Monday, January 28, 2013

New nicotine product shows ANTZ e-cigarette "hazards" hypocrisy

There are a few countries that have issued warnings or even banned electronic cigarettes for having potential public health hazards in the ingredients. Many use specific reasons as to why e-cigarettes pose such a risk:

Health Canada issued a warning about e-cigarettes stating that the device "delivers a liquid chemical mixture that may be composed of various amounts of nicotine, propylene glycol, and other chemicals. Nicotine is a highly addictive and toxic substance, and the inhalation of propylene glycol is a known irritant."

In the UK, reports state that health minsters claim  there is "evidence that certain types of ‘e-cigs’ have high levels of poisonous chemicals. These include ‘tobacco-specific nitrosamines’ - a substance given off by nicotine - which has been shown to cause cancer in rats. Certain brands have also been found to contain Diethylene glycol, a poisonous chemical which is fatal in exceptionally high doses."

Meanwhile, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration tells consumers not to purchase the devices online, because they "may be dangerous, delivering unreliable doses of nicotine (above or below the stated quantity), or containing toxic chemicals or carcinogens, or leaking nicotine. Leaked nicotine is a poisoning hazard for the user of electronic cigarettes, as well as others around them, particularly children."

Why specifically mention policies and statements from these particular countries? Because, while all three have banned, blocked or opposed the sale of e-cigarettes, they have subsequently approved sales of a nicotine product from Johnson & Johnson called "Nicorette QuickMist."

QuickMist is billed as a fine mouth spray that "can help to relieve your nicotine cravings wherever and whenever they strike - whether you’re at home, in the office, out with friends or just walking down the street." The ingredients in the product are listed as: Propylene glycol, Ethanol, Trometamol, Poloxamer 407, Glycerol, Sodium hydrogen carbonate, Levomenthol, Mint flavour, Cooling flavour, Sucralose Acesulfame potassium, Hydrochloric acid, Purified water and of course, Nicotine. The product directions instruct users to "prime the pump" by pointing the spray "safely away from you and any other adults, children or pets that are near you" and pressing the top "until a fine spray appears."

QuickMist users spray the room before spraying their mouth.
Here we have a product which is delivering irregular sprays of highly addictive and poisonous nicotine; which likely contains the same tobacco-specific nitrosamines (cancer-causing agents) found in other NRT products. It also contains toxic chemicals such as one that is used as automobile fuel, which the Australian government considers "harmful by ingestion, inhalation or by skin absorption" and fatal in exceptionally high doses; and it contains a highly corrosive, industrial acid that is used in manufacturing rubber products and to remove rust from steel. Prolonged oral exposure may cause corrosion of the mucous membranes, esophagus, and stomach and dermal contact may produce severe burns, ulceration, and scarring in humans. Even low concentrations of this chemical may also cause dental erosion.

Of course, QuickMist also contains propylene glycol, a known irritant found in e-cigarette liquids which, when sprayed into the mouth, could also get into the eyes, nose and lungs which can (according to the ANTZ) cause "acute respiratory irritation." There is also an ingredient known to increase cholesterol levels 10-fold in mice. High cholesterol has been linked to increased risk of heart disease. This product is not only a potential health hazard to the user, but also poses a poisoning risk to children and exposes bystanders to highly addictive, poisonous and toxic ingredients as the user "primes" the spray when circumventing smoking bans "in the office, out with friends or just walking down the street." Watching the instruction video, the nicotine solution is clearly shown to be building up around the nozzle, leaking nicotine and creating a poisoning hazard for the user, as well as others around them, particularly children.

OK, see what I did there? Rampant speculation and deliberate misrepresentation of the facts.

Regardless, Canada, Australia and the UK are fine with smokers and bystanders being exposed to all of those poisonous, toxic, carcinogenic and addictive chemicals in a Big Pharma spray but e-cigarettes are still considered a public health risk?

Nope. No hypocrisy here.


  1. Sickening. All of the other alternatives that were given by tobacco and pharma have been a flop for me. The ecig is clearly the number 1 choice for tobacco harm reduction and we have tobacco and pharma lieing through their teeth and putting their own spin on the subject so they can keep their crappy, outdated methods alive. Boo!

