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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(10), 1274;

Generally Recognized as Safe: Uncertainty Surrounding E-Cigarette Flavoring Safety

Department of Communication, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292, USA
American Heart Association Tobacco Regulation & Addiction Center, Dallas, TX 75231, USA
American Heart Association, Dallas, TX 75231, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 September 2017 / Revised: 17 October 2017 / Accepted: 21 October 2017 / Published: 23 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electronic Cigarette Use and Public Health)
Full-Text   |   PDF [243 KB, uploaded 23 October 2017]


Despite scientific uncertainty regarding the relative safety of inhaling e-cigarette aerosol and flavorings, some consumers regard the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) designation as evidence of flavoring safety. In this study, we assessed how college students’ perceptions of e-cigarette flavoring safety are related to understanding of the GRAS designation. During spring 2017, an online questionnaire was administered to college students. Chi-square p-values and multivariable logistic regression were employed to compare perceptions among participants considering e-cigarette flavorings as safe and those considering e-cigarette flavorings to be unsafe. The total sample size was 567 participants. Only 22% knew that GRAS designation meant that a product is safe to ingest, not inhale, inject, or use topically. Of participants who considered flavorings to be GRAS, the majority recognized that the designation meant a product is safe to ingest but also considered it safe to inhale. Although scientific uncertainty on the overall safety of flavorings in e-cigarettes remains, health messaging can educate the public about the GRAS designation and its irrelevance to e-cigarette safety. View Full-Text
Keywords: electronic cigarette; e-cigarette; e-cig; GRAS; vape electronic cigarette; e-cigarette; e-cig; GRAS; vape
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Sears, C.G.; Hart, J.L.; Walker, K.L.; Robertson, R.M. Generally Recognized as Safe: Uncertainty Surrounding E-Cigarette Flavoring Safety. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 1274.

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