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Scientific Evidence in Support of Electronic Cigarette Technology

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As time goes by, more and more studies are being done by more than a few pillars of the scientific community on the health effects of E-cigarettes. I would say “dangers” of E-cigarettes, but the results of these tests have unanimously determined that there are no dangers to speak of when one is in fact speaking of electronic cigarettes and the vapor they produce. The studies that have been completed thus far consist of the following data groups: short and long term exposure to E-cigarette vapor, toxicity levels of inhaled vaporized nicotine/propylene glycol/vegetable glycerine, levels of secondhand exposure to E-cig vapor, and presences of dangerous/carcinogenic chemicals in E-cig vapor. As stated above, the results of these controlled, scientific analyses and tests (even those done by objective, third-party organizations) are all highly in favor of electronic cigarettes being highly effective at delivering a safe, harmless, and danger-free tobacco-replacement experience.

One study done by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131212141948.htm) concluded that although E-cigarettes do emit a substantial amount of nicotine, depending of course on the nicotine content of the E-liquid being used in the E-cig liquid, they did not emit any carbon monoxide or any other toxic organic or inorganic compounds. They also went on to explain that the nicotine emissions were nowhere near as high as those produced by analog/tobacco cigarettes. This cancer institute freely admit in the results that the secondhand exposure to nicotine from E-cigarette vapor is ten times less than from tobacco smoke.

Another study published at http://ntr.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/12/10/ntr.ntt203.abstract (That’s Oxford, in case you missed it!) concentrated the efforts of their research on the measurement of secondhand exposure of nicotine, volatile organic compounds, and aerosol particles. And the results were just as one might expect from reading the results of all the other studies done on this topic; there were no aerosol particles or organic compounds to speak of, and the amount of nicotine present in the air was between 0.82 and 6.23 μg (micrograms) per cubic meter. The variation is based on the various nicotine contents in electronic cigarette E-liquid. The study then goes on to determine that this number is roughly ten times (10X!!!) less than the content of nicotine found in secondhand smoke from combustible tobacco cigarettes.

The E-smoking Institute published probably the best visual representation of these results I’ve seen to date at http://en.esmokinginstitute.com/node/31. It’s worth clicking on the link just to see it for yourself. The measurement of carbonyl compounds was measured in an amount of vapor equivalent to about 30 inhalations. The numbers of isovaleric aldehyde (I don’t know what that is, but it sounds malicious), acrolein, and acetone (thought that was in paint…) were so substantially lower than those found in traditional cigarettes, that they barely even register on the bar graphs used to illustrate the findings. The same is true of acetaldehyde (again, that the hell is that?!) and formaldehyde (I’ve heard of that one before!). However, benzoladehyde, and (are you ready for this mouthful?) P-methylbenzaldehyde were both present in concentrations higher than those found in cigarette smoke. That particular result sounds more formidable than it actually is. If I told you that the presence of almond and cherry flavors were higher in E-cig vapor than in tobacco smoke, doubtless you wouldn’t think twice about it. Those last two intimidating chemical compounds are those most commonly used to convey the above-mentioned flavors in the culinary science of artificial flavoring. Lastly, this published study also relayed the finding that nicotine is found to be about ten times more present in tobacco smoke than in E-cigarette vapor. (I’m beginning to see a pattern developing here.)

Lastly, a comprehensive study, “Peering through the mist: What does the chemistry of contaminants in electronic cigarettes tell us about health risks?, ” published by Igor Burstyn, PhD (who has done substantial research on electronic cigarettes) went into seemingly endless detail into the specifics of his findings. All of their numbers are compared to TLVs, or Threshold Limit Values. TLVs are generally recognized safe-exposure amounts for each of the various chemical compounds measured. Unfortunately, the results are too verbose and lengthy to include here, and a brief summary of them would only serve to reiterate what has already been stated. For most, it will be enough to know that such a comprehensive study exists and has come to essentially the same conclusions as all of the other studies done on electronic cigarettes. The complete study can be read in PDF format here: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=14&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CLkBEBYwDQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fpublichealth.drexel.edu%2F~%2Fmedia%2Ffiles%2Fpublichealth%2Fms08.pdf&ei=BhJbU-meOpSksQTh8YDoBA&usg=AFQjCNFzS783QIKaOtOiF9p63cnJfFxlQA&sig2=a29qI8yaGt_9y0FgiIdLcw

In conclusion, we are coming to a point where it is getting increasingly more ridiculous for any of the anti-vaping organizations to claim that there haven’t been and “serious” studies on the topic of E-cigarette health effects. Googling the topic now results in as many pro-vaping search results as anti-vaping or fear-mongering results, at least it did at the time of my writing this article. This time last year, it was difficult to sift through all of the fear-based publish-or-die news articles in order to find the few decent websites on the subject. However, there’s still a lot of disinformation floating around out there about E-cigarettes. It’s important to point out that this disinformation relies heavily on promoting uncertainty and delivering scare tactics, sometimes to the point of downright deception. If an article includes any scientific evidence at all, even the most vehemently anti-vaping sources will be forced to admit that the levels of all dangerous and/or questionable chemical compounds are significantly lower in E-cigarettes than in their analog equivalents. If you are an E-cigarette user and you would like to see this life-saving, award-worthy technology protected into the foreseeable future, it is imperative that we all do our part in spreading the word, reposting articles, educating friends and family, and letting our representatives in local, state, and federal governments know that we will in no way accept their killing of this important scientific advancement!

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