Study Proves That All E-Cigarettes Are Dangerous

By McCarton Ackerman 08/08/16

The study's findings punctuate the FDA's decision to begin regulating e-cigarettes and other smoking-related products.

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Study Proves That All E-Cigarettes Are Dangerous

A new study has shown that there’s no such thing as a “safe” e-cigarette, confirming that literally all of them emit harmful chemicals.

The findings, published in late July in Environmental Science & Technology, showed that the level of dangerous chemicals emitted from e-cigs depends on factors including temperature, the type of device and its age. Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California also found in their lab tests that the level of harmful chemicals consumed increase between the first few puffs and subsequent ones as the device gets hotter.

"Advocates of e-cigarettes say emissions are much lower than from conventional cigarettes, so you're better off using e-cigarettes. But the problem is, it doesn’t mean that they’re healthy,” said study corresponding author Hugo Destaillats in a news release. "Regular cigarettes are super unhealthy. E-cigarettes are just unhealthy.” 

The scientists also found that heat-related breakdowns of solvents found in most e-cig liquids, glycerin and propylene glycol, causes the emission of toxic chemicals including formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. Destaillats said this finding was especially noteworthy because "if you want to manufacture a less harmful e-cigarette, you have to understand what the main sources of these carcinogens are.”

Their research comes on the heels of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration beginning to regulate e-cigarettes on Monday, August 8. The federal agency will also begin regulating other smoking-related products including cigars, pipe tobacco, nicotine gels and hookahs.

A separate study published this past January also showed that those who are using e-cigarettes in the hopes of quitting conventional ones are in for a rude awakening. The findings, published in the journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine, showed that vaping has no positive impact on quitting tobacco cigarettes. Ironically, the study concluded that e-cigarettes might even have the opposite intended effect.

"While there is no question that a puff on an e-cigarette is less dangerous than a puff on a conventional cigarette, the most dangerous thing about e-cigarettes is that they keep people smoking conventional cigarettes,” said study co-author Stanton Glantz. 

That same month, a survey of high school students found that those who used e-cigs were more likely to try conventional cigarettes the following year. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, also showed that white students were more likely to use e-cigs compared to native Hawaiians.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

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