New study: 'Sure, vapour has some toxins -- but so does air'
In the vaping community, it's long been the conventional wisdom that ecigarette vapour -- while significantly less toxic than cigarette smoke -- isn't completely safe to inhale.
Unfortunately, we're not here to completely upend that axiom, but a new study suggests that vapour isn't actually that much more toxic than the air we breathe every day. It also calls into question the idea that we can't know for sure what we're actually inhaling when we vape.
The proof is in the comparison
The study, which was published in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, examined ecigarette aerosol as it compares to ambient air.
Using a few flavours of Blu eCigs and SKYCIGS (both dominant players in the U.S. and U.K. markets, respectively), the researchers tested the resulting vapours against air samples, as well as smoke from Marlboro Golds and Lambert & Butler cigarettes.
The results were drastic, even for those familiar with the facts when it comes to cigarettes. The conventional cigarette smoke contained approximately 1500 times the HPHCs -- "harmful and potentially harmful constituents" -- as ecigarette aerosol and the study room air.
What's more, the ecigarette aerosol and the air blanks had similar levels of HPHCs. The breakdown of the aerosol content was as follows: glycerin or propylene glycol (primarily), humectants, water, flavouring and nicotine.
When tested for HPHCs like carbon monoxide, carbonyls, phenolics, volatiles, metals, tobacco-specific nitrosamines, polyaromatic amines and polyaromatic hydrocarbons, there was less than 0.17 milligrams in 99 puffs of a Blu Classic Tobacco Disposable. Regular air contains 0.16 milligrams, while a single Marlboro Gold has 30.6. What's more, there was 85% less nicotine in the aerosol than the cigarette smoke.
So is vapour just like air, then?
We wouldn't go so far as to say that. There's still a lack of conclusive evidence regarding the long-term effects of inhaling eliquid vapour.
Additionally, the study itself acknowledges that there's still more work that needs to be done as far as establishing standards among researchers reflecting real-life vaping habits.
Another thing that probably warrants mention is that the study authors and manufacturers of the ecigarettes tested all work for the same parent company, so we might need to take this one with a slightly larger grain of salt.
Still, this is a major feather in the cap for those of us who understand the potential for vaping to help cigarette smokers get healthier.