‘E-cig team’ to target drug contamination

MORE THAN YOU BARGAINED FOR::Category 2 drug Methamphetamine was found in an e-cigarette bought from a Chinese Web site marketed as an aid to quit smoking

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Jan 20, 2014 - Page 3

An “electronic cigarette inspection team” is to target ports of entry, night markets and the Internet, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in response to police concerns and a media report of e-cigarettes laced with methamphetamine bought from a Chinese web site.

The Food and Drug Administration yesterday said that in Taiwan, e-cigarettes are pharmaceutical products that cannot be sold without registration of the product and are not permitted to be sold online in accordance with the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act (藥事法).

According to the Chinese-language United Daily News, police tested an e-cigarette being smoked in Taipei after being alerted to its smell and found that it contained methamphetamine, a Category 2 narcotic specified by the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例).

The man, surnamed Wen (溫), denied that he was knowingly using the drug and was quoted in the report as telling the police that he purchased the “green-apple-flavored” e-cigarettes on a Chinese shopping Web site earlier this month, because he wanted to kick his smoking habit.

He found his urge for cigarettes decreased, along with acquiring an increased alertness, after using the device for a week.

Wen said he was shocked by the test result and joked that he expected to quit smoking by using electronic cigarettes, not by using narcotics. He was nevertheless placed under investigation as a drug suspect.

Police were quoted in the news report as raising concerns about similar online purchases leading to addiction and drug abuse.

The FDA said that nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes are regulated as pharmaceutical products in accordance with the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act and are required to be registered and approved before being put on the market, or else be banned as counterfeit or prohibited drugs.

Making claims about the product’s effectiveness in quitting smoking, or even lessening people’s urge to smoke, is equally outlawed by the act, the administration added.