Researchers have found high levels of formaldehyde—a known human carcinogen in cigarette smoke—in the vaporized liquid of e-cigarettes.
According to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine, the exposure to formaldehyde from e-cigarettes, based on similar chronic use as tobacco, could be five to 15 times higher than that from smoking cigarettes.
“It’s way too early now, from an epidemiological point of view, to sayhow bad they are,” said co-author James F. Pankow, professor of chemistry and engineering at Portland State University in Oregon. “But the bottom line is, there are toxins, and some are more than in regular cigarettes. And if you are vaping, you probably shouldn’t be using it at a high-voltage setting.”
Pankow and his colleagues analyzed aerosolized e-liquid in “tank system” e-cigarettes to detect formaldehyde-releasing agents in “hidden” form at various voltages.
They found that vaping 3 mg of e-cigarette liquid at a high voltage can generate 14 mg of loosely-affiliated or “hidden” formaldehyde. Researchers estimated a tobacco smoker would get 0.15 mg of formaldehyde per cigarette, or 3 mg in a 20-pack.