Exposure to toxins in e-cig vapor varies depending on scenario

August 2, 2017
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

E-cigarettes are often perceived to be less harmful than their traditional counterparts, but they could still expose the people who "vape" and those around them to harmful compounds. Researchers now report in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology that heavy use and secondhand emissions could lead to inhaled levels of toxins that exceed set exposure limits. But under typical use, secondhand exposure would have a lower impact on health than second- and third-hand cigarette smoke.

While e-cigarettes don't produce tobacco smoke with its associated toxins, the vapors they generate contain other compounds that are potentially dangerous to human health. These include acrolein, a toxin and irritant to the eyes, skin and nasal passages; formaldehyde, which is recognized as a human carcinogen; and diacetyl, a substance that can cause respiratory problems. Hugo Destaillats and colleagues wanted to find out how much of these compounds users and others nearby might be inhaling.

Vapers' intake of was modeled for scenarios in which different e-liquids were used with various vaporizers, battery power settings and vaping regimes. The study predicted that heavy users inhaling at a high rate of 250 puffs per day with devices at 3.8 to 4.8 volts would potentially inhale levels of acrolein (up to 10 mg per day), formaldehyde (up to 49 mg per day) and diacetyl (up to 0.5 mg per day) that exceed U.S. occupational limits of 1.3 mg per day, 0.1 mg per day and 7 micograms per day, respectively. Also, a model of indoor exposure estimated that in bars where vaping is permitted, formaldehyde and acrolein levels would often exceed California reference . In comparison to secondhand and thirdhand , the researchers computed that "disability-adjusted life years" lost due to to secondhand vapor would be one to two orders of magnitude lower under typical vaping use.

Explore further: Study documents secondhand exposure to vapors from electronic cigarettes

More information: Emissions from Electronic Cigarettes: Assessing Vapers' Intake of Toxic Compounds, Secondhand Exposures, and the Associated Health Impacts, Environmental Science & Technology (2017). pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.7b00710

Related Stories

Study documents secondhand exposure to vapors from electronic cigarettes

December 13, 2013
Electronic cigarettes, when used indoors, may involuntarily expose non-users to nicotine, according to a study led by Maciej Goniewicz, PhD, PharmD, of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) and published by the journal Nicotine ...

1 in 4 teens exposed to secondhand E-cig vapors: report

March 20, 2017
(HealthDay)—One-quarter of U.S. middle and high school students say they've been exposed to potentially dangerous secondhand e-cigarette vapors, a federal government study shows.

The hidden chemicals in hookah tobacco smoke

July 18, 2017
Thanks to its sweet smell and taste, hookah has gained popularity in recent years, especially among teens and young adults. Hookah users inhale smoke, which is generated by heating hookah tobacco that is fermented with molasses ...

Vaping cannabis may expose users to carcinogenic compounds

June 12, 2017
New research shows that the agents commonly mixed with cannabis oil for vaping can also produce cancer-causing compounds when heated. The effect is similar to the potential health risks linked to cigarette smoke and agents ...

How safe is vaping?

July 7, 2017
On the heels of another damning statistic against tobacco—it kills more than 7 million people each year, the World Health Organization said recently—come questions about whether vaping is a healthier substitute.

Recommended for you

Expert: Be concerned about how apps collect, share health data

October 20, 2017
As of 2016 there were more than 165,000 health and wellness apps available though the Apple App Store alone. According to Rice University medical media expert Kirsten Ostherr, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates ...

More teens than ever aren't getting enough sleep

October 19, 2017
If you're a young person who can't seem to get enough sleep, you're not alone: A new study led by San Diego State University Professor of Psychology Jean Twenge finds that adolescents today are sleeping fewer hours per night ...

Across Asia, liver cancer is linked to herbal remedies: study

October 18, 2017
Researchers have uncovered widespread evidence of a link between traditional Chinese herbal remedies and liver cancer across Asia, a study said Wednesday.

Eating better throughout adult years improves physical fitness in old age, suggests study

October 18, 2017
People who have a healthier diet throughout their adult lives are more likely to be stronger and fitter in older age than those who don't, according to a new study led by the University of Southampton.

Global calcium consumption appears low, especially in Asia

October 18, 2017
Daily calcium intake among adults appears to vary quite widely around the world in distinct regional patterns, according to a new systematic review of research data ahead of World Osteoporosis Day on Friday, Oct. 20.

New study: Nearly half of US medical care comes from emergency rooms

October 17, 2017
Nearly half of all US medical care is delivered by emergency departments, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). And in recent years, the percentage of care delivered ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.