Breaking News: New study shows no risk from e-cigarette contaminants

by Carl V Phillips

[UPDATE 4, 11 Jun 15: A correction to one of the results in the study has been posted to this blog by the author. As of yet, the journal has not posted the correction as requested.]

[UPDATE  3: The published version of the paper, at BMC Public Health, is now here.]

[UPDATE:  Here is CASAA’s press release about this.]
[UPDATE 2: Here is the post of the press release at CASAA’s main blog (same content as above link, but with a link to here for discussion — so a better choice if you want to share the press release).]

CASAA is delighted to announce that the first research study funded by the CASAA Research Fund (thanks to all of you who donated to that!) has been released.  The study, by Prof. Igor Burstyn, Drexel University School of Public Health, is available at the Drexel website, here (pdf).  Burstyn reviewed all of the available chemistry on e-cigarette vapor and liquid and found that the levels reported — even in those studies that were hyped as showing there is a danger — are well below the level that is of concern.

And that assessment applies to the vaper himself.  The exposure to bystanders is orders of magnitude less and of no concern at all.

The paper is technical, of course, but I believe it does a great job of communicating for readers at many levels.  It puts the results in very clear and useful terms — exactly what policy makers need for making decisions.

For the first time, we have a definitive study that can be used to respond to claims that contaminants in e-cigarettes are dangerous and that there is a hazard to bystanders that calls for usage restrictions.  Existing individual chemistry studies have been difficult for anyone other than an expert to understand (which is why we gave a grant to an expert to understand them!), and a naive interpretation of individual studies (just reading what the authors editorialized about their results) gave the impression of “dueling studies”, with some showing a problem and some not.  While many THR advocates made an effort to make sense of and use the existing literature, it was almost impossible to do so effectively.  Burstyn’s analysis solves that problem and shows there is no duel:  All of the studies, including the “bad” ones, show that there is no worry.

I cannot overstate it:  This is a game-changer for anyone trying to respond to misinformation about the hazards of e-cigarettes.  Before we had an apparently contradictory mess on this topic.  Now we have clarity.

I have to say that I am genuinely surprised that the results are quite so definitive, and I assume that will be true of anyone else of was seriously trying to assess the risks, rather than just cheerleading.  We were all confident that the risks were minimal, but we could not previously reach a (good news) conclusion as strong as the one in the paper.

The list of key conclusions in the paper:

  • Even when compared to workplace standards for involuntary exposures, and using several conservative (erring on the side of caution) assumptions, the exposures from using e-cigarettes fall well below the threshold for concern for compounds with known toxicity. That is, even ignoring the benefits of e-cigarette use and the fact that the exposure is actively chosen, and even comparing to the levels that are considered unacceptable to people who are not benefiting from the exposure and do not want it, the exposures would not generate concern or call for remedial action.
  • Expressed concerns about nicotine only apply to vapers who do not wish to consume it; a voluntary (indeed, intentional) exposure is very different from a contaminant.
  • There is no serious concern about the contaminants such as volatile organic compounds (formaldehyde, acrolein, etc.) in the liquid or produced by heating.  While these contaminants are present, they have been detected at problematic levels only in a few studies that apparently were based on unrealistic levels of heating.
  • The frequently stated concern about contamination of the liquid by a nontrivial quantity of ethylene glycol or diethylene glycol remains based on a single sample of an early technology product (and even this did not rise to the level of health concern) and has not been replicated.
  • Tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNA) are present in trace quantities and pose no more (likely much less) threat to health than TSNAs from modern smokeless tobacco products, which cause no measurable risk for cancer.
  • Contamination by metals is shown to be at similarly trivial levels that pose no health risk, and the alarmist claims about such contamination are based on unrealistic assumptions about the molecular form of these elements.
  • The existing literature tends to overestimate the exposures and exaggerate their implications.  This is partially due to rhetoric, but also results from technical features.  The most important is confusion of the concentration in aerosol, which on its own tells us little about risk to heath, with the relevant and much smaller total exposure to compounds in the aerosol averaged across all air inhaled in the course of a day.  There is also clear bias in previous reports in favor of isolated instances of highest level of chemical detected across multiple studies, such that average exposure that can be calculated are higher than true value because they are “missing” all true zeros.
  • Routine monitoring of liquid chemistry is easier and cheaper than assessment of aerosols.  Combined with an understanding of how the chemistry of the liquid affects the chemistry of the aerosol and insights into behavior of vapers, this can serve as a useful tool to ensure the safety of e-cigarettes.
  • The only unintentional exposures (i.e., not the nicotine) that seem to rise to the level that they are worth further research are the carrier chemicals themselves, propylene glycol and glycerin.  This exposure is not known to cause health problems, but the magnitude of the exposure is novel and thus is at the levels for concern based on the lack of reassuring data.

