The study held by researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, suggests electronic cigarettes might possess carcinogenic chemicals, which are harmful to users. Controversy over the study has emerged.

Electronic cigarettes have gained high acceptance among the smoking enthusiasts, in fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) informs that the use of the devices has spiked in the last few years.

A new study suggests that electronic cigarettes might possess carcinogenic chemicals that are harmful to users. Photo credit: Snopes
A new study suggests that electronic cigarettes might possess carcinogenic chemicals that are harmful to users. Photo credit: Snopes

According to the CDC, in 2013 only an 8.5 percentage of American adults used the devices, yet in 2014, almost 13 percent of U.S adults smoked using e-cigarettes.  Thanks to the strong marketing of the safer-smoking-devices.

Nowadays vaping is allowed almost everywhere since it was thought it did not pose a threat or discomfort as regular cigars do, and also, e-cigarettes were known for having healthier and less-threatening chemicals than nicotine.

The study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, claims that the chemical substances that emerge from e-cigarettes contained cancer-threatening chemicals, so the FDA and producers advise controlling the devices.

Harmful vaping

The research team, lead by Hugo Destaillats and Mohamad Sleiman from the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, discovered vaping devices were more or less dangerous depending on its conditions.

The primary instrument of the study was a vaping simulator used by researchers along with two different types of e-cigarettes including an affordable device and a more expensive device.  The devices were tested at various battery stages.

While the vaping simulator worked on the e-cigarettes, researchers analyzed the chemical components of the vapor, discovering 31 harmful chemicals. Before the study was made, none of the chemicals have been found on any vaping device.

According to researchers of the 31 harmful chemicals, at least two of them can be life-threatening or cancer-related. Yet the emission of the compounds depended on the temperature the devices were heated.

Electronic cigarettes contain “heating coils” which are in charge of handling the temperature of the device. The affordable types of e-cigarettes contain only one heating coil. Meanwhile, expensive devices contain two, so the temperature can be more balanced.

Researchers found that the chemicals appeared depending on the temperature of the device, controlled by the heating coils. When higher the temperature, more chemicals emerged, when lower fewer chemicals appeared.

According to the study, the device with only one heating coil emitted around 0-46 micrograms per puff of acrolein, a harmful chemical for the lungs. This happened when the device was starting to heat up.After the device was sufficiently warm, the emission spiked to 8.7 micrograms per inhalation.

The usage of the device also affected the chemical emission, after several uses the chemicals were released more fluently. Some of which included acetaldehyde, acrolein, and formaldehyde.

With the study researchers aimed to conscientize vapers and legal regulations of the devices, hoping regulations start treating e-cigarettes as a separate device than regular smokes.

Criticism of the study has emerged, several e-cigarette experts are claiming the study was unfounded and the conditions in which the devices were tested, were unreal.

On the other hand, the FDA might be aiming to create a campaign so e-cigarettes are prohibited as they can cause severe damages to the human health.

Source: The Verge