There has been a lot of media hype surrounding claims that ecigarettes can produce formaldehyde, a toxic chemical often associated with smoking. However, now a new study by Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos reveals that ecigs will only produce harmful levels of formaldehyde under “extreme conditions”.
Dr. Farsalinos set up his study to look at how ecigs would function in a “real world” conditions. He wasn’t interested in trying to generate formaldehyde in the lab so much as seeing what was inside vaper that everyday ecig users inhale. His findings were recently published in Addiction. Ultimately, Farsalinos discovered that while it was possible for variable voltage ecigs to produce high levels of carcinogens, it was in fact quite rare. In fact, it would only happen even on the high-powered devices if the user was “dry puffing” the ecig. If you have any experience with vaping, you know this is a terrible experience and you would never do it on purpose.
Farsalinos explained that vapers can avoid carcinogens by taking a few practical steps while using their ecigs. “Our results verify previous observations that it is possible for e-cigarettes to generate high levels of aldehydes; however, this is observed only under dry puff conditions, which deliver a strong unpleasant taste that vapers detect and avoid, by reducing power levels and puff duration or by increasing inter-puff interval.”
He also said that trace amounts of aldehydes could be released when smoking high powered ecigs, hose emissions are still much less than the carcinogens you find in cigarette smoke. The only way to inhale more formaldehyde than a standard cigarette would be to take repeated dry puffs. Farsalinos explains that ecig users will avoid this at all costs because it will “taste awful, can make you cough, and can also have the terrible side effect of leaving e-liquid in your mouth.”
Professor Peter Hajek, the director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Barts, pointed out that this new research shows a problem in a lot of studies we are hearing about lately. “These findings emphasize the importance of making clear the conditions in which tests of this kind are undertaken and avoiding sweeping assertions that can mislead the public.”
Hajek went on to reassure vapers that they can continue using ecigs without worry. “Vapers are not exposed to dangerous levels of aldehydes. My reading of the evidence is that e-cigarettes are at least 95 percent safer than smoking. Smokers should be encouraged to switch to vaping.”
The next time you hear someone claiming that ecigs produce carcinogens or formaldehyde, point them to this study. It’s important that was squash these rumors and faulty research methods before they do any more damage to the ecig industry in the future.