Earlier studies suggest that switching to electronic cigarettes or e-cigs offers several benefits, but a new study reveals that secondhand smoke from e-cigs contain higher levels of toxic metals than that of regular cigarettes.
The study led by Prof. Constantinos Sioutas from the University of Southern California, and was published in the Journal of Environmental Science, Processes, examined the toxicity level of secondhand smoke from e-cigs. The research comes after the World Health Organization propose a ban against the indoor use of e-cigarettes.
It was found out that secondhand smoke from e-cigs contains amazing lesser amount of harmful agents and virtually no organic carcinogens. This can be attributed to the fact that e-cigs don’t burn organic materials as regular cigarettes. HOWEVER, it was also found that secondhand smoke coming from e-cigs contains chromium, a toxic metal not present in ordinary cigarettes, and there was a 4 times increase in nickel content. Other metals are also present such as zinc and lead, both are dangerous but of lesser level compared to regular cigs. It may appear that e-cigs are generally less harmful that normal cigarettes but that increased toxic metal contents can raise concerns, according to researchers.
Different environments such as rooms and offices were used to emulate real-life conditions during the research. The volunteers were asked to smoke ordinary and electronic cigarettes in these environments and particle samples were collected and studied its chemical compositions.
Smoke from different known brands of regular and electronic cigarettes were compared. The researchers considered the possibility of having different results depending on the brand of cigarettes used.
It was found that the added metal particles are more likely coming from the cartridges used by e-cigarettes manufacturers. This now gives rise to the possibility improving the manufacturing standards and for policy makers to legislate laws governing the production of e-cigarettes. This study, according to the researchers, is important for the government and its agencies to help determine and implement effective regulatory actions.
And because e-cigs are new, there is more research available, adds the researchers.
The call for better legislation to the government grows as incidents and concerns involving e-cigarette continues to increase, including the cases of children below 5 years old eating the devices.
Contrary to the claims of some that e-cigs are totally harmless, it can actually cause harm more than what we know. Like before, when cigarettes were first introduced in the market, some would even claimed that smoking is beneficial to one’s health but the contrary was later discovered that smoking causes harm and actually no benefits. More research is needed to determine whether the use of e-cigs is really beneficial than it is harmful. It’s really too early to tell. But on the brighter side, this could mean that smokers wanting to quit continues to look for better ways to quit the old habit. But as to the benefits, there is more work to do.