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New vaping study: No trace metals found in e-cig vapor of ‘significant pathology’

There have been many terrific vaping studies published by European universities which offer proof positive that e-cig vapor is far less toxic than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would have us to believe.  However, agencies like the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tend to ignore these studies simply because they originate in a foreign land.   Now U.S. academia is joining the vaping vs. smoking debate in a significant way.

A team of American scientists led by Dr. Dominic L. Palazzolo, Professor of Physiology at Lincoln Memorial University, has recently published the results of a scientific study which addresses previous FDA claims that e-cig vapor is just as toxic as combustible cigarette smoke.  The study entitled, Trace Metals Derived from Electronic Cigarette (ECIG) Generated Aerosol: Potential Problem of ECIG Devices That Contain Nickel, is readily available for review via the Frontiers in Physiology website.


While the published paper is very lengthy and contains enormous quantiles of scientific jargon, the basis of the study involves the measurement for trace metals in the smoke produced from Marlboro cigarettes as compared to the vapor produced from a 7ml nicotine concentration e-liquid heated to a normal vaping temperature of below 350 degrees Celsius.  The trace metals on their radar included:

  • Aluminum (Al)
  • Arsenic (As)
  • Cadmium (Cd)
  • Copper (Cu)
  • Iron (Fe)
  • Manganese (Mn)
  • Nickel (Ni)
  • Lead (Pb)
  • Zinc (Zn)

After an extensive series of testing procedures involving a control group of volunteers, the team of scientists determined that the trace metal expenditures released through the vapor of e-cigs heated at normal temperatures is essentially non-existent.  At one point, they even equate the related levels to those found in ordinary air.  The core of the paper’s conclusions is summed up in its closing paragraph.

“In general, the findings of this study suggest that the concentrations of most trace metals extracted from cigarette smoke exceed the concentrations of trace metals extracted from ECIG-generated aerosol. While confident of these findings, it must be emphasized that these results are specific to the single ECIG device/E-liquid combination used. Nevertheless, a possibility for significant trace metal inhalation exists depending on the brand of ECIG device used. The present study illustrates this point. Given that Ni in the E-liquid is nearly undetectable, the source of Ni in the aerosol must be the ECIG device. From this study, it is unlikely that the ECIG-generated aerosol contains enough of the other trace metals to induce significant pathology.”

The co-authors also spend a considerable amount of time discussing the methodology behind some studies that make the direct opposite accusations regarding trace metals.  They note that by turning up the heating temperature of the vaping device to around 800 degrees Celsius, the levels of trace metal toxicity increase dramatically.

Is the FDA releasing intentionally inaccurate vaping studies?

But who would vape at such exceedingly high temperatures?  The dry hit would be excruciating, and the e-liquid would be terribly distasteful.  Yet Dr. Palazzolo and his team do admit that the possibilities of excessive toxicity exist, however unlikely.

So, the next time that you read a “vaping study” that says e-cig vapor is toxic, look at the fine print.  How high was the heat turned up on the vaping device?  Don’t let them pull the wool over your eyes with intentionally misleading information.


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