additives found in regular cigarettes. Nor are you inhaling smoke, but rather what is produced is a vapor.

    I was a smoker, have asthma and COPD. I had a relapse and started smoking again. Felt horrible, of course, and this is when I discovered an e-cig. By using those I was able to quit smoking regular cigarettes again and even stopped the e-cigarettes, too. In turn, I felt better and of course, my breathing improved greatly. What I now do is keep one on hand just in case I get that urge to have a cigarette again. I figure a few puffs on an electronic cigarette at that time will be much better for me than a pack of cigarettes!

    • Katelyn Harding says:

      Hello there–Glad you stopped by! And thank you for posting about e-cigarettes–it’s interesting to get the perspective from someone who uses them!

  10. Petra says:

    yes that is true, which is why I have stayed with the nicotine gum all these years. Otherwise, my brain goes foggy. Nicotine keeps me alert so the electronic cigarette will too. However, I would not want anyone to see me with one and think I am dumb enough to smoke!!! I would only use it in the privacy of my home

  11. Pamela says:

    yeah, but the nicotine keeps you wanting more and that is so hard. Yes its the tar that causes the damage but the nicotine keeps you not getting away from it. Nicotine is like a narcotic.

  12. Petra says:

    It’s not the nicotine that causes cancer, it’s the tar, and other toxins in the smoke, so what’s all the fuss about. Some of us have been chewing nicotine gum for years to stay off cigarettes. Yes, nicotine is addictive, but it does not cause aberrant behavior. There is no “secondhand” tobacco smoke with the electronic cigarettes.

    • Pam DeNardo says:

      the last time I saw someone smoking an E cigarette I saw a lot of smoke – are they inhaling that. Doesn’t work out to my way of thinking. If all you need is the nicotine use the gum and if used correctly you might be able to quit completely. Take it from someone who knows how hard it was to quit.

      • Connie says:

        I have been a smoker for 33 years..and I have COPD. And my Doctor thought the e-cig. was a great alternative to real cigarettes.
        E-Cigarettes do not emit smoke, its vapor. You would need to actually smell it to know the difference.
        So what if e-cigs have nicotine. yes its addicting? Its a lot better for you than the real cigarette.
        All that said, I do think a study should be done so “we” smokers (e-cig. or the real thing) know and can decide for ourselves what is best for us…
        .. Yes I still consider my-self a smoker..

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