The U.S. Air Force Surgeon General put out a warning on August 25th, 2010 to all of the USAF personnel about potential dangers of electronic cigarettes. The General also passed a ban on the use of e cigs anywhere that traditional smoking is banned in Department of Air Force controlled commands and installations.
The current Surgeon General of the U.S. Air Force is Lt. General Charles Green. He passed a memorandum to U.S. Air Force personnel stating the service’s new stance on electronic cigarettes. Specifically, he sited the single case of testing of a Chinese produced electronic cigarette as containing traces of diethylene glycol which is used in anti-freeze as the reason for his warning. Pundits speculate that an outright ban was avoided due to the lack of a comprehensive FDA study on the overall safety of electronic cigarettes despite many major industry leaders such as GreenSmoke and Johnson Creek E liquid manufacturing paying for and providing private test results to the public.
General Green also stated that a concern of his was that the e cig cartridges could be used to deliver less-than legal nicotine-based substances to service members and was a concern of his moving forward. Specific side effects referenced by the Air Force that the FDA states are potential side effects of electronic cigarettes are: dizziness, mouth ulcers, heartburn, coughing, sore throat, slurred speech, and diarrhea. These effects were stated without substantial proof or testing to backup the side effect allegations.
For active duty fans of the electronic cigarettes, the news could have been worse. E Cigs had a chance to be banned by the Air Force, but were not. It will be interesting to see where the FDA and the U.S. Government go with e cigs over the next year!