A new study in the medical journal Inhalation Toxicology has found that 20 out of 21 electronic cigarette brands showed no signs of cytotoxicity (that is, toxicity that causes cell damage or death). The study makes yet another compelling argument that electronic cigarettes do not cause an amount of harm necessitating harsh regulations and bans.
The study came from Italian and Greek researchers and was led by Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos who has been researching electronic cigarettes since 2008 and finding promising results.
You can find the abstract here.
The study found that only in one coffee-flavored electronic cigarette brand did any evidence of cell damage or death appear and only at the highest dilution tested. All other brands and all lower dilutions of the coffee-flavored brand showed no evidence of cytotoxicity. In the one instance that cytotoxicity was found, it was two orders of magnitude lower than that of cigarette smoke.
This raises two strong points for the electronic cigarette world. First, the damage electronic cigarettes do to the user may actually be even lower than researchers and experts had previously thought. Having previously rated electronic cigarettes between 1 and 5% as dangerous as conventional cigarettes, that may need to be revised to something closer to .1%. But we’ll let the real experts decide on that.
Second, the researchers behind the study theorize that the reason cytotoxicity was only found in the one coffee-flavored brand was likely flavor additive related. It seems likely that something in the flavor ingredients had more to do with cytotoxicity than any of the other ingredients since those ingredients existed in 20 other brands and none showed signs of cell death or damage.
This certainly means that ingredients quality control and testing needs to occur in the world of electronic cigarettes. While this isn’t something anybody argued against, it highlights the issue more than ever before. Ingredient choice — if it is indeed the culprit — can determine whether an e-cig exhibits no cytotoxicity or some cytotoxicity.
Want to learn more about the research being done on electronic cigarettes. We have a list here.