In a recent study of e-cigarettes, two types of devices were examined: e-cigarettes with one heating coil, and the more expensive two-heating-coil varieties.
Researchers examined the emissions from both types of e-cigarettes, using three kinds of juices and using varying battery voltages. The emissions were found to contain diacetyl, formaldehyde and acrolein, and the higher the e-cigarette voltage, the more dangerous chemicals it produced.
Prue Talbot, a professor of cell biology and director of the UC Riverside Stem Cell Center, said of the study, “This is an important area of electronic cigarette research and this paper makes new and interesting observations on chemicals that could be inhaled by e-cigarette users.”
The study also found that when the voltage of the single-coil e-cigarettes was increased from 3.3 volts to 4.8 volts, the rate of aldehydes emitted tripled, and the rate of acrolein increased by tenfold. Acrolein has been linked to COPD, even in low doses.
“Safe to digest is not the same as safe to inhale,” said David W. Bareham, a respiratory physiotherapist at Louth County Hospital in Louth, England. “Obviously, lungs are not designed to routinely consume what constitutes heated food products, plus the chemical by-products subsequently produced through heating.” Bareham added, “The researcher’s finding of diacetyl – an additive utilized to produce a buttery taste – is relevant, due to a link to it causing Bronchiolitis Obliterans, an incurable lung disease.”
Bronchiolitis obliterans is a disease where the smallest airways of the lungs have become permanently scarred and restricted. Diacetyl is a flavoring agent used in products such as baking mixes, microwave popcorn, beer, and e-cigarette liquids.
Michael Siegal of Boston University gave the study credit for providing useful information for making e-cigarettes safer.
“Therefore, by controlling the temperature, the presence of these chemicals can be avoided,” Siegel said. “Similarly, the presence of propylene oxide is probably due to the use of non-pharmaceutical grade propylene glycol. The importance of these findings is that they demonstrate that technology is available to make vaping relatively safe by avoiding the production of virtually any hazardous chemicals at dangerous levels.”