Electronic cigarettes, which are increasingly used worldwide, are unsafe and pose health risks, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside evaluated five e-cigarette brands and found design flaws, lack of adequate labeling, and several concerns about quality control and health issues.
They conclude that e-cigarettes are potentially harmful and urge regulators to consider removing e-cigarettes from the market until their safety is adequately evaluated.
Unlike conventional cigarettes, which burn tobacco, e-cigarettes vaporize nicotine, along with other compounds present in the cartridge, in the form of aerosol created by heating, but do not produce the thousands of chemicals and toxicants created by tobacco combustion. Nothing is known, however, about the chemicals present in the aerosolized vapors emanating from e-cigarettes.
"As a result, some people believe that e-cigarettes are a safe substitute for conventional cigarettes," said Prue Talbot, the director of UC Riverside's Stem Cell Center, whose lab led the research.
"However, there are virtually no scientific studies on e-cigarettes and their safety. Our study - one of the first studies to evaluate e-cigarettes - shows that this product has many flaws, which could cause serious public health problems in the future if the flaws go uncorrected."
Study results appear in this month's issue of Tobacco Control.