Why Your Dinner Could Be More Toxic Than Your E-Cig

toxins in ecigs 10

This week, a new study from USC has started another round of controversy for electronic cigarettes. Scientists claimed that they found four toxic metals present in e-cigarette vapor and instantly, the media began using this as a battle cry to call for immediate regulations and even bans. However, this latest study on electronic cigarettes actually gave us a realistic look at the true toxicity of vaping and contrary to what the media wants you to think, it actually could be a positive step for ecigs. In fact, based on the data from USC, your spaghetti might be more toxic than your ecig. Let’s look at the actual numbers and break it down to understand what the study really revealed.

First and foremost, the USC research team concluded that ecigs are 10 times less toxic than tobacco cigarettes. Even better, they found “close-to-zero” cancer causing carcinogens in ecig vapor. This statistic is a major victory for the vaping industry, but it is being largely ignored in media headlines. Instead, everyone is worried about four toxic metals that were found in ecigs. The scientists found varied levels of chromium, nickel, lead, and zinc in electronic cigarette vapor.

Nickel and chromium seem to be causing the greatest concerns as both of these metals were found in amounts higher than traditional cigarettes. While it sounds awful, a look at the actual numbers helps us better understand what is going on. The researchers found that ecigs produced 0.175 micrograms (175 nanograms) of nickel. The “tolerable” upper limit for dietary nickel consumption is 1000 nanograms per day so the level found in ecig vapor is well below this threshold. In fact, the nickel levels are well below the amounts found in tomato sauce that is cooked in stainless steel pots. After 10 cooking cycles using a stainless steel pot, one serving of spaghetti sauce contains an average of 88 nanograms of nickel, so your evening plate of spaghetti could be far more toxic than the vapor from an e-cigarette.

But what about chromium? The USC researchers found 0.3 micrograms (300 nanograms) of chromium in e-cig vapor. However, you would need to consume 1900 to 3300 nanograms of chromium to reach damaging levels. In reality, chromium is found in many over-the-counter dietary supplements and even in our drinking water. While ecig vapor contains 0.3 micrograms of chromium, consuming ½ cup of broccoli provides 11 micrograms!

When you put all of this information together, it really tells a story that is quite different from what the mainstream media wants you to hear. If you inhale ecig vapor, you are exposed to 175 nanograms of nickel and 0.3 micrograms of chromium. But if you go eat a serving of spaghetti with tomato sauce cooked in stainless steel pots with ½ cup of broccoli on the side, you are exposed to 88 nanograms of nickel and 11 micrograms of chromium. So which is more toxic? It looks like you are better of to skip dinner and keep on inhaling that ecig vapor.

Ultimately, this is another example of really impressive ecig research that has been twisted to focus solely on negativity. The fact that objective researchers from USC found that ecigs are 10 times less toxic than traditional cigarettes is an exciting step for the vaping industry. It’s time to stop the misinformation and get the facts out about ecigs. Contrary to popular opinion, electronic cigarettes are not the enemy. In fact, they could be our best weapons to fight the true threat from big tobacco.

Jimmy, lover, blogger, vaper and ex-smoker. I’ve been blogging about and supporting Vaping since 2009. They changed my life and I think history will show them as one of the most significant public health invention of the 21st century.

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10 Responses

  1. Enjoyed your well written piece. I’m the former Winston Man and just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your simplicity in explaining the logical point of view. YOU ARE CORRECT. The media doesn’t have enough intelligence to lead people where they want. YOu are giving them too much credit. Its the paid for press releases they buy with little or no fact checking ( which is NOT unusual). The “media” is nothing more than a bunch of parrots who repeat….repeat….and repeat. They are not journalists, nor do they care. Keep doing what you’re doing and maybe somewhere in the mix we will find a respected journalist who will follow the money, and say what you just said repeatedly. Thanks again.

  2. mikerb says:

    Excellent piece, puts it all into perspective. Trouble is I love broccoli but if it’s so bad for my health I’ll have to give it up. And as far as the chromium goes I’ll have to throw all my pans away.
    Why is the government not protecting me from these culinary dangers and instead concentrating on what seems to be innocuous, harmless vaping products?

  3. Entropy says:

    Your conversion of nano to micro is incorrect. There are 1000 nanograms in 1 microgram, not 100 (1 nanogram is 0.001 microgram).

    This doesnt affect your conclusions however, the substances are all still well below safe exposure levels.

  4. Scott McKirahan says:

    Man, I really would like to support your arguments here but there’s a problem. The amounts of chromium and nickel in cigarettes are for what units? One puff? An entire cigalike cartridge? Per milliliter?

    That’s a very important question. If that’s in one puff and you take an average of 200 puffs a day, there’s a problem, Houston. If it is in a whole days worth of vaping, that’s another thing altogether.

    • Jimmy Hafrey says:

      Thanks Scott, that’s a great point. The researcher actually used Nanograms/per hour of emissions in their figures. If you say someone took 200 puffs per day, at a very generous 5 seconds per puff, that’s about 16 minutes per day. I’m still waiting to receive a copy of the full study to gain a complete insight. However my gut says they’ve not really actually focused on this area and it’s something the college’s PR team has spun

  5. David Moger says:

    There is something missing. The vapour is not quantified…. How much nickel in how much vapour. We know what half a cup of broccoli is. I am sure the results will still be favourable but without quantities I would not use this as proof of anything for fear of getting shot down.

  6. David Moger says:

    Sorry. I did not read enough of the comments.

  7. Mick says:

    Interesting, but there are now hundreds of studies into safety directly related to vaping and some I read from 2003 which were they are obviously not related to vaping ARE related to the toxins folks absorb from the environment.

    So in truth vaping is so far down the list it would need a step ladder to crawl onto the bottom of ‘health issues’, right up the top in my opinion is all the pharmaceuticals knocking about, being passed into recycling plants through waste and not to mention finding their way to calls to the poisons units worldwide.

    For vaping to be as ‘SAFE’ as something like aspirin there would need to be several hundred bodies mounting up in morgues every year!

    If anything I’m pretty amazed statistically that there aren’t many deaths from vaping….you would imagine there would be some dangers somewhere… If I were being a conspiracy theorist I’d say the reason that ecigs have so many enemies is precisely because all the research HAS been done… by those that would like to see the back of them…

    If after a decade almost the pharma’s have no ammunition to fire then regardless of what else can be assumed ‘Safety’ is likely top of the list!

  8. Shirley says:

    They finally come up with a safe alternative to cigarettes that will actually help people quit smoking and people want to shut it down. Where’s the logic in that? It’s pretty obvious that people are just making stuff up in order to get e-cigs banned. They need to get a life.

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