A study that was released this past summer by Professor Igor Burstyn, Drexel University School of Public Health, confirms that chemicals in electronic cigarettes don’t pose a health concern to users or bystanders. This is a milestone for the industry because it is the first study of the ingredients in e-cigarettes and the findings are that they don’t present any of the health concerns that are being spread by interest groups who are against the industry being accepted as a viable and safe substitute for traditional tobacco cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are devices that heat up liquid nicotine to create a vapor that can be inhaled to not only give a person the nicotine they desire, but also the feel and sense of smoking a cigarette. E-cigarettes are being used as a more effective and low-risk substitute for smoking by millions of former smokers. The popularity of e-cigarettes have lead to the substantial downtrend in smoking around the world. Experts have agreed that the risks posed by e-cigarettes are much less than those from smoking a tobacco cigarette, however, the extent of how much lower has been debated.
Dr. Burstyn was able to determine, after reviewing 9,000 observations about the chemistry of the vapor and the liquid in e-cigarettes, that the levels of contaminants e-cigarette users are exposed to are insignificant and far below levels that would be a health risk. The main reason for e-cigarettes being banned in places that ban cigarette smoking has been based on the thought that there was a potential risk to bystanders comparable to cigarettes. However, the study now shows they don’t have the same risks.
This study was the first to be funded by The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives (CASAA). CASAA is the leading consumer advocacy group promoting the availability and use of low-risk alternatives to smoking and is an all volunteer, donation funded organization. CASAA President Elaine Keller said, “Over the years, there have been a lot of small studies of e-cigarette liquid and vapor, but those studies were either ignored or misinterpreted. Past studies that showed even the slightest contamination were used for propaganda by those who object to e-cigarettes because they look like smoking. We realized that an expert review was needed to give an unbiased explanation of the available scientific evidence for our membership and they enthusiastically donated to make it possible.”
CASAA Scientific Director, Carl V. Phillips, stated the importance of the study by saying “It has always been clear that e-cigarettes were a much lower risk than smoking, but there was uncertainty about whether continuing to inhale a mix of chemicals posed a measurable risk. Even those of us who have long encouraged smokers to switch are a bit surprised that even the worst-case-scenario risks are so low. This study assures us that e-cigarettes are as low risk as other smoke-free tobacco and nicotine products, like smokeless tobacco and nicotine replacement therapy.
The study didn’t address the effects of nicotine on the users because e-cigarette users are consuming it intentionally. Nicotine has a very low risk when ingestion does not involve smoking. It has also never been proven to cause any disease. Although, same as caffeine and other common gratifications, there is the very small risk of heart attack and stroke which makes e-cigarettes not completely risk free of health concerns. But the risk is no different than drinking coffee or eating deserts.