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New study shows trace metals in e-cig vapor no different that ambient air

Posted by Matt Rowland on

Scientists at William Carey University (WCU) in Hattiesburg, MS and Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) in Harrogate, TN are finally putting most of those ugly rumors to rest about e-cig vapor being filled with multiple trace metals.  After months of dedicated research, these scientists have successfully determined that, while e-cig vapor does indeed contain miniscule amounts of trace metals, it contains no more metal than that found in run-of-the-mill ambient air.

Tobacco cigarettes, on the other hand, are enormously metallic and toxic. 

The researchers also admit that e-cig vapor contains higher levels of nicotine than in conventional atmospheric air, but this is not necessarily a cause for panic.  Nicotine addiction is not altogether unhealthy.  Although, they also admit that nicotine can be responsible for many people’s allergies.  Meanwhile, it’s the tar, chemical additives, and increased levels of trace metals found in conventional cigarette smoke that can really kill you.

Trace metals ruling is not consistent across the board

The study published on the Frontiers in Physiology website highlights another interesting point.  The scientists make definitively clear that the vaping device itself can significantly change the levels of trace metals found in the related vapor, although still not to such a degree that the vapor becomes as toxic and metallic as tobacco smoke.  The material of the vaping unit’s individual components, like the heating coil and the cartomizer, can come into play.

(Related Article:  Meet MOVE: Medical Organizations supporting Vaping and Electronic cigarettes)

The heating temperature of the vapor is another issue.  Vapor from e-cigs is usually heated at around 350 degrees Celsius while the smoke from combustible cigarettes is generated at a much higher temperature of 800 degrees Celsius.

And don’t forget cigarette filters.  Some cigarettes have them, others don’t, and those that do have varying levels of filtering effectiveness.

What does all of this mean to the average vaper?   While the research results of this latest scientific study are highly technical and somewhat difficult to understand without a Doctorate in Chemistry or Physiology, the main point that these scientists are making is that e-cig vapor contains about the same level of trace metals as standard, room-temperature air.

Beware of intentionally misleading e-cig research

So, what are vapers to believe when agencies like the CDC and the FDA publish data that completely disagrees with the findings illustrated in this WCU/LMU study and others like it?  Perhaps we need to read the fine print. 

  • What type of coils did they use?
  • What temperatures did they heat the vaping e-juice?
  • What brand of cigarettes were used in the comparison?
  • Which type of wicking materials were used in the filtration systems of the e-cigs?
  • And so on.

(Related Article:  South Africa’s Dr. Kgosi Letlape confirms vaping is healthier than smoking)

Even though there can always be variations in the measurable scientific results due to different vaping devices, coils, tanks, temperatures, and filters, the basic argument still holds true.  According to scientists of these two American universities, vaping is not smoking, and vaping is nearly as safe as breathing normal, everyday air – when the devices are used properly.

What the vaping community should really be worry about is:  Why doesn’t the FDA and the CDC conduct their vaping research in the same manner as these wonderful scientists from WCU and LMU?  And why does the FDA and the CDC intentionally mislead the general public into thinking that the mere presence of trace metals is a bad thing.  What’s truly important is that e-cig vapor is far less metallic than the smoke from conventional cigarettes.  Period.

(Related Article:  New Study by University College London: E-cigs lower cancer-causing toxins)


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The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent the viewpoints, policy or company position of Vapes.com, the rest of our staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.



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