E-Cigarettes are marketed as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. However, is this claim true? New research suggests that electronic cigarettes’ vapor can contain a surprisingly high concentration of formaldehyde.
According to NPR, the latest research is shedding light on the safety concerns of e-cigarettes. David Peyton, a chemistry professor at Portland State University who helped conduct the research presented in the New England Journal of Medicine, notes that evidence suggests that e-cigs are “not completely safe.”
“I think this is just one more piece of evidence amid a number of pieces of evidence that e-cigarettes are not absolutely safe.”
In fact, the study found that electronic cigarette users were at an increased risk of cancer from Formaldehyde five to 15 times that of a traditional cigarette smoker. How is this possible with electronic cigarette manufacturers touting a safer smoking alternative? Researchers suggest that the increased cancer risk comes from the form of formaldehyde released in electronic cigarettes. The formaldehyde is found within the vapor droplets in a “masked” form instead of the traditional gaseous formaldehyde found in traditional cigarettes.
Peyton claims that the formaldehyde in the droplets could be more dangerous than gaseous formaldehyde as it is more easily deposited in the lungs and in higher concentrations.
“We found this form of formaldehyde at significantly higher concentrations than even regular cigarettes [contain] — between five[fold] and fifteenfold higher concentration of formaldehyde than in cigarettes. Long-term exposure is recognized as contributing to lung cancer. And so we would like to minimize contact (to the extent one can) especially to delicate tissues like the lungs.”
Peyton notes that when the formaldehyde is found within droplets it is more effectively dropped into the lungs so contact is more likely. The study was performed by simulating vaping. The researchers simply drew vapor from the e-cigarettes into a syringe that was used to simulate the lungs drawing in the vapor. The team then did a detailed analysis of the makeup of the vapor in the syringe. What they found was the startling high amount of formaldehyde in the vapor droplets.
“To our surprise, we found masked formaldehyde in the liquid droplet particles in the aerosol.”
Though the results are startling for electronic cigarette users, the e-cigarette manufacturers are not happy with the results. In fact, they claim the study is entirely flawed and does not represent electronic cigarette safety. Gregory Conley of the American Vaping Association told NPR that measurements were made under unrealistic conditions and that the researchers were obviously not consulting vapor users when conducting the research.
“They clearly did not talk to [people who use e-cigarettes] to understand this. They think, ‘Oh well. If we hit the button for so many seconds and that produces formaldehyde, then we have a new public health crisis to report.'”
Researchers did note that the high levels of formaldehyde were only present when the e-cigarette was used at high voltage. This isn’t the first study to question the safety of electronic cigarettes. In fact, the FDA has also released a warning about the potential health effects of vapor use. Doctors have also said that there is no evidence to support the claims that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes as the research doesn’t exist.
The Inquisitr previously reported on a recent study that showed that e-cigarette use can actually damage healthy cells.
What do you think? Do more studies need to be done to determine if e-cigarettes are as safe as manufacturers claim?