It is worth expanding on the observation about propylene glycol and glycerin a bit:  While there is no affirmative reason to believe that the level of exposure experienced by vapers is hazardous, we have never before had a situation where millions of people had such a high level of exposure.  Thus it is worth gathering data on what happens, just to make sure there is no small subtle effect.  This contrasts with the levels of the much-hyped contaminants, which pose no concern at all.  It is also important to remember that this refers to the vaper herself; there is no such caution for bystanders, who have far far lower levels of exposure.

This paper should immediately become a central point in all political advocacy to stop anti-e-cigarette regulations, as well as trying to encourage smokers to adopt THR.  The key talking point that should be used is this (my words, not Burstyn’s):

The only expert review of all of the studies found that there was no risk from the chemicals to vapers, let alone bystanders.  This took into consideration the studies that you are referring to [note: assuming this is being used as a rebuttal to some claim of chemical hazards].  Indeed, even the results of the studies that have been used to generate alarm represented levels of chemicals that were too low to be of concern.

For those of you who have any comments for the author, particularly peer review (or even non-peer review) comments for improving on the working paper before it is submitted to a journal[*], please use the comments section of this post.  The author has agreed to monitor one page (this one), but will probably not see it if you post a comment at another blog, on ECF, etc.

[*Footnote: To head off a concern I have heard a few times, no, there is not a problem with the author releasing a working paper before submitting to a journal.  A handful of medical and general-science journals — those that are trying to sell copies as if they were a glossy magazine — like to have “exclusives” of previously secret studies (which, by the way, is why they publish far more papers that are shown to be wrong than do more serious journals).  Serious science journals generally prefer that the paper is circulated and commented on before they are asked to deal with it.  Indeed, in several of the more serious sciences (public health will catch up in a few decades — perhaps), working paper versions are considered the key source of scientific communication, and the eventual appearance in a journal is more of an afterthought and happens long after everyone has already read the paper.  Real peer review is what starts now (here) when every interested expert can read and comment, rather than at a journal where a couple of people with their limited knowledge are the only ones reviewing it.

[Of course, that knowledge does not help you if you are dealing with people who do not understand how science works and are not likely to listen long enough to learn.  There will be retorts of “that is not a peer-reviewed publication” (which is actually not true — it was reviewed before the author released it).  Your best talking point in response to that is something like, “So are you saying that in a few months, when the paper appears in a journal, you will agree that it is all correct and change your position?”  If you are responding to someone who claims to be an expert, you can add “So, why don’t you just review it like other expert readers have done, or are you admitting that you are not expert enough to do so?”

[UPDATE 3 vers.2: Later posts here that relate to this study can be found at this tag.]

88 responses to “Breaking News: New study shows no risk from e-cigarette contaminants

  1. This is superb news. Thanks to CASAA and to all vapers who contributed to the funding of this important study.

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  3. Reblogged this on The Flying Vapor and commented:
    Your CASAA Contributions at Work! You know what to do…

  4. Brilliant, just brilliant. The end (surely). would have thought the THR argument triumphed without science (just logic), but a bit of lovely science goes a long way :)

  5. Excellent information. Should be a must read for all skeptics. Thank you CASAA and everyone who contributed.

  6. There was a study done on monkeys with propylene glycol for an extended amount of time. The only side effects were dry skin, eye irritation (with direct contact with eye), and some may have allergies.

