Are E-Cigarettes Safe? ‘Vaping’ Facts, Chemistry Compared To Cigarettes

news2The electronic cigarette, which aims to deliver nicotine without the harmful effects associated with tobacco, has become incredibly popular for smokers looking for a possibly healthy alternative to tobacco or who are trying to quit smoking. But the marketing around e-cigarettes provides few details regarding the safety of the product. The American Chemical Society has looked at recent studies regarding the healthfulness of “vaping.”

Recent research has found that e-cigarettes are healthier than tobacco products — they contain fewer carcinogens and other harmful products — but the studies noted that the science is in its infancy and little is known about the long-term effects of the product. In one study, researchers found small amounts of formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein and three other toxic compounds. The study also found metal particles — cadmium, nick and lead — in both e-cig vapor and cigarette smoke. Nicotine exposure also is a concern; the drug can be deposited on surfaces through e-cigarette vapor, according to the American Chemical Society.

“What will happen after many years of vaping? To see some of the long-term effects we just need time,” Maciej L. Goniewicz, a toxicologist at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and author of the harmful-compound study, told ACS.

Researchers say the marketing of e-cigarettes could lead to a false sense of security in users, much the way “light” cigarettes may be seen as safer despite higher levels of tar. “There’s a great deal of ambiguity about product content in the largely unregulated e-cigarette industry right now, and considerable debate over the safety, long-term risks, and effects of secondhand smoke exposure,” Greta Hsu, an associate professor at the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Davis, said in a statement. “At the same time, acceptance and popularity of e-cigarettes is rapidly growing, creating a market where consumers are vulnerable.”

The ACS’ “Are E-cigs Safer Than Cigarettes? — Reactions” video, looking at the chemistry and science of vaping, can be viewed below.

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