New data on safety of e-cigarettes

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There’s good news for vapers — for the most part.

Researchers led by Dr Maciej L Goniewicz of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., conducted a comprehensive analysis of the vapor from a dozen brands of electronic cigarettes under a controlled setting. They say that while e-cigarette vapors contained some toxic substances, the levels of toxicants were nine to 450 times lower than cigarette smoke.

“Our findings are consistent with the idea that substituting tobacco cigarettes with e-cigarettes may substantially reduce exposure to selected tobacco-specific toxicants,” the authors wrote in Tobacco Control. “E-cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy among smokers unwilling to quit, warrants further study.”
Boston University professor and ACSH friend Dr. Michael Siegel says “this study provides strong confirmation that electronic cigarettes are much safer than regular cigarettes,” but aren’t “safe in an absolute sense. It appears that the main risk associated with vaping is the potential inhalation of formaldehyde,” although he notes that the range of formaldehyde in e-cigarette vapor varied widely.

“There are some concerns about the long-term effects of vaping. Since these products have been widely used for only a few years, some concerns are warranted, but they’re not enough to strangle this harm reduction technology, as many in the ‘public health, anti-tobacco’ community would seem to prefer,” says ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross.

ACSH’s Cheryl Martin noted, “While long-term studies are needed, it seems clear to me that if smokers switch from tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes, their health — and public health —  will be significantly improved.”

ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom agrees. He says, “There are a number of excipients—common substances that are used to deliver drugs—that could be used in the case of e-cigarettes. Some may be better than others in terms of thermal stability, and possibly safety. But this is certainly something that can be addressed.”

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