E-Cigarettes Produce More Toxic Emissions Over Time

A black-and-white photo of a man with both of his palms held out. In one hand, he holds a cigarette. In the other hand, he holds a vaporizer.

Smoking vs. vaping: which is the lesser of the two evils?
Image: Shutterstock

Vaping is revolutionizing the smoking industry as the electronic devices become more common. E-cigarettes have been touted as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, and that seems to be true: they do produce less dangerous emissions, but that doesn’t mean they are by any means safe.

Recent research out of California has found that there are still a number of dangerous emissions coming from e-cigarettes, some of which are unique to those devices. Researchers there studied a number of factors, and found that universally, e-cigarette formulas which used propylene glycol and glycerin as solvents, and almost all of them do, created unique emissions. Propylene glycol oxide and glycidol are probable carcinogens, meaning that we aren’t 100% sure that they contribute to diseases like lung cancer, but we’re pretty confident that they do.

Researchers also discovered that, the higher the temperature at which the liquid is vaporized, the more toxic chemicals it releases. That isn’t to say that these chemicals aren’t present at lower temperatures, it’s just that they’re present in higher quantities the higher the temperature, and all e-cigarettes get warmer during use, until they reach a stable temperature. That means that the longer you vape, the worse it is for you.

Scientists also found that devices used over an extended period of time produce more emissions as they age. They tested this by using one device continually without cleaning it, in order to replicate a frequently used device. The problem is that devices build up “coil gunk” on the heating coils that, when itself is heated, introduces additional chemical emissions.

While this study tells us some interesting things about the dangers of vaping and how it works, it simply serves to reinforce a basic truth about e-cigarettes: they aren’t a healthy alternative to traditional cigarettes, just a slightly less dangerous version.

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2 Responses to E-Cigarettes Produce More Toxic Emissions Over Time

  1. G. Sherwood says:

    I don’t vape anymore but e-cigs sure helped me quit smoking.

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