TOKYO: E-cigarettes contain up to 10 times the level of cancer-causing agents as regular tobacco, Japanese scientists said on Thursday, the latest blow to an invention once heralded as less harmful than smoking.
The electronic devices — increasingly popular around the world, particularly among young people — function by heating flavoured liquid, which often contains nicotine, into a vapour that is inhaled, much like traditional cigarettes but without the smoke.
Researchers commissioned by Japan’s Health Ministry found carcinogens such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde in vapour produced by several types of e-cigarette liquid, a health ministry official said.
Formaldehyde — a substance found in building materials and embalming fluids — was present at much higher levels than carcinogens found in the smoke from regular cigarettes, the official said.
“In one brand of e-cigarette the team found more than 10 times the level of carcinogens contained in one regular cigarette,” said researcher Naoki Kunugita, adding that the amount of formaldehyde detected varied through the course of analysis.
“Especially when the... wire (which vaporises the liquid) gets overheated, higher amounts of those harmful substances seemed to be produced”.
Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2014