WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- The surgeon general of the U.S. Air Force warns all personnel about the danger of e-cigarettes and that they are banned wherever smoking is banned.
Lt. Gen. Charles B. Green, surgeon general of the U.S. Air Force, says in a memo to all Air Force personnel that advertisements may claim electronic cigarettes are a healthier way to smoke, but a sample tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration contained diethylene glycol -- a toxic chemical used in anti-freeze.
Manufacturers offer cartridges with decreasing levels of nicotine with the idea that they can be used to help someone quit smoking, Green says.
"No studies have been done to demonstrate the safety or effectiveness of these products as tobacco cessation aids and they are not approved by the FDA as a drug delivery device," Green says in the memorandum.
"Commanders also need to be aware that the cartridges used in these devices are replaceable and could be used to discreetly deliver substances other than nicotine."
The FDA has warned e-cigarettes pose acute health risks and the devices also present a serious risk of addicting new users, including children.
E-cigarette users suffer from potentially serious symptoms including racing pulse, dizziness, slurred speech, mouth ulcers, heartburn, coughing, diarrhea and sore throat, the FDA says.