It’s rare that we get results to a study that aren’t entirely obvious and of minimal use. Already, hundreds of studies have looked at the effects of using electronic cigarettes and vapor devices. What most of them ultimately determine is that e-cigs to cause some harm to their users, but far less than that of tobacco cigarettes. And while many researchers avoid comparing them to tobacco cigarettes, the numbers generally show e-cigs cause around 99% less harm.
But a recent study actually looks at more than simply whether e-cigs cause harm and compared various types of e-cigs use. The most significant finding was that dripping (dropping small amounts of e-liquid directly onto coils) is more harmful than using filled tanks.
The study has a lot more to it. You can read the full study right here.
In the case of dripping, oxidants were found to occur at between 4 and 24 times the rate they would normally appear in regular cartridge or tank use (at least that’s my understanding of the study). This is the case because dry spots on the coil and access to open air allow the coil to get much hotter. This can result in more metal particulates mixing with the vapor before being inhaled by the user. As well, more rapid heating and vaporization of e-liquid can covert a larger percentage of it into more harmful substances (like formaldehyde for one).
While this does show a difference in harm, it is important to remember that the harm caused by electronic cigarettes (even under the worst of conditions) pales in comparison to use of tobacco cigarettes. Many experts say that even with high levels of impurities, e-cigs simply by not using smoke to deliver nicotine, can’t be more than 5% as harmful as cigarettes. Some experts have even compared the harm of e-cigs to that of coffee or french fries. According to them, the use of nicotine for an entire lifetime without significant harm to the user is possible.
Of course, this study too found significantly lower amounts of harmful constituents in e-cigs than in tobacco cigarettes. According to this study, constituents were found to be between 9 and 807 times lower in e-cigs than in tobacco cigarettes.