Most of the electronic cigarettes (eCigs) in the market today are manufactured in China. While the Food and Drug Administration proposed regulations in 2014 that would require all makers of eCig products to provide details of the manufacturing process, at present, the manufacturing process operates with little oversight.
Advertisements by eCig manufacturers show rows of sterile benches with people in masks and gloves working on the devices. The advertisements focus on the cleanliness of the assembly line and is meant to reassure eCig businesses as well as a concerned public about the safety and sterility of the products.
Despite claims from eCig brands and manufacturers about stringent manufacturing guidelines being followed, scientific studies have hinted at poor manufacturing methods. A recent scientific study found the presence of metal and silicate particles in eCig aerosol. The authors reported that some of the heavier metallic particles in the aerosol were from the “solder-joints” of the eCig. 1 News articles have reported on eCigs catching fire because of faulty wiring. 2
Following concerns over the manufacture of these devices in China, some of the leading eCig brands have moved their production to the United States. Last year, Mistic and White Cloud shifted their productions back home. Among the leading tobacco manufacturers, Reynolds America, which manufacturers Vuse, is the only company to have a manufacturing unit in the US. Other tobacco company branded eCigs including Lorillard’s Blu, and Altria’s Mark Ten manufacture the device in China and assemble the produce here in the US.
1. Williams M., Villarreal A., Bozhilov K., Lin S., Talbot P. Metal and silicate particles including nanoparticles are present in electronic cigarette cartomizer fluid and aerosol. PLoS ONE 2013; 8: e57987.
2. NY Times. China’s e-Cigarette boom lacks oversight. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/14/business/international/chinas-e-cigarette-boom-lacks-oversight-for-safety-.html.