For those that have asked themselves “are e-cigarettes safe” the latest news may serve to only deepen their apprehension about e-cigarette safety. Those who doubt e-cigs have always questioned e-liquid ingredients and, in some cases, a lack of transparency from e-cig brands.
Within a public that is rightfully concerned about the negative health effects of smoking, there is a very stringent group that would associate any type of “smoking” with that. This puts aside the primary purpose of electronic cigarettes as a viable alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes, but nonetheless it was their primary reaction to the new technology. This type of negative fervor against e-cigarettes remains.
It was exactly what opponents of e-cigarettes were looking for as they rail against e-cigarette safety. In fact, if they had it their way, these people would simply answer your “are e-cigarettes safe?” question with that exact headline and quotes from the article.
Of course e-liquid ingredients must include bad things, after all, it looks like you are smoking so how can it not be bad for you? As they say, the devil is in the details, and in this case we see another irresponsible stigma being placed on electronic cigarettes as a whole and against ecig brands for being the merchants of dangerous products.
We See Another Irresponsible Stigma Being Placed On Electronic Cigarettes
Are Electronic Cigarettes Safe?
Truly, it is anti-ecig propaganda that may be bad for your health. At the core of the Japanese e-cigarette research that led to this type of warning against vaping were findings for exactly one of the e-cig brands tested. That’s one single example of a lousy cheap e-cig, not electronic cigarettes as a whole. This is not responsible science by any stretch of the imagination. This is fear mongering to serve an agenda.
Naoki Kunugita, one of the researchers of the study, is quoted as saying “In one brand of e-cigarette the team found more than 10 times the level of carcinogens contained in one regular cigarette.” One of those carcinogens, according to Kunugita, is formaldehyde, a substance that is well known by name to the public and easily creates some fear for what “really” makes up the e-liquid ingredients in e-cigs. Yet the amount of formaldehyde detected varied through the course of analysis and as a stand-alone statistics it doesn’t begin to tell the entire story.
Thankfully, there are plenty of more objective individuals that can look at the details of this study and some of them emerge from the medical field. One such person is Greek cardiologist Konstantinos Farsalinos who contributes frequently to the e-cigarette discussion and has no direct interest in the success or failure of electronic cigarette brands.
The first thing Farsalinos points out about this e-cig study is that formaldehyde is “present everywhere in the environment, in every house, in every city, town, village, urban or rural area.” He also points out that, besides the fact that formaldehyde was the only carcinogen named in the study, “the title is nothing but misleading since they found the formaldehyde at “10 levels higher than cigarettes” in 1 of the 10 products tested, not in every case.”
“The title is nothing but misleading since they found the formaldehyde at “10 levels higher than cigarettes” in 1 of the 10 products tested, not in every case.” – Dr. Farsalinos
It doesn’t end there, as Farsalinos continued to dissect that data to prove that this headline wasn’t answering the “are e-cigarettes safe?” question honestly at all.
First he pointed out that this e-cig study back in 2008 proved that, even at their highest levels, e-cigarettes contained six times less formaldehyde than traditional tobacco cigarettes. That figure is even less daunting when you look at things more scientifically, by using the average instead of the worst-case scenario. In doing that, Farsolinos writes “on average, the levels of formaldehyde in e-cigarettes are up to 50 times lower compared to tobacco cigarette smoke.”
E-Cig Health Risks
So what is the final word you ask? Consumers who smoke are looking at reasons for and against making the switch to e-cigarettes and headlines like this one obviously raise a red flag in the e-cigarette safety column. The fact is that there are thousands of electronic cigarette brands out there and, with FDA regulation still on its way, some of them probably use unsavory practices. Studies like these can happen to catch one of them, and perhaps they are simply the result of a faulty unit from a company that doesn’t focus on quality enough but isn’t just evil. One bad apple shouldn’t stain the image of an entire industry, especially when those results don’t even properly report the magnitude of the findings.
All that being said, while we don’t at all think e-cigarettes contain the danger that is alluded to in the recent Japanese study, we always encourage our readers to make the right decision regarding what they buy. Purchasing from one of the best e-cig brands that we cover in our reviews on this site will go a very long way in making sure you aren’t picking up products from one of those bad apples (which may only be bad one day out of the year anyway).
The issue of e-cigarette safety is one that will continue to be discussed and scrutinized as more studies and data come to the public. It is important to know how to read this information in detail and not simply take the news headline as a way to answer the “are e-cigarettes safe?” question. We’ll be on top of everything here at ECCR in the news section and we hope to make things that much clearer for current and potential vapers of electronic cigarettes.