Japanese scientists announced that e-cigarettes contain 10 times the level of cancer-causing carcinogens than its counterpart in the tobacco world. At one time, e-cigarettes were touted as the answer to smoking without the complication of so many dangers.
The electronic nicotine products have increased in popularity with many believing that they are receiving a hit of nicotine without the health damage of a normal cigarette, laden with chemicals.
However, the research commissioned by the Japanese Ministry of Health found formaldehyde and acetaldehyde carcinogens in the liquid produced by a number of e-cigarette products, a health ministry official stated.
The group also learned that e-cigarettes can fuel potentially life-threatening drug-resistant pathogens. This is based on lab study where they tested e-cigs vapor on live methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and human cells.
The formaldehyde carcinogen was found to be much more present in the e-cigarette liquids than in the chemicals used in regular cigarettes, according to the official.
“In one brand of e-cigarette the team found more than 10 times the level of carcinogens contained in one regular cigarette,” said researcher Naoki Kunugita.
“Especially when the wire (which vaporizes the liquid) gets overheated, higher amounts of those harmful substances seemed to be produced.”
However, Kunugita added that the levels of the formaldehyde carcinogen fluctuated in the final results.
“You call them e-cigarettes, but they are products totally different from regular tobacco,” the Japanese health ministry official said.
“The government is now studying the possible risks associated with them, with view to looking at how they should be regulated.”
Earlier this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) urged governments to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors because of the “serious threat” posed to them.
The UN health agency said that despite the lack of evidence on the damage caused by e-cigarettes, there was enough “to caution children and adolescents, pregnant women, and women of reproductive age” about their use, adding that they should be outlawed from indoor public spaces.
According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “More than a quarter of a million youth who had never smoked a cigarette used electronic cigarettes in 2013, according to a CDC study published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research. This number reflects a three-fold increase, from about 79,000 in 2011, to more than 263,000 in 2013.”