  7. Adam Williams

    This is excellent, many thanks to CASSA for what could well be a game changer!
    Suggestion. I note that there is still a question mark regarding the long term exposure to PG. I have been selling e-cigs ‘directly’ to the public via my bricks and mortar shop for almost three years now. The feed back I’m receiving from my customers (and I’ve noticed this in myself) is that a pattern has appeared where not only do they feel the obvious benefits of tobacco abstinence but that they have lesser occasions where less obvious ailments such as the common cold and flu symptoms have decreased.Could the anti viral qualities of PG be a positive contributing factor? Would this be area worth investigating further? Oh dear, less cold remedies could be another dent in BP’s pockets or perhaps they already know this.

    • Carl V Phillips

      That is a reasonable hypothesis, but requires some different methods to investigate, so it is not part of this research. The bad news (from the perspective of this research) might be that if it has enough effect to have those benefits, then it might (might!) have enough effect to have some harms too. Assessing that is complicated by the fact that smokers get more symptomatic cases of those diseases than those who are completely abstinent, so that has to be controlled for, which is difficult for any individual to do. People who complain about anecdotes not being useful information when referring to testimonials about how THR helped someone quit smoking do not know what they are talking about — they half understand the concept but not why it is true (and thus when it is not). But colds etc. would be a case where individual stories are not useful because individuals have no way of knowing what colds they would be experiencing if completely abstinent (unlike their ability to assess whether they would still be smoking without e-cigarettes).

    • I have been using these for over 4 years now and also noticed that I do not suffer from cold and other respiratorial issues as I used to. I did not know that others noticed the same thing. Very interesting. I have three kids of young ages who always bring nasty bugs from school back home during winter times. But the last 4 years, I got nothing. My wife and kids sometimes get sick, but not me. Which is how I connected the fact of vaping with apparently being more resistant to bugs.
      Amazing to hear there might actually be something there… Very interesting.

      • I used to get frequent colds. I’ve not had a single cold since taking up e-cigarettes 5 years ago. There are a lot of people posting on ECF who report similar effects.

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  9. johnny Delgao

    now to get this to the FDA level so it will actually matter. Showing scientific proof that the vapor emitted from ecig’s is insignificant to even the person person vaping let alone a bystander is what is needed to stop getting ecig smokers harrased, but until it is put out by the FDA it will not be recognized by those lobbying against the usage of ecigs in public places. CASAA is a great organization, however any privitly funded research will always be accused of being bias. It’s a step in the right direction for vapors, but it’s honestly no different then GNC claiming product is scientificly proven to promote weight loss. Then putting the *This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA, which mean the scientificly proven means nothing.

    • Carl V Phillips

      Fortunately, it is not quite the same as that. This is independent research by someone with no stake in the outcome. It is true that merchants might not be able to quote from it nevertheless, but it is as solid as it gets. FDA does not actually do much research itself — it uses work like this.

  10. THis is very good, but will it have any effect? After all it doesn’t address the real reason for the anti-e-cig lobby: Money. While the Pharmaceutical industry stands to lose billions of euros, there will be opposition. At the level of government or EU Commission, the concern is not, and has never been, about public health.

  11. This is a useful paper, thanks for your work on it.

    A suggestion for improvement might be, from the perspective of somebody interested, but not an expert in these particular occupational exposure limits – which are central to the conclusions – is to have a bit more discussion of the origins of TLVs for the exposures in question in the paper, and their supporting evidence.

    There is some discussion in the paper about how different authorities take different views (e.g. the Dutch agency adopts more conservative limits), which raises questions around ‘well, how do we know our TLVs are the right ones?’ (Obviously there are orders of magnitude difference here, but still…)

    I think it would make it more of a ‘stand alone’ read to the interested non-expert if there was brief discussion of the process by which the TLV limits used are derived, their strengths etc, especially for these particular exposures. This could include some justification of the fact they are accepted/appropriate to use as a comparison in this type of analysis, any controversies or lack of controversy about their use etc.

    It seems from what the ACGIH say that their positions are based on a consensus review type process, presumably with a mixture of toxicology, human and animal studies… but it would be nice if some discussion of this was included in the paper. This isn’t a major thing, but might strengthen it, especially for readers who are not coming directly from an environmental health background.

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  13. There’s a misspelling on page 11, first line.. “vapers” should be “vapors.”

