Friday, May 16, 2014

Oh, patents! Smokeless blucigs™

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

In France the verb “fumer” (to smoke) is being replaced with the verb “vapoter” (to vape) in reference to the use of smokeless electronic cigarettes.  And in this case, it follows that the French e-cig smoker becomes a “vapoteur” (+masculine) or “vapoteuse” (+feminine), whereas in English, that would perhaps be a “vaper” or an “e-cig” user.

E-Cigs, and blucigs™ in particular as an example of the marketed product, are electronic cigarettes, rechargeable and purported green, the same size as tobacco cigarettes. They are called “blu” because of their LED tip that lights up blue with every puff (or “vape”). The blucig™ contains a rechargeable battery for the LED light, a cartridge of “smoke juice” (that is a proprietary liquid concoction containing nicotine, but without the 7000 chemicals created when burning tobacco cigarettes such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, hydrogen cyanide and ammonia), a heating cell for the “smoke juice”, an atomizer that vaporizes the “smoke juice”, and a silicone tip designed to supply the “deeply satisfying resistance” of a puff (or “vape”)!  So, when you inhale or “vape”, the activated battery turns on the blue LED light and heats the “smoke juice”, which is then converted to vapor that is inhaled or “vaped”, providing users or “vapers” with an experience just like smoking a tobacco cigarette, without any of the burning and harmful “smoke”.

The blucig™ cigarette pack design is patented as design patent (USD700994), and the original vaporizing cigarette patent US3200819 titled: “Smokeless non-tobacco cigarette” was filed in 1965.  Interestingly enough,  the original smokeless cigarette invention was “ to provide a safe and harmless means for and method of smoking by replacing burning tobacco and paper with heated, moist, flavored air; or by inhaling warm medication into the lungs in case of a respiratory ailment under direction of a physician”. Thus, the smokeless cigarette was originally designed both as a medicine delivery system and a substitute to tobacco smoking. 

However, it was only at the beginning of the 21st century that electronic cigarettes were manufactured and brought to the market, via China, where they were patented alternatively as “electronic aerosol cigarettes(CA2647212 A1), electronic atomization cigarettes (CA2562581 A1) and later in the US as “electronic smoking-substitute devices(US20100031968 A1).

Now, if you intend to quit smoking on May 31 – World No tobacco Day, and have in mind that you might still puff vapor (or vape) on something like electronic cigs, in replacement of the 7000 (yes, seven thousand) chemical compounds created when puffing on a tobacco cigarette, 70 of which are known carcinogens according to the American Lung Association [ALA], you might want to hold off until you hear what the NIH (National Institute of Health) has to say about e-cigs, and exercise caution.

First, according to Kushner et. al (2011) electronic cigarettes are novel nicotine delivery systems, rather than nicotine replacement systems. They are termed ENDS (Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems) by the WHO (World Health Organization) and there is no data on the safety or efficacy of the “smoke juice” containing aromas and propylene glycol, or the vapors inhaled. Only those E-cigs marketed for therapeutic purposes can be regulated by the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). And because there is no data on such items as: potential risks when used as intended;  how much nicotine is being inhaled or other potentially hazardous chemicals; and whether there are associated benefits when using the products,  e-cigs are not approved as a smoking cessation device.

So, in the countdown to May 31, 2014 – World No Tobacco Day, you may want to be cautious about switching to e-cigs (blucigs™ , Premium™ vapes or any other e-cig brand), since the “smoke juice” that is vaporized and inhaled is a complex substance for which there is still no efficacy or safety profile. Indeed, e-cig ad messages display: Don’t quit. Switch., which at best appears to be defeating its own purpose..

On the other hand… there are BUY NOW! Premium™ vapes advertisements on the splash page of the FDA website..! [FDA(2)] So, go figure out the bottom line to the bottom line…!

FDA – Electronic cigarettes
Kushner, W. G., Reddy, S. and H.S. Paintal (2011) Electronic cigarettes and third hand tobacco smoke: two emerging health care challenges for the primary care practitioner. International Journal of General Medicine 4: 115-120.

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