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60-Second Tech

Hacked E-Cigs May Get around Regulations

Some users are modifying electronic cigarettes to produce stronger flavors, more impressive vapor clouds and to deliver even more nicotine. Larry Greenemeier reports

 

O brave new world, that has electronic cigarettes in it.
 
Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it wants to regulate electronic cigarettes. The agency has even promised to shell out $270 million to 48 research projects for study of the health risks of “vaping.”
 
But this effort to get ahead of a possible public health problem might be pointless. Because even if we learned the risks of tobacco-less e-cigs, some users are modifying these devices to produce stronger flavors, more impressive vapor clouds and to deliver even more nicotine.
 
Virginia Commonwealth University is using part of their $18.1-million share of the FDA’s money to study this e-cigarette hacking. Of particular concern are modifications that make these devices burn hotter and supposedly produce a larger vapor cloud when exhaled.
 
E-cigarette fans proudly point out that these devices produce water vapor rather than smoke. Scientists, however, want to know what may be carried along with the water vapor—especially when vaping liquids are superheated, possibly emitting formaldehyde and other toxic components. Why, it’s enough to make you question one company’s choice of renowned vaccine expert Jenny McCarthy to be their e-cigarette celebrity pitchwoman.
 
—Larry Greenemeier
 
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]
 

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