Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

Electronic cigarettes go up in deep smoke

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Health Ministry suspends the sale of electronic cigarettes, which were imported into the country under the definition of pesticide. Experts dismiss claims that it is a ‘harmless’ way to quit smoking, arguing that it is just as addictive and harmful as regular cigarettes

ISTANBUL – Turkish Daily News

A sales suspension imposed on electronic cigarettes and its cartridges by the Health Ministry due to the high risk of addiction they pose and the possibility of them hampering with efforts to quit smoking has spurred huge debate.

Serious question marks are being raised about the popular anti-smoking device and why it has taken so long for the ministry to intervene.
Health Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Turan Buzgan, speaking at a press conference Tuesday, said the ministry had found that there were certain problems linked to the import of the electronic cigarettes. “They are imported as insecticide even though they need to enter the country as anti-smoking drugs, or if they are medical tools then under the supervision of the Health Ministry. There was a procedural discrepancy which we warned authorities about,” Buzgan said.

Electronic cigarettes, which first entered the Turkish market a year and a half ago, sell for between YTL 200 and 500, with replacement cartridges costing YTL 30-40.

Buzgan said the decision to suspend the sale of electronic cigarettes should not be seen as a step toward banning them, and added, “these products should abide by Health Ministry standards. They should be inspected and the necessary regulations will be passed. There is no ban on the sale or the import of these products.”

He said the nicotine content of the product had to be at an acceptable level, or else it could become an addictive substance.


Industry Minister Zafer Çağlayan, in a written statement regarding the suspension, said the product was currently being inspected and if there was a procedural deficiency, the product, which is sold both in pharmacies and other shops, may be confiscated nationwide.

He said investigation on the claims of deceiving consumers through electronic cigarettes will be assessed at the Advertising Council meeting
Jan. 15.

Causes cardiac disease and high blood pressure:

Health Ministry Drugs and Pharmacy Director Mahmut Tokaç said the electronic cigarettes could cause cardiac disease and high blood pressure due to its high nicotine content, just like regular cigarettes.

Tokaç said the product didn’t have any tar so may not be cancerous, but was just as harmful as regular cigarettes when it came to other diseases, the Anatolia news agency reported.

He said the advertisement that said electronic cigarettes were harmless is false, and added, “nicotine dosages in cartridges used in the cigarettes vary, but it is impossible to accurately adjust the dosage. There is nicotine in this product and it is seriously harmful to health.”

He said one firm had applied to them to get their approval but their application was rejected prior to sending a letter to the Industry Ministry
asking for a ban on the product.

Emphasizing that nicotine is the most dangerous element among 4,800 poisonous chemicals in cigarettes, the vice president of the Foundation Combating Smoking, Kıyas Güngör, argued nothing that contains nicotine can help people quit smoking. “Quitting smoking is possible only if one can stay away from nicotine, but these electronic cigarettes increase addiction,” he said, and added that he supports the Health Ministry’s sales suspension on these cigarettes.

“Apart from the other effects, electronic cigarettes that are used unconsciously is harmful for both the smoker and the people around,” said
Cerrahpaşa Medical Faculty, Pulmonary Diseases professor Ahmet Rasim Küçükusta.

He said the cigarettes contain nicotine, which is indeed a chemical used as an insecticide.

People who are impressed with electronic cigarette advertisements that introduce these cigarettes as “harmless” and smoke it are deceived; moreover they might suffer seriously, according to Küçükusta.

The professor said those who had quit smoking in the past could also be deceived into smoking once again by using electronic cigarettes.

Ankara University Public Health Department Professor, Recep Akdur, said the electronic cigarettes are being presented as a tool for giving up smoking but this claim has not been proved yet. “Presenting the e-cigarettes as a tool of quitting smoking is misleading and unethical,” he said.

Suspension welcomed:

National Tobacco Control Program Coordinator Professor Nazmi Bilir from Hacettepe University welcomed the suspension, noting that addiction to tobacco had two aspects. The addiction to nicotine and the behavioral addiction. “Use of electronic cigarettes entails both these addictions. The smoker both gets the nicotine and also lights and smokes a cigarette.”

He said electronic cigarettes were not an advancement in combating smoking but just the opposite.

Ruyan: There must be imitations:

One producer, Hong-Kong based Ruyan’s Turkey representative, Selahattin Aygüler, released a statement soon after the suspension saying his firm was the creator and sole licensed seller of electronic cigarettes, arguing that their success rate in getting customers to quit stood at 77 percent.

He said that the new suspension must have been aimed at stopping the sale of imitation products, which the firm itself had lodged complaints about.

“No such decision has been communicated to us. Electronic cigarettes are based on World Health Organization (WHO) approved nicotine treatment methods,” he said.

Aygüler said their electronic cigarettes locked themselves once the user puffed on it 16 times in a row. “Ruyan cartridges were tested and approved by Eskişehir Anatolia University. We are establishing an electronic cigarette cartridge factory in Turkey. This will earn Turkey $100 million.

Countries like Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, which have stringent controls, have told us they would like to purchase these products from us.”

Not so successful:

Writer Hayri Cem is one of those who tried to quit smoking using electronic cigarettes, but he was better at quitting electronic cigarettes than he was with regular cigarettes.

“I smoked electronic cigarettes for a week. It doesn’t make you feel like you are smoking, neither does it stop you from getting the urge to smoke,” Cem said.

He also noted that advertisements promoting the harmlessness of electronic cigarettes made him smoke even more of them. “There is no way that it can help quit smoking. You don’t get the sense of joy you get from smoking normal cigarettes either,” he added.

Electronic cigarette:

It is rod slightly longer than an ordinary cigarette, with a mouthpiece that contains a replaceable cartridge filled with liquid.

The liquid contains nicotine and propylene glycol. When air flows through the device, a microprocessor activates an atomizer, which injects tiny droplets of the liquid into the flowing air. This produces a vapor mist that is inhaled by the user. The addition of propylene glycol to the liquid makes the mist better resemble regular cigarette smoke. It not only simulates cigarette smoke but also the temperature of common cigarette’s smoke (50-60 degrees Celsius).

The units use a rechargeable battery as a power source. Energy produced by the battery is enough to heat the nicotine inside and produce smoke like regular cigarettes do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>