Second-hand smoke from electronic cigarettes may be less harmful than their tobacco-laden cousins, but they still release toxins into the air, according to a new study. Second-hand smoke from e-cigarettes also yielded exposure to almost no polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons — cancer-causing compounds known as organic carcinogens — that are released into the air as tobacco cigarettes burn. But despite having less harmful organic compounds and an overall decrease in toxic metal emissions, e-cigarette smoke did contain chromium and nickel at levels four times higher than tobacco cigarettes. Lead and zinc were also found in the smoke, but they occurred at levels lower than regular cigarettes.
Conventional tobacco cigarettes contain thousands of toxic compounds, which are released into your lungs and the surrounding air with each puff. By now, most people are aware that standing nearby someone smoking a cigarette is not too much better than smoking one yourself, hence the rash of smoking bans that have taken place across the US in recent years.
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), on the other hand, are touted as a safer, cleaner alternative to smoking. Yet, most states prohibit their use in most venues that prohibit traditional smoking. Is this warranted? Are e-cigarettes as bad as tobacco cigarettes, including to bystanders?
E-Cigarettes Release Toxic Metals Into the Air
In a new study by researchers from USC Biterbi, e-cigarettes were found to have 10-fold fewer carcinogenic particles in their vapor relative to smoke from conventional cigarettes.
However, the e-cigarettes emitted higher levels of certain metals, including nickel, zinc, and silver. “Some of these metals …
The study authors compared the smoke from a common traditional cigarette brand with smoke from an Elips Serie C e-cigarette, one of the most popular European brands. They noted that the results could vary based on which type of cigarettes and e-cigarettes are tested.
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