With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life.

06 March 2014

Food Allergy Friendly Flavorings in e-cigs, hookah pens, vape pens?

image from http://www.hookahshisha.org/
Working with teenagers really permits a person the opportunity to stay somewhat aware of the latest trends. You may have heard of e-cigarettes, electronic nicotine delivery devices that some say are smoking cessation devices due to the lower amounts of nicotine they may contain. E-cigarettes were just the start of smokeless nicotine delivery devices. Now there are hookah pens and vape pens too, and none of these are regulated by FDA. There was an excellent article, E-cigarettes, by Other Names, Lure Young and Worry Experts, in the New York Times on March 4, 2014. The article contains some great information about these devices as well as photos. They look like attractive pens, and are being marketed to teenagers, even though it is not legal to sell them to teenagers.
As a parent, it's a little scary. These pens are extremely popular right now, and because some truly do not contain nicotine, many teenagers have the incorrect perception that hookah or vape pens don't contain nicotine. They seem to think that only the traditional looking e-cigarettes (if you can call them that) contain nicotine. Nicotine addiction aside, what happens if a teen with food allergies tries an e-cig, hookah pen or vape pen that contains a flavoring which has, as one of its ingredients, a food to which he/she is allergic? Since e-cigarettes are unregulated, allergen labeling is probably not very strong on e-cigarette refills. A quick search on Google brings up flavors such as banana nut, almond, coconut and hazelnut. Does that mean a hookah pen user is inhaling the flavors? That sounds like formula for disaster for some allergic individuals. It's a bit alarming on a bunch of levels.
What are your thoughts?

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