  2. Not only that, but there's clearly 2nd hand exposure since you have to spray it into the room.

  3. Adopting a product like that vs e cigs shows clearly how ignorant the agencies put in place to protect public health are, and the bias toward anything promoted and produced by BT or BP.

    These so called guardians of the public health should be tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail.

    Why am I not surprised this is a Johnson 8 Johnson product.

  4. Are we all writing to our elected officials, making phone calls, before the FDA moves in April? We need to, it's our only hope, otherwise, big money (pharma or tobacco) wins, without a fight.

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. I can picture sitting in a theatre watching a film, and the person next to me takes out their quickmist, misjudging where the spray nozzle is located, and dousing my eyes in cooling flavor and various other chemicals. It is annoying that products like this that have such dangerous potential are seemingly given carte blanche, while electronic cigarettes continue to be vilified. All the more reason to continue the advocacy of e cigs.

  6. Dear Kristin,

    Firstly I would just like to say, this was so well written. You wrote what I have been thinking for over 3 years now. Every time I go into my local Coles or Woolworths I make sure to take a look down the Quit Smoking isle. I remember being disgusted that a 7 day program, 1 patch a day would cost me $31.49. Currently if you live in NSW you can import up to 300ml of eliquid for personal use, which would cost you $63 minus the postage costs. The thing is, this amount of eliquid would last my parents more than 2 years and a heavy vapor about 6months.

    Picture taken from my iPhone in Coles about a year ago

    The law in this country has to change. I haven’t looked into this, but how do they warehouse their products? To be able to supply eliquid in Australia you currently can’t warehouse it in Australia because it’s classified as a class 9 poison. How do they get around this? How is that any different from eliquid?

    I want so badly to bring my business to Australia, but instead I am forced into outsourcing my storage, packaging and shipping. Although my shipping and packaging is amazing it still comes from China, and the shipping prices can never be lower than local postage. All I really want is to bring my business to Australia and have total control over how my package is sent within Australia. I want to be that business that sends out a personalized free battery or even add my business card or promotion card to an order.

    Wouldn’t a local e-cigarette shop be amazing? Head down town and pick up some eliquid and grab a coffee. It’s currently impossible for this to happen in Australia, and this needs to change. People have a right, and it’s not being served.

    Kind Regards,
    Eliquid Addiction

  7. Excellent job Kristen. Keep writing like this and the FDA may wish to employ you to work for the other side.

  8. I think I will stick with the four ingredients in my E Cig. I would not want to be anywhere near someone that uses that chemical cocktail.

  9. Ethanol and Hydrochloric acid are in the quickmist? Ethanol is a poison that isn't required, probably only used for diluting and the acid, well who knows, probably to give your mouth a tingle. One thing going for it, you could use it as a mace sprayed into the eyes of an attacker as a by product.

  10. There are so many countries who issued that E-cigarette the reason of health.I am thinking wine are also harmful then why they are not preventing and liquid chemical that may be composed of various amounts of nicotine,you have no proof for that so how you thinking like that I cant understand your views.

  11. Yes, Quickmist and other NRT's completely shows up their lies about toxic ingredients and carcinogens in ecigs.

    But their justification for allowing Quickmist is that it doesn't 'renormalise' smoking, but medicalises the dirty habit (takes all the fun out of it). And Quickmist is less likely to be attractive to young people. Although I've heard stories about kids using NRT products to help them study, the same way they use caffeine products.

    What they really object to with ecigs is that smokers are getting away with continuing to enjoy their nasty pleasure without the negative health effects. We get our cake and can eat it too....and it drives them crazy! They've spent decades on a successful campaign to vilify smoking, and therefore smokers, and now we've found a loophole that threatens to completely show up their true grubby motivations and they are scrambling, using any dodgy tactic at hand to regain some ground.

    It must infuriate them that we've managed to wiggle out of their vice-like head lock and then do a little victory dance just out of their reach, pumping our middle fingers at them.

    That's what this whole thing is about; the authoritarians against the libertarians. The wowsers against the rousers.


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