Earlier this month, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center began a five-year study to examine the potential health risks associated with electronic cigarettes. E-cigs are battery-powered vaporizers that simulate smoking tobacco.
Proponents of e-cigs say they are safer than tobacco cigarettes, but critics argue that not enough is known about them and that they promote smoking. Sales of the non-traditional tobacco products are skyrocketing, with multiple formulas or “juices,” which contain nicotine, flavoring, and other substances. E-cigs are popular with teens and young adults.
A $2.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health is funding the work, which is being led by Thomas Mariani, association professor of pediatrics, medicine, and environmental medicine at URMC.
Mariani will look at the effects of e-cigs on humans and rodents, paying added attention to how the products impact newborns and children. The Food and Drug Administration will use the study’s results to develop regulations on e-cigs and similar products.