Lifewatch: E-Cigarettes

Reported by Claire Hosmann - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

(WECT) - While Lindsay Lohan seems to be a magnet for controversy, now her father, Michael, is getting some attention.

The actress' dad is promoting a so-called "healthy cigarette," but the government says the marketing of this product is illegal.

"This is an e-cigarette an electronic cigarettes," said Lohan.  "It's basically a healthy way of smoking."

The e-cigarette looks real, but is charged by batteries.  It has liquid nicotine inside, but no tobacco or tar.

"If you want the taste of nicotine to satisfy that craving but you don't want the harmful elements of smoking, then this is the way to go," said Lohan.

You inhale the e-cigarette like a regular one, and a computer chip inside warms the nicotine that is stored in a plastic filter.

The combination of heat and liquid creates the vapor or smoke puff when you exhale.  The e-cigarette is supposed to be odorless.

Michael is a spokesperson and investor for the company that makes the e-cigarette.

"I was formally a smoker and since I picked these up there is no reason to smoke non whatsoever," said Lohan.

Dr. Edward Eden, chief of pulmonary care at Saint Luke's Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan, says that while a smoker is not getting the cancer causing agents of a real cigarette, the nicotine in the e-cigarettes is still very addictive.

"Here in this situation you are probably getting more nicotine than you would be getting in a cigarette simply because filter cigarettes tend to dilute the nicotine that is being inhaled and in this one you get the pure effects," said Dr. Eden.

The FDA has launched an investigation saying e-cigarettes are drugs and it is illegal to market them unless they have been approved, which then have not.

E-cigarettes are sold online and in kiosks in malls around the country.

The American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, and the American Cancer Society are calling for e-cigarettes to be pulled from the market until they are proven safe.