“Vape ‘em if you’ve got ‘em” doesn’t have quite the same ring as “smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em.” But with the increasing number of electronic cigarettes on the market, it might be catching on faster than a poorly rolled cigarette left too close to an open flame.
E-cigarettes are appealing because they deliver nicotine to the body without the exposure to the more than 7,000 compounds produced by a traditional cigarette. They heat liquids containing nicotine to generate an inhalable aerosol – hence the reason it’s often referred to as “vaping” rather than “smoking.”
But not much is known about these devices. Traditional tobacco products have been regulated by the U.S. FDA for a number of years, but e-cigarettes have not. A new FDA ruling now brings e-cigarettes and other products like hookahs and little cigars under these regulations.
That’s good news for consumers. Now they’ll have a much better understanding of the impacts of using these products and make decisions accordingly. But before manufacturers able to provide consumers with information about e-cigarettes, they first have to study them.
The Challenge Ahead
Manufacturers are no strangers to toxicology studies for traditional cigarettes, but testing these emerging products will require new methods. And to make things even more complicated, there are dozens of different e-cigarettes on the market with different shapes, delivery systems, heating mechanisms and formulations. Each of these variables, along with user behavior, can impact product performance.
Specialized aerosol-generation equipment and labs like those housed at Battelle will be needed to handle characterization studies for these products. And manufacturers will be in need of accelerated study timelines to meet the needs of the industry and consumer demand.
We’ve got a lot to learn about these new devices and how the regulations will impact manufacturers, consumers and the industry.