Recently, the Food and Drug Administration conducted an electronic cigarette review to test the safety of these popular electrical devices. According to the agency, the results of its examination revealed some troubling issues; and it has issued a report warning consumers about the potential health risks associated with the products.

What is an e-cigarette?

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices designed to provide users with nicotine and flavor by converting the drug into an inhalable vapor. Most of these devices are designed to resemble traditional cigarettes; however, some may look like other products, such as USB memory devices or pens.

The FDA's electronic cigarette review

According to the FDA, because e-cigarettes are not regulated, they are not subject to any sort of product standards, which means there is no way for consumers to know if a particular device contains additional, potentially harmful chemicals. In one e-cigarette study, the FDA detected diethylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze; and in other studies, the agency says it found several different types of other carcinogenic chemicals.

The FDA warns consumers

Recently, the FDA lost a court case (Sottera, Inc. v. Food & Drug Administration) that would have allowed it to regulate these electronic nicotine-delivery devices; however, the agency has since issued warning letters to several manufacturers threatening additional future legal action.

In the meantime, the FDA has coupled its electronic cigarette review with additional warnings to consumers regarding potential side effects associated with the products. According to the agency, because it has seen no clinical efficacy and safety studies; it cannot promise consumers that e-cigarettes are safe or that any one particular brand will not contain potentially toxic chemicals. Additionally, because there are no product standards in place, consumers have no way of knowing how much nicotine any one e-cigarette actually contains.

Ultimately, the FDA says it plans to fight for the right to regulate e-cigarettes, and it urges consumers to avoid the products until it is able to ensure that they are safe. Before you purchase one of these devices, you should know that it may be manufactured in other countries by entities that are not subject to any sort of regulation.

If you are interested in quitting smoking, you'd be well-advised to choose FDA-approved products. For more on the FDA's e-cigarette review, watch the following video issued by the federal agency: