Researchers find toxins in e-cigarette vapor

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Electronic cigarettes don’t produce smoke; they produce vapor by heating a liquid. But is that safer than smoke? Scientists at Roswell Park tested e-cigarettes to find out.

E-cigarettes are supposed to satisfy the craving for nicotine without the tars and other products of combustion in a real cigarette.

Dr. Maciej Goniewicz said, “We thought from the very beginning it might be a very promising device that will help save lives of smokers.”

Dr. Goniewicz and his colleagues at Roswell Park studied the vapors produced by e-cigarettes. Newer models allow the amount of vapor to be regulated.

“One of the ways to enhance the nicotine delivery is just to increase the temperature, increase the vaporization process, so more vapor is generated from the device and more vapor can be inhaled,” Dr. Goniewicz explained.

Vapor production by a very sophisticated model can be regulated using an iPhone. At the highest setting, the user gets as much nicotine as a real cigarette produces. But what about other chemicals? Formaldehyde and acetaldehyde are two of the carcinogens in cigarette smoke. They are also in the vapors.

Dr. Goniewicz said, “When we started with the low voltage, there were only traces, very small amounts. But when we increased the voltage to the high level, we found significant levels of toxicants.”

Researchers say there was much formaldehyde as in a real cigarette.

“The temperature inside is increased, more vapor is generated, but unfortunately more toxins are generated,” said Dr. Goniewicz.

E-cigarettes aren’t as dangerous as real cigarettes, but they’re not harmless either. The scientists at Roswell Park are looking into the potential effects of second-hand vapors on people who don’t use e-cigarettes themselves, and they’re looking for users and non-users who want to be in the study.