Carcinogens in Electronic Cigarettes

A recent study had discovered two new carcinogens in the vapor from electronic cigarettes that can cause cancer, propylene oxide, and glycidol. The level of harmful substances can vary among the devices.

The Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory made a simulation of vaping by using two different e-cigarettes and different battery power settings.

The vapor contained at least 31 harmful chemicals, out of which two could cause cancer.

Moreover, the temperature inside the coil influences the amount of substances released by the vaporizer.

The electronic cigarettes that had one coil were found to produce more chemicals than the ones with two coils, because the heat distributes differently.

“Advocates of e-cigarettes say emissions are much lower than from conventional cigarettes, so you’re better off using e-cigarettes. I would say, that may be true for certain users — for example, long time smokers that cannot quit — but the problem is, it doesn’t mean that they’re healthy. Regular cigarettes are super unhealthy. E-cigarettes are just unhealthy,” said study co-author Hugo Destaillats.

Other previous studies have shown that e-cigarettes can contain toxins.

FDA issued a warning in 2009 stating that some e-cigs can contain diethylene glycol, a poisonous compound that produced numerous epidemics, including the 1937 Massengill Incident in the US and a 2007 worldwide toothpaste incident.

Another study from 2015 showed that the aerosols in the vapor could contain formaldehyde, another carcinogen.

The research from the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory demonstrated that an electronic cigarette with one 3.8 volts coil emits 0.46 micrograms of acrolein for every puff in the first five puffs. When the heat got higher, the e-cigarette emitted 8.7 micrograms per puff.

However, the amount of acrolein is still below the level produced by a standard cigarette, which can emit up to 650 micrograms.  A vaporizer emits up to 100 micrograms in 20 puffs.

The chemical emissions changed based on the battery voltage, as a high voltage would mean strong chemicals. Moreover, the longer the e-cigarette was used, the higher the level of chemicals.

The substances included acrolein, acetaldehyde, and formaldehyde, which are either carcinogens or respiratory irritants.

E-cigs often use two other chemicals like solvents, propylene glycol, and glycerin, which are used to create the artificial smoke even though their effects on health remain unknown.

Propylene oxide and glycidol are however two chemical compounds that had been proven to be carcinogens, which had not been earlier reported in e-cigarettes.

In the US, the percentage of adults that smoke e-cigs rose from 3.3% in 2010 to 8.5% in 2013. Some experts say that the electronic cigarettes are a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes. However, there are not sufficient studies on the matter to validate this theory.

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