    “current data do not indicate that exposures to vapers from contaminants in
    electronic cigarettes warrant a concern”

    Sorry I can’t help with the science..

    • I believe he’s referring to vapers in the sense of a person vaping (such as a smoker is a person who smokes), not the actual vapor emanating from the ecig itself.

    • Actually, “vapers” is the correct usage. “Vapors” refer to the physical airborne particles. “Vapers” refer to people who use Personal Vaporizers and/or electronic cigarettes.

    • Jonathan Bagley

      Carl is writing for English readers. There is no such word as “vapors”. Only “vapers” (a recently made up word for people who vape) and “vapours” (clouds of suspended liquid droplets). More seriously, in American, “vapors” is the equivalent of “vapours”, so is not correct.

      • Carl V Phillips

        That was in the original — Burstyn’s writing not mine (he was writing in American English, btw). And it was correct as noted (but I do not want to discourage suggested edits — thank you to the original commenter for posting! — the author can decide if something is really wrong, so it never hurts to get a suggestion).

        What I think is interesting about the style Burstyn adopted is to not follow the common technical misnomer (because that is proper for a scientific article), referring to aerosol, not “vapor”, because the latter actually has a technical meaning which is not an accurate description. I.e., “vapor” is not vapor (gas), it is aerosol (suspended particulates). But at the same time, he engages in the proper scientific conduct of using the accepted vocabulary of a studied group of people when talking about them as people — i.e., he uses “vaper”. That alone is an important step in the direction of serious ethical science on this topic (albeit one that is so subtle I am not sure how many people noticed it).

    • It’s a pity the majority of electronic cigarettes related conversations I have in real life (i.e. while explaining something about electronic cigarettes to a total stranger) end up in a simple refusal to listen to any reasonable arguments. I remember myself being offended by the mere fact of smoking a “fake” the first time I’ve heard about EC. Right now, thanks to this study, I have something that looks credible as well as simple enough to understand. Thank you very much for this study and all valuable comments.

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  17. For the many avid readers of Stanton Glantz’s blog here, he has written about this today, focusing on the use of TLVs being inappropriate. (Which is what I suspected might happen – hence even more reason for putting a discussion of this in the paper itself, as per my previous comment.)

    • Carl V Phillips

      “Today” actually being yesterday — as in he launched his knee-jerk attack on the paper and Prof Burstyn within hours of the paper being released. There is no better indication that the ANTZ know this is a serious threat to their plans. (It is also a clear indication that they do not care about learning anything, let alone good news for tobacco/nicotine product users, and just see research as a game for furthering their rhetoric, but we knew that.) I put it on the list of things for Prof Burstyn to peruse sometime, but there was no point in any of us doing so rapidly since it is well documented that Glantz censors comments he does not like from his blog, so there is no point in responding. (That contrasts with here, of course, where Glantz would be free to post a comment with no risk of censorship.)

      It turns out, however, that I did not need to note it, because there is already an email discussion going among the experts about what Glantz got wrong (something that would normally appear in a blog’s comments, of course, but for the above issue of censorship).

      • Disagree with those tactics and think it would be worth trying to post a comment anyway. Then he would have to block the comment and take an affirmative action to avoid discussion (even if it has happened in the past, it might not happen this time – this could be your black swan!) And if the comment was moderated out, the argument set out in the comment can just be reposted here anyway (so there is little time or effort wasted) with a note that it was rejected on his blog – which can only strengthen your position. Without having made the effort to do so, it seems a bit pre-emptively sulky to say ‘not going to bother, it’ll only get censored…’ But, your choice I guess.

        In any event. I hope that you’ll be able to repost your/Prof Burstyn’s thoughts on the appropriateness of TLV here or elsewhere when ready, rather than keeping it confined to private emails. Even without TLV, it’s still a useful summary of the quantifiable aspects of existing research of course, but because TLV does feature so centrally in the paper, it is worth more elaboration and discussion.

        • Carl V Phillips

          Side bet on whether Tom’s comment is posted, then?

