Some E-Cigarettes Contain 10 Times the Carcinogens as Regular Cigarettes
If you’re a smoker and are thinking of switching to e-cigarettes for health reasons, you might want to think again. Studies are showing that their vapor contains carcinogens as well.
A study conducted by Japan’s National Institute of Public Health showed that at least one unnamed e-cigarette brand contains 10 times the level of carcinogens found in a regular cigarette. The substances found in e-cigarette vapor include formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.
Two studies conducted in the United States came up with similar results. They focused on “tank” cigarettes, which contain batteries and are refillable. When the nicotine-laced liquid in the tank is heated to high temperatures, its chemical composition changes and produces the toxic substances. “This finding suggests that in certain conditions, [electronic cigarettes] might expose their users to the same or even higher levels of carcinogenic formaldehyde as tobacco smoke,” Maciej L. Goniewicz, an assistant professor of oncology at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo who conducted one of the studies, told The New York Times.
Tank cigarettes are one of the fastest growing segments of the smoking market, appealing particularly to young people who enjoy the customizable flavors and strength of that type of smoke. Tanks also enable “dripping,” or pouring the liquid directly on the heating element, which produces stronger vapor and even more cancer-causing chemicals.
The e-cigarettes designed to mimic regular cigarettes are said to produce fewer carcinogens, but are less popular with young smokers. “The ones shaped like a cigarette, that style doesn’t do it for them,” Chris Hayek, owner of San Diego’s Sky City Vapor, told the Times. “It’s not harsh, it doesn’t produce as much vapor.”
Whatever form they take, research appears to show that e-cigarettes are not the hazard-free alternative to regular smokes some thought them to be. “Technology is way ahead of the science,” Dr. Alan Shihadeh, a project director at the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center for the Study of Tobacco Products, who led the second study, said. “We’re creating this stuff, and we don’t understand the implications.”
To Learn More:
E-Cigs Pose Much Higher Cancer Risk Than Thought: Japanese Study (Agence France Presse-Jiji Press)
Some E-Cigarettes Deliver a Puff of Carcinogens (by Matt Richtel, New York Times)
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