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Research shows e-cig vapor is 85% times less toxic than cigarette smoke

Many smokers are under the mistaken impression that vaping is just as deadly as smoking, but new research suggests that e-cig vapor is about 85 percent less toxic than second-hand cigarette smoke.  This latest study only confirms previous research conducted by public health officials in the UK.  According to the report released by Public Health England in 2015, e-cigarettes are around 95 percent less harmful than combustible tobacco. 

The latest study entitled Comparison of select analytes in aerosol from e-cigarettes with smoke from conventional cigarettes and with ambient air is co-authored by scientists Rana Tayyarah and Gerald Long.  Strangely, these two scientists are employed by Big Tobacco, specifically Lorillard Tobacco Company in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Yes, even Big Tobacco seems to be admitting openly that their combustible cigarettes are dangerously toxic.

Overview of the Lorillard vaping study

The new research is published on the Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology website.  The scientists began by conducting air sampling tests involving three different brands of Blu e-cigs and two different models of SkyCigs.  Similar tests were run on the second-hand smoke of Lambert & Butler and Marlboro Gold combustibles.  Meanwhile, all results were also compared to the toxicity levels commonly found in normal, everyday, “ambient” air.  The different toxicities measured and compared include the following.

  • Trace metals including
    • Aluminum
    • Arsenic
    • Cadmium
    • Copper
    • Iron
    • Manganese
    • Nickel
    • Lead
    • Zinc
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  • Tobacco-specific nitrosamines
  • Polyaromatic hydrocarbons
  • Polyaromatic amines
  • Carbonyls
  • Phenolics
  • Carbon monoxide

What the Lorillard team discovered is that all measurable levels of the associated toxins were dramatically higher in the second-hand cigarette smoke compared to the vapor of all five brands of e-cigs.  In fact, it took some 99 puffs of a Blu e-cig to produce any detectable levels of toxicities in most cases.  Meanwhile, a single 30.6 mg puff of a combustible cigarette immediately scored off the charts.

“The aerosol collected mass (ACM) of the e-cigarette samples was similar in composition to the e-liquids. Aerosol nicotine for the e-cigarette samples was 85% lower than nicotine yield for the conventional cigarettes. Analysis of the smoke from conventional cigarettes showed that the mainstream cigarette smoke delivered approximately 1500 times more harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) tested when compared to e-cigarette aerosol or to puffing room air.“

So, what types of measurable substances did the e-cig vapor contain?  According to the findings, only small traces of nicotine, water, flavorings, and propylene glycol (a common and safe ingredient of e-liquids) were even detectable. 

For those who might still be unconvinced of the study’s validity, the Lorillard findings are further confirmed by a January 2017 study conducted by Dr. Dominic Palazzolo of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee.  His research entitled Trace Metals Derived from Electronic Cigarette (ECIG) Generated Aerosol: Potential Problem of ECIG Devices That Contain Nickel is published on the Frontiers in Physiology website and confirms that the trace metals and other toxins of second-hand vapor are “negligible.”

Related Article: Dr. Dominic Palazzolo: Metallic content of e-cig vapor is ‘negligible’

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