          Glantz’s comments are typical of religious zealots like him, who use science the way a drunk uses a lamppost (for support, not illumination). When a lamp is particularly illuminating and not at all supportive of his view, he just makes up what ever he can think of to tear it down. He does not seem to understand occupational exposure limits or how they are derived. But more important: He does not ever argue that the conclusions of the study are wrong (he can’t!). He does not propose a different standard that would make the numbers look bad (he can’t). He just says “there is some imperfection here, and therefore even though this is the best available science, my completely unsupported position must still be right”.

          As I noted in response to a recent post by Chris Snowdon, Glantz’s main contribution to science is as a shibboleth: He makes so many obviously false claims that anyone who takes him seriously about anything is clearly indicating that they do not know what they are doing.

        • Side bet on whether Tom’s comment is posted, then?

          Hey, I’ll suggest it in a comment I have to invest nothing in, but I’m not losing money over it! WhaddyathinkIam!?!

        • Well, there is no sign of either mine or Rursus’ comment appearing anyway :P

        • Every know and then… incredible signs and wonders happen:

          Glantz has released the comments.

        • Carl V Phillips

          I wonder if my comments two posts after this (you can follow the link in the update at the bottom of the post) about his page not being a real blog might have embarrassed him into doing that.

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  20. It’s a good piece of work and it was inevitable that Glantz would attack it, but while arguing that TLVs is not an appropriate measure may have some validity, the levels were <5% of TLV, As such, it's a rather pointless line of attack.
    The first posted comment has a great scare about formaldehyde, which Prof Glantz (or should that be Glance?) clearly liked. My response to it is much less likely to see the light of day, so I'll share it here instead:

    "I wonder if you would care to comment on the fact that the 16ug/m3 formaldehyde result in Schripp's data, which you hold up as a wonderful example of the danger posed from one e-cig is actually the cumulative result of 3 e-cigs, as well as a noticeable increase prior to the use of any ecigs at all due to the metabolism of the participant? In fact the study author explicitly stated that "continuous monitoring showed only a slight increase in the formaldehyde concentration…. before and during the consumption of the three 'liquids'…This might be caused by the person in the chamber itself… and the increase was already observed during the conditioning phase". Formaldehyde was also below the limit of detection when the vapour was measured in a 10 litre vessel, at less than 2ug/m3, providing a strong indication that the level of formaldehyde you are so concerned about is predominantly a risk associated with sharing an 8m3 space with one or more persons, and that the use of electronic cigarettes has little effect on this.

    Cherry picking a single result is pointless, stupid and does not help the credibility of your position."

    It's typical hyper risk adverse stuff, with no practical value in the real world.

    • Carl V Phillips

      Thanks for posting that here. As people who actually read the paper will know, Burstyn noted that this result was clearly better called lab methods error than evidence that this exposure actually happens (my paraphrase). Glantz probably does not understand that human bodies outgas a lot (by comparison to e-cigarettes) of formaldehyde. This would be rather consistent with his post a few months ago when he tried to make an issue of the acetic acid exposure from vaping, which is far less than you get from smelling the vinegar on your salad.

      Let us know if your comment appears.

    • I’ve tried to comment at Mr Glantz Blog, too.

      Here is what I wrote:

      Dear Mr Repace,

      you should read the study of Schripp and Salthammer properly!

      The emissions of formaldehyde did not come from the ecigarette but from the person who vaped the ecig.

      Schripp et al. wrote in their study “Does e-cigarette consumption cause passive vaping?” [1] :

      “This might be caused by the person in the chamber itself, because people are known to exhale formaldehyde in low amounts (Riess et
      al., 2010) and the increase was already observed during the conditioning phase (Fig-ure 2).”

      What Salthammer knew exactly, because he published a study in 2010 named “Formaldehyde in the Indoor Environment” [2].

      At least in this study, the source of formaldehyde was the human being – 16 ug/m3 … is (SURPRISE!) the amount of formaldehyde a human exhales in 90 minutes.

      If you really sounding the “cancer-alarm” on this study, you should be alarmed of the risk of “Second Hand Breathing” ;)




      • Carl V Phillips

        Nicely argued. Note that we have covered that in this blog before: (similar to your point) and a few others like

        • Just another source for “amount of formaldehyde (methanal) in human breath”:

          “In non-smokers, exhalation contains FA in the order of 0.001 to 0.01 mg/m3”