As an alternative to traditional cigarette smoking, electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, have grown in popularity. But health experts and consumer advocates have raised concerns over their safety.
Now scientists report in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology
new measurements of potentially toxic compounds in e-cigarette vapor and factors that affect these levels.
‘Increasing the voltage and heat in a single-coil vaporizer triples the aldehyde emissions per puff and bumped up the acrolein levels by a factor of 10.’
Hugo Destaillats and colleagues analyzed vapor from two different kinds of e-cig vaporizers filled with three different refill e-liquids. They identified several vapor components including glycidol -- which hadn't previously been identified in e-cig vapor -- formaldehyde and acrolein.
The World Health Organization categorizes glycidol as a probable carcinogen, and acrolein is a powerful irritant. Testing also showed that increasing the voltage and heat in a single-coil vaporizer (as opposed to one with a double-coil) triples the aldehyde emissions per puff and bumped up the acrolein levels by a factor of 10. Additionally, the release of potentially toxic compounds increased with use. These compounds originate from thermal decomposition of propylene glycol and glycerin, two solvents used to formulate most e-liquids.