Science and Health

E-Cigarettes May Produce Toxins After All

Two new studies suggest some e-cigarette devices may generate the same deadly toxins as regular cigarettes.

E-Cigarettes May Produce Toxins After All
Wikimedia Commons / Michael Dorausch

It's supposed to be why E-cigarettes are so safe – no light, no smoke, and, therefore, no second-hand smoke. But new research is calling that into question.

The studies, soon to be published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, suggest more powerful e-cigarettes – known as "tank systems" – can burn so hot they may release the same deadly toxins as regular cigarettes. (Via CNN)

These tank systems look a lot like traditional smokes – often about the size of your pinky. But when they get lit up, they might also get dangerous.

These studies found that the intense heat at which tank systems burn combines with the ingredients in an e-cigarette, like liquid nicotine, to form potentially harmful vapors. The New York Times points to carcinogens – like formaldehyde – that become a problem for second-hand inhalers. (Via NBC)

An assistant professor of oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute says tank system users "want more nicotine, but the problem is they're also getting more toxicants." (Via Flickr / Lauri Rantala)

It's worth noting The New York Times says there's still no hard link between nicotine vapor and cancer or heart disease. But Boston University researchers say they may be on the verge of finding one.

Last month, their findings published in the journal Nature showed "striking similarities" in human cells exposed to both electronic and ordinary cigarette fumes.

That study's lead author says the electronic alternative: “may be safer [than tobacco], but our preliminary studies suggest that they may not be benign.” (Via Flickr / Michael Dorausch)

The new study comes on the heels of the FDA's new proposed regulations on e-cigarettes.

The new rules would prohibit sales to minors and require any new e-cigarette devices to carry warning labels, though advertising will be left untouched. (Via  WCBS)

It's still unclear if any of this will have an effect on the e-cigarette industry as a whole, which continues to boom.

A recent survey in England found in the past two years the number of e-cig users has tripled — up from 700,000 to more than 2 million people. (Via Action on Smoking and Health)