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E-cig vapor contains 99% less carcinogenic that smoking, say scientists

Posted by Matt Rowland on

A recent vaping study reveals that the vapor from e-cigs contains 99 percent less cancer-causing chemicals than the smoke from tobacco cigarettes.  The study led by author Dr. William E Stephens of the University of St Andrews in the UK also compared the carcinogen levels of vaping and smoking to those of Heat-not-Burn (HnB) technology.

HnB technology is often lumped into the same category as vaping, partly because the two types of devices look very much alike.  In reality, HnB devices “heat” real tobacco leaves rather than burning then, while vaping involves e-liquids that are 100 percent tobacco-free.  Scientists have known for years that the burning of tobacco is what leads to the ingestion of deadly tar and carcinogens.  So, the vaping community strives very hard to separate itself from the heat-not-burners.  The UK study provides relevant research regarding the distinct differences in carcinogenic levels.

Overview of the University of St Andrews e-cig study

The research paper entitled Comparing the cancer potencies of emissions from vapourised nicotine products including e-cigarettes with those of tobacco smoke can be located on the BMJ Tobacco Control website.  The research team evaluated the carcinogenic levels of 30 liters of e-cig vapor compared to the volume of smoke produced from 15 cigarettes per day.

Related Article:  NEW STUDY SHOWS NO NEGATIVE HEALTH IMPACTS AFTER 3.5 YEARS OF VAPING

Meanwhile, the scientists performed the same testing procedures on a comparative volume of smoke produced from HnB technology.  After calculating the potential lifetime cancer risks associated with each method, they determined that e-cig vapor is approximately 99 percent less carcinogenic than cigarette smoke.  HnB smoke fell somewhere in between. 

“The aerosols form a spectrum of cancer potencies spanning five orders of magnitude from uncontaminated air to tobacco smoke. E-cigarette emissions span most of this range with the preponderance of products having potencies<1% of tobacco smoke and falling within two orders of magnitude of a medicinal nicotine inhaler; however, a small minority have much higher potencies. These high-risk results tend to be associated with high levels of carbonyls generated when excessive power is delivered to the atomiser coil.”
“Samples of a prototype heat-not-burn device have lower cancer potencies than tobacco smoke by at least one order of magnitude, but higher potencies than most e-cigarettes.”

The research team also notes that the related carcinogenic levels will vary greatly depending on the type of vaping device, the daily vaping habits of the vaper, and the brand and recipe of e-liquid being vaped.  Another contributing fact may be the coil temperatures at which the user is vaping.

Multiple authors of previous vaping research have been criticized for failing to make this distinction.   Others have even been accused of intentionally spiking the temperatures of vaping devices used during experimentation processes to manipulate the associated carcinogenic levels to near astronomic proportions.  The University of St Andrews study makes clear that vaping and HnB temperatures matter, but when used properly, vaping has the carcinogenic potencies of only one-percent of cigarette smoke.

Related Article:  NEW STUDY SHOWS VAPING HAS NO AFFECT ON 'RESPIRATORY TOXICITY' OF THE LUNGS


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