Misleading Japanese research used to hurt ecig market

The following is a guest post from Mark.  As always, the opinions expressed in this post belong solely to the author.

scary headlineThere is no doubt that the electronic cigarette industry is under intense scrutiny both with regards to regulations and any long-term health implications. These are factors which have been acknowledged by the industry itself and no sensible electronic cigarette manufacturer or retailer is against long-term health studies.

So, we can only imagine how the sceptics reacted to this week’s Japanese research which was said to have found 10 times the amount of formaldehyde in electronic cigarette smoke compared to that in tobacco cigarettes. As with many derogatory statements and comments about the electronic cigarette industry, this particular research has been deemed “the truth” without many people even looking to see the full context.

One swallow doesn’t make a summer

Before we get into the detail about the research it is worth noting that only one of many different brands of electronic cigarette was alleged to have had such high levels of formaldehyde. Indeed even this one individual product did not produce the same high levels consistently and we can only assume it was one of the low quality low cost items that the industry and regulators are trying to ban.

In defence of the industry it is worth noting that a large number of alternative studies have indicated the amount of carcinogenic elements in electronic cigarette smoke (including formaldehyde) to be anywhere from 10 times to 1000 times below the level found in tobacco cigarettes.

Perhaps we should also consider that while 4000 potentially harmful elements have been found in the modern day tobacco cigarette there are between 10,000 and 100,000 individual constituents of tobacco. The fact that only 4000 have been identified suggests there are potentially tens of thousands of others which remain unidentified.

You may also like:  Millions Used eCigs to Quit Smoking

More scare stories?

While industry supporters would suggest that the scare stories cause major damage to the industry going forward, perhaps they give the growing voice of the sector a chance to reply.

In years gone by this type of report would have done potentially untold damage to the industry but now the sector has a voice, has an audience and is still growing in popularity. The ability to challenge these findings head-on and ensure that full details are eventually released into the mass media helps to combat much of the negative and often untrue stories which continue to circulate on a regular basis.

We could all be forgiven for looking at the headlines, assuming electronic cigarettes are more harmful than tobacco cigarettes but maybe a little digging below the surface is what is needed. It is also worth noting that the authors of this Japanese report have no particular axe to grind and have been keen to clarify the situation in greater detail.

There will be more scare stories, there will be more rumours and there will be many more untruths told about the electronic cigarette sector – of that we can be certain!


While more research and more detailed medical data is starting to seep into the public domain in relation to electronic cigarettes and any long-term health implications, there is certainly more research required.

Taking one element of one individual report does not give a true picture of the industry today and the industry going forward. The general consensus is that electronic cigarettes are at worst less harmful than their tobacco counterparts with some experts suggesting they may be more than 90% less harmful.
For further information about electronic cigarettes please visit the OK Electronic Cigarettes website.