Study authors Jinsong Chen, Chris Bullen and Kim Dirks from the School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Science at the University of Auckland conducted the study with the aim of measuring the possible risks that e-cigarettes may pose, whilst comparing them with those posed by regular cigarettes.
“Although some studies have identified hazardous substances in electronic cigarette (EC) liquids and emissions, there is limited information about the health risks of using ECs.” explained the authors. In order to measure these risks, the researchers used the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) health risk assessment model, whilst toxicants listed in the literature review that are mostly associated with health problems, were measured.
E-cigs contain less toxins and at lower levels than cigarettes
In order to evaluate the findings, and measure the risks, dose-response relationships and standard-use conditions were used, whilst all figures were compared to the international guideline levels, relevant to each substance.
Four dangerous substances were reported in e-cigarette emission, (acrolein, diethylene glycol, propylene glycol and cadmium) and seven in combustible cigarettes (acetaldehyde, acrolein, formaldehyde, cadmium, CO, 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK), N’-nitrosonornicotine (NNN))
In line with what previous studies had found, combustible cigarettes were found to have higher emissions than the guideline levels. Additionally five hazards (acetaldehyde, acrolein, formaldehyde, cadmium, NNN) in conventional cigarettes presented average exposure levels, in comparison to two hazards (acrolein, e-cigapropylene glycol) in e-cigarette emissions.
Findings confirm that e-cigarettes are the safest option
“Our findings provide evidence that supports the Public Health England statement but was arrived at by applying a different methodology. Although we are aware that some smokers had been smoking for decades, the main purpose of this study is to explore whether they will be exposed to a lower risk of harm by changing to vaping. Hence, no matter how long a smoker had smoked, the probable benefits of changing his/her source of nicotine consumption from CCs to ECs for a year should be very similar. This study leads to two conclusions: that the use of ECs presents a lower risk to health than the use of CCs, and that ECs are likely to be of low health risk to the user.” concluded the authors.