Scientists: Vapor From Mods Contains More Formaldehyde Than Cigarette Smoke

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A new study out of Portland State University has caused a wave of fear to rise through the vaping community this week. Researchers claim that after testing ecig vapor, they found high concentrations of formaldehyde, one of the main cancer causing carcinogens in tobacco smoke. But before you panic, it’s important to look closer at the research methods. It turns out that not all vapers have a reason for concern. But if you prefer the high heat mods, then you might want to think twice.

Chemistry Professor David Peyton said they examined ecig vapor by drawing it into a syringe to simulate filling the lungs. When they tested the vapor, they found liquid droplet particles of formaldehyde. “We found this form of formaldehyde at significantly higher concentrations than even regular cigarettes (contain) – between five and fifteenfold higher concentration of formaldehyde than cigarettes,” Peyton said. “Long-term exposure is recognized as contributing to lung cancer.”

So far, this sounds really bad. After all, most vapers choose ecigs to get away from carcinogens. But now scientists are telling us that ecigs actually contain more dangerous levels of formaldehyde than cigarettes. To get a balanced viewpoint, we have to look a little closer at the lab methods used. Keep in mind that just because they were able to find formaldehyde in a syringe, that doesn’t automatically mean that they could find the same level of formaldehyde in your lungs after you take of puff of your ecig.

Gregory Conley of the American Vaping Association said the key is to look at the voltage. The scientists in this particular study found formaldehyde only when they heated e-liquid up at the highest voltage levels. “If you hold the button on an e-cigarette for 100 seconds, you could potentially produce 100 times more formaldehyde than you would ever get from a cigarette,” Conley explained. “But no human vaper would ever vape at that condition, because within one second their lungs would be incredibly uncomfortable.

Conley said the recent research could be easily compared to overcooking a steak on a grill. “I can take a steak and I can cook it on the grill for the next 18 hours, and that steak will be absolutely chock-full of carcinogens,” he said. “But the steak will also be charcoal, so no one will eat it.”

When we dig a little deeper in the formaldehyde findings, it’s clear that the results are misleading. Peyton even acknowledged that they found no formaldehyde when the e-cigs were set at low levels. But he just argued that people probably use high heat settings more often.

To translate this into real world terms, it means that using a cigalike is probably not exposing you to any formaldehyde, but if you use a high powered mod or a tank at high heat settings, then you might get slight exposure to carcinogens.

Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos weighed in on the study and told vapers that it ultimately goes back to your heat settings. “It is more than obvious that the findings of very high levels of formaldehyde are a result of overheating,” he said. “Lack of experience on e-cigarettes and no contact with vapers can result in such erroneous and unrealistic results, which can create confusion and misinformation both in the scientific community and among users and potential users of e-cigarettes.”

The bottom line is that ecigs are a better choice than tobacco cigarettes, but the best choice is to use an ecig that doesn’t rely on ultra high heat settings. This is one more advantage to using cigalikes over high voltage mods.

Do you think cigalikes are a better choice for vapers? What kind of ecig offers the best vaping experience while reducing risks for carcinogens from overheating?

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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