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Public health

Mixed results for heavy metal emissions from e-cigarettes

E-cigarette vaping device

Source: librakv /

The toxic metal particles found in e-cigarette emmissions are likely to come from the cartridge of the e-cigarette devices, suggest researchers

Electronic cigarettes are generally considered safer than conventional tobacco cigarettes. Much research has focused on e-cigarette gas-phase emissions, but less is known about particulate matter in the exhaled vapour.

New data reported in Environmental Science, Processes and Impacts (online, 22 August 2014)[1] suggest that e-cigarettes are associated with a “remarkable” 10-fold reduction in overall emission of metals and organic compounds compared with conventional cigarettes.

However, emission of two toxic heavy metals – chromium and nickel – was significantly higher with e-cigarettes than with normal cigarettes. Several other toxic metals, including lead and zinc, were also present in e-cigarette vapour.

“The metal particles likely come from the cartridge of the e-cigarette devices themselves,” remark Arian Saffaria from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and co-authors.



Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20066317

Readers' comments (1)

  • To show how silly presenting these numbers outside the research community is. The paper found 6.14 ng/m^3(0.00614mg/m^3) of Nickel. The OHSA air-born continuous exposure threshold for Nickel is 1mg/m^3(1000ng/m^3). The other metals found are at similar levels to their air-born thresholds. The e-cigarette metalic emissions were equal to or less than the outdoor air in the paper.

    The paper shows there is no health problem with the e-cigarette tested. Environmental researcher Igor Burstyn found the same for VOCs in a review of peer reviewed and grey emission studies. He found VOC levels below 4% of the universally accepted workplace safety thresholds.

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