There have been numerous studies release that already confirm the reality that e-cigarette vapor is much safer than cigarette smoke. A new study, however, is going even further, proving that the vapor in e-cigarette contains nearly the same level of potentially problematic substance as in the ambient air that most of us breathe already every day when we step outside.
Critics of e-cigarettes continue to claim that we do not know enough about what is in e-cigarette vapor. And while everyone agrees we do need more studies and research, the proof is mounting toward the side of e-cigarettes and their true ability to offer smokers with a safer alternative to obtain their nicotine.
The new study, published in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology looks at several leading American and British brands of e-cigarettes to show that levels of potentially problematic substances in e-cigarette aerosol are in reality about the same as what is detected in ambient air.
The analysis the researchers picked three flavors of Blu eCigs, which account for about 50 percent of the U.S. market, and two flavors of SKYCIGS, which represent around 30 percent of the e-cigarettes sold in the U.K. They compared the output of these products with different air samples as well as with the smoke generated by several brands of traditional cigarettes. Below are the published results:
Analysis of the smoke from conventional cigarettes showed that the mainstream cigarette smoke delivered approximately 1500 times more harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) tested when compared to e-cigarette aerosol or to puffing room air. The deliveries of HPHCs tested for these e-cigarette products were similar to the study air blanks rather than to deliveries from conventional cigarettes; no significant contribution of cigarette smoke HPHCs from any of the compound classes tested was found for the e-cigarettes. Thus, the results of this study support previous researchers’ discussion of e-cigarette products’ potential for reduced exposure compared to cigarette smoke.
The researchers measured eight kinds of HPHCs: carbon monoxide, carbonyls, phenolics, volatiles, metals, tobacco-specific nitrosamines, polyaromatic amines, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons. The combined weight of all these HPHC found in the e-cigarette vapor was less than 0.17 milligram. That’s almost the same as the total amount of HPHCs (0.16 milligram) found in the same amount of ambient air. Cigarettes, on the other hand produce a whopping 30.6 milligrams of HPHCs—180 times as much as the e-cigarettes tested. The highest level of HPHC was found in Marlboro Gold brand cigarettes which generated 3,357 nanograms of HPHCs or about 2,000 times as much as the Blu e-cigarette.
Looking at these numbers, it makes it hard to see why anyone would want to deny the safety of e-cigarettes in comparison to cigarettes, when in reality the vapor produces about as much harmful by-products as what is in the air we breathe every day. Now that’s not to say that e-cigarette vapor is totally as safe as air, truly we are still are learning about the effects, but it just does say a lot about the validity of the scare tactics that the opponents of e-cigarettes seem to be wielding at every turn.
In fact, it makes it hard to take anything the critics say seriously. Take for example Mark Leno. He’s a California legislator who predicts that “we’re going to see hundreds of thousands of family members and friends die from e-cigarette use, just like we did from traditional tobacco use.” That kind of thinking looks pretty ridiculous next to the facts, when likely breathing the air in rush hour traffic has far more harmful results than it appears e-cigarettes could ever have. Truly the critics are having less and less to go on these days.
Recently the critics were up in arms over a study that claimed formaldehyde was found in e-cigarette vapor. This is just one example of how the media spins things out of control. While the study did detect formaldehyde in e-cigarette vapor, it was produced at such a high temperature that no one would ever be able to actually enjoy vaping it. Many experts immediately came out to discredit the study. However, the critics were still about to skew these findings to scare people away from vaping, for whatever their own selfish reasons.
And while this new study presents some pretty compelling findings, the truth is this is not the first time experts and analysts have been able to confirm the lack of harmful constituents in e-cigarette vapor. For example a 2013 study reported in Tobacco Control, looked at about a dozen e-cigarette brands available finding that “the levels of potentially toxic compounds in e-cigarette vapour are 9–450-fold lower than those in the smoke from conventional cigarettes, and in many cases comparable with the trace amounts present in pharmaceutical preparations [of nicotine].”
In another study published in 2014 in the British Journal of Medical Practice researchers from University College London acknowledged the use of electronic cigarettes as replacements for traditional combustible cigarettes, and theorized about the potential benefit for the public health community. The researchers found that “the vapor contains nothing like the concentrations of carcinogens and toxins as cigarette smoke. In fact, toxin concentrations are almost all well below 1/20th that of cigarette smoke.”
With the new findings comparing the safety levels of e-cigarettes with actual, breathable air perhaps now we can begin to move away from e-cigarette being compared so freely with their combustible counterparts. The truth is e-cigarettes and cigarettes have only about two things in common: the nicotine and the name. It’s time for e-cigarettes to be judged on their own accord, rather than just another dangerous cigarette product.