Some E-Cigarettes Contain 10 Times the Carcinogens as Regular Cigarettes

Monday, December 08, 2014
E-Cigarette (photo: Kenzo Tribouillard, AFP/Getty Images)

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.”

-Steve Straehley


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)


Kidbux 8 years ago
Good sharing, a recent study by researchers at Washington University in St Louis reveals that many parents who use electronic cigarettes (or e-cigs for short) are not aware of the dangers that they present for their children. The use of e-cigs in the US has increased dramatically in the last few years, as have the number of emergency calls to poison control centres around the country. For detail visit:
Nicki Lawrence 9 years ago
You need to remove this post and the one on your website please.  It isn't correct and will scare people back to smoking or prevent smokers switching to a 99% safer alternative.  A fault occurred during the trial, the scientist doesn't know why, it's an unpublished study, the media's reporting is nothing more than yet more propaganda and is being retracted.  Dr. Farsalinos, the world's foremost e-cigarette researcher contacted the researcher of the study:  Electronic Cigarettes contain 6 times LESS formaldehyde than tobacco smoking cigarettes. If you want to know about ecigs, please talk to Dr. Farsalinos, but I have also included a link below to many of the trusted studies from him and other ethical scientists worldwide. Media started retracting the completely misrepresented study the next day, for instance: Nicotine is not the highly addictive substance ("akin to heroin and cocaine") we've been led to believe, otherwise we would need to use the inpatient addiction clinics and newborns would need to be weaned off it.   It's just to sell patches and gums which don't work for 90-98.2% of smokers and so keeps the smoke/quit/smoke cycle going, together with even more lucrative smoking related diseases drugs when people become ill.   When the FDA allowed Big Pharma to change the labelling on NRTs to long term and concomitant use with other nicotine products, they found no cause for concerns for safety, dependence or abuse, so they know that outside of cigarette smoke, it's not addictive in the quantities vapers use, or at the most it's akin to coffee.  Both NRTs and ecigs contain the same pharmaceutical grade nicotine.  Tobacco companies add MAOIs to cigarettes to make them addictive.  Nicotine aids concentration, keeps you alert and eases stress.  It also has many health benefits and doctors using nicotine to treat patients for depression, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Schizophrenia and Ulcerative Colitis, etc., report that no patients become addicted.  By any other name it would be a supplement.    Chemical Dependency & Nicotine Will A Nicotine Patch Make You Smarter  The difference between NRT and Ecigs - ecigs contain 10 less ingredients: Ecigs work precisely because they simulate the deeply Ingrained behaviour.  Flavours are important because they distance us from the taste of tobacco, which then becomes repugnant and all desire for cigarettes is gone.  They are to reduce harm, not to attract children; just about the only ones using ecigs are already smokers.  The gateway theory has been debunked.  Smoking prevalence is falling because of ecigs, they've done more for smokers at no cost to the taxpayer than tobacco control has achieved in years, despite many $millions in funding and fat cat salaries.   No deaths, diseases or serious adverse events have been attributed to vaping in ten years on the market and it's important to put any tiny risks, if there are any at all, in context with smoking cigarettes. Varenicline/Champix/Chantix is dangerous - in the USA alone in five years: over 500 suicides, over 1,800 attempted suicides, over 10,000 serious adverse events, 2,700 lawsuits settled by Pfizer, over 18 only, black box warning .... now being tested on 12-19 year olds.  Do something about this please, these risks are not acceptable!!!  E-cigarette 'Smoking' Bans. On Snus. Please don't believe the propaganda and junk science directed by Big Pharma and Big Tobacco, their heavily invested wealthy shareholders and those with vested interests and conflicts of interest.   We  know that tobacco taxes and MSA payments will decline but, smokers finally have the first truly viable way of stopping or drastically reducing smoking via a 99%+ safer and pleasurable way to enjoy nicotine and its health benefits, at no risk at all to bystanders, so no need for indoor bans.  They don't risk renormalising smoking, there is no smoke - they denormalise smoking!  With support from government and public health, instead of unwarranted scaremongering, bans and sin taxes, uptake will be so much faster and smoking will reduce more rapidly.   The government has a duty to protect smokers and allow us wide access to these products so we can protect our own health. Ecigs are so successful, Big Tobacco were forced to jump on the bandwagon and bought up many companies marketing inferior 1st generation cigalikes  - the products widely available at point of sale in supermarkets and gas stations.  Small independents own the far superior 2nd and 3rd  generation devices and thanks to bricks and mortar vape shops opening, people usually quickly switch to the better devices.  The planned overregulation, based only on junk science, ideology, what ifs and support for big business, will destroy the preferred independent market.  These small business that have been great innovators can't afford the $millions needed and the very design of the devices can't comply.  The monopoly will be handed to Big T who we know, along with Pharma, are furiously lobbying against these devices.  It doesn't make sense, it's harmful to health and negligent to defacto ban products that are orders of magnitude safer when cigarettes are freely available.  The result will be another black market. E-cigarette Research Please would you pass on my comments to the relevant department working on the ecig debate, thanks - they need this information.
Bob 9 years ago
Dr. Farsalinos was the External Editor of this study. Here's his response to the sensationalized BS that mainstream media spewed. "After my comment, Prof Kunugita contacted me again. He mentioned that the newsmedia reports refer to a recent evaluation of a newer-generation device, in which he found 1600μg formaldehyde per 15 puffs. It is true that this level is 10 times higher than what is present in tobacco cigarettes. However, this is an unpublished result, a single extreme case out of the many products he tested, and we do not know what went wrong in that case (e.g. high power levels, low levels of liquid inside, malfunctioning device etc). Still, the media frenzy is completely inappropriate.
Greg 9 years ago

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