FDA probes electronic cigarettes

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by By JANET ST. JAMES / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on November 14, 2008 at 10:20 AM

Updated Monday, Oct 19 at 3:31 PM

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News 8 has confirmed that the Food and Drug Administration is investigating electronic cigarettes that look real and give smokers a hit of real nicotine.

There's no flame, no tar, and no tobacco in the stainless steel devices developed in China about four years ago - but these e-cigarettes come in flavors like cinnamon and mint that can appeal to younger users.

The FDA is not saying exactly what it's looking into at this point.

The agency already regulates other over-the-counter nicotine products, including patches and pills designed to help tobacco smokers kick the habit.

In September, the World Health Organization warned against claims that electronic cigarettes are a legitimate therapy for smokers trying to quit.

"WHO has no scientific evidence to confirm the product's safety and efficacy," said Dr Ala Alwan, Assistant Director-General of WHO's Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health Cluster. "Its marketers should immediately remove from their web sites and other informational materials any suggestion that WHO considers it to be a safe and effective smoking cessation aid."

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