Debunked: E-Cigarettes Aren’t 10 Times More Dangerous Than Tobacco!
In another flurry of sensationalism, mainstream media has been reporting wildley how new research found a sample of e-cigarettes to contain 10 times more formaldehyde than regular tobacco cigarettes. However, before you throw away your e-cigarette and run for the hills, you may want to learn the whole story.
What’s behind the news
The research itself is fairly straightforward. A combined group of Japanese researchers from The Department of Environmental Health and from the National Institute of Public Health set out to analyze the content of various brands of e-cigarettes. What they found was that of all brands, ONE appeared to have high levels of formaldehyde in them – a known carcinogen.
This is where things get interesting. To start with, it is worth emphasizing the point that it was only one single brand that appeared to have higher levels of formaldehyde. So right off the bat, branding all e-cigarettes as worse than tobacco is simply inaccurate and not what the data showed.
Then there the actual results themselves. If you look at the research, you can quite clearly see the levels of formaldehyde in each brand. When you compare them to the results of a 2008 study into the content of tobacco and marijuana, a completely different picture is painted. Whilst the study into e-cigarettes found the worst case had an average formaldehyde content of 34μg in e-cigarettes, the 2008 study found tobacco had an average formaldehyde content of 200μg! That means even the worst e-cigarette from the 2008 study has 6 times lower formaldehyde levels than average tobacco.
So where has this 10 times more figure come from? Well, according to Professor Kunugita, the leading member of the research team, a later evaluation of a newer generation device put out 1600μg of formaldehyde per 15 puffs. It seems like this particular device does appear to have levels 10 times higher than conventional tobacco; however, this is not recorded in any publicized research. Also, according to the researchers, this only happened when the battery was used on the highest setting.
This situation leaves this particular result open to a lot of variables and potential error. The fact that the media has once again jumped right back onto the hype train without any substantial evidence just goes to show how they would rather create sensationalist news than actual informative reports.
Looking At The Bigger Picture
So let’s say, that this newer, one brand of many, does indeed contain 10 times more formaldehyde than tobacco, and the research team publish newer, updated research to back it up. It is still just one brand on the highest setting. Plus, in tobacco there’s many more carcinogenic compounds than just formaldehyde. It is something that the media has lost track of in their frenzy, reporting that e-cigarettes contain more carcinogens then tobacco – with an emphasis on the plural ‘S’. No, worst come to worst, it contains more of ONE carcinogen, without the inclusion and higher levels of the other thousands of toxins and carcinogens contained within tobacco smoke.
It is worth doing your research into e-cigarettes, but they are still appear to be a much healthier option than tobacco as things currently stand. Don’t let the media catch you up in their madness.