Concentrations of Toxic and Carcinogenic Substances in E-Liquids

There has been a great deal of speculation about the safety of electronic cigarettes over the past few years. Now that we have seen the devastating health problems caused by traditional tobacco cigarettes, nobody wants to make that same mistake again. It is natural to be skeptical when it comes to new things and how they can relate to a person’s health, but it is also important to pay attention to legitimate, unbiased sources when you get your information. Here are some facts about the concentrations of toxic and carcinogenic substances in e-liquids.

The following is a guest post from Carolyn.  All content and opinion are solely the work of the author.

Information from the FDA

The FDA stated that they found trace amounts of carcinogens in nicotine cartridges. While this information sounds alarming on paper, it is very important to do a little more research to see what the findings actually mean. First, the tobacco-specific nitrosamines they found only cause cancer when used in sufficient amounts and under the right conditions. Other smoking aids, such as nicotine gum or patches, also contain the same nitrosamines, although the FDA did not state the quantity.

An Independent Study

Dr. Murray Laugesen performed an independent study that showed that the electronic cigarette contained eight parts per trillion, which is an extremely small amount. FDA-approved nicotine patches contained approximately the same amount, and traditional tobacco cigarettes contained substantially more. The study revealed that electronic cigarettes contain 1,200 times less nitrosamines than traditional tobacco cigarettes. As you can see, there is a stark difference between the two, and it is important to make that distinction when making claims.

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The Anti-Freeze Myth

You may have heard claims that electronic cigarettes contain anti-freeze. The truth is that the FDA stated that they found diethylene glycol (an ingredient used in anti-freeze) in just one of the e-liquids they tested, out of 18 samples. That single e-liquid contained approximately 1% diethylene glycol, which led some experts to believe that the sample had been contaminated, as none of the others turned up positive. Diethylene glycol is not a standard in e-liquids, and companies that attempted to use it would be immediately flagged.

Propylene Glycol

The reality is that e-liquids contain propylene glycol (PG), which is considered to be safe by the FDA. PG actually reduces the dangers associated with swallowing e-liquid. Because propylene glycol may be used in anti-freeze, some people may become confused. However, propylene glycol (PG) is a safe ingredient. Remember, just because an ingredient may be used in anti-freeze, does not make it anti-freeze!

Big Tobacco Influence

As you research electronic cigarettes and their safety for yourself, keep in mind that there is a great deal of misinformation out there. Big tobacco companies have an invested interest in the downfall of electronic cigarettes and companies that sell them, as their customers are currently switching over in droves. Seek out information that comes from legitimate scientists who thirst for knowledge – not profit. Remember that research is ongoing, and there may be certain risks, but scientific studies all suggest that electronic cigarettes are a better alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes.

About the Author

Carolyn Clarke is a freelance writer and entrepreneur from Los Angeles, CA. She has written for a wealth of high-profile clients including the Livestrong Network, Demand Media, and In her spare time, she enjoys physical fitness, surfing and snowboarding.