E-Cigarettes have been touted as beneficial in kicking off the habit much easily and with lesser health problems. However a recent study by the University of Southern California revealed that second hand smoke from e-cigarettes contain ingredients which are worse than the second hand smoke from traditional cigarettes.
Researchers from University of Southern California have discovered that second hand smoke from e-cigarettes contain a much higher percentage of toxic metals which can be very detrimental to health. The amount of these toxic heavy metals is much higher in second hand smoke of e-cigarettes than the smoke from ordinary cigarettes. The study revealed that the smoke of e-cigarettes contain a much higher percentage of metals like chromium and nickel.
The study was spearheaded Prof. Constantinos Sioutas of USC and was published in the Journal of Environmental Science, Processes and Impacts. The study comes at a time when the WHO is contemplating a ban on the use of e-cigarettes.
Prof. Sioutas in conjunction with colleagues from the Fondazione IRCCS Instituto Nazionale dei Tumori (the National Institute of Cancer Research) in Milan, Italy, is studying the level of exposure to harmful substances in secondhand smoke from e-cigarettes. They hope to provide regulatory authorities with valuable information which will justify a ban on e-cigarettes.
The study reveals that the second hand smoke from e-cigarettes does not contain organic carcinogens and there were 10 times less harmful substances in comparison to the second hand smoke from conventional cigarettes. This could be because e-cigarettes do not involve burning of organic materials like paper as conventional cigarettes.
However, they found that e-cigarette containes a heavy metal, chromium which is not seen in smoke from conventional cigarettes. Nickel was also found and was 4 times the levels as compared to conventional cigarettes.
But they also found that e-cigarette smoke contains chromium – a toxic element that is not present in traditional cigarettes – and nickel at levels four times higher than normal cigarettes.
Prof. Sioutas says, “Our results demonstrate that overall, electronic cigarettes seem to be less harmful than regular cigarettes, but their elevated content of toxic metals such as nickel and chromium do raise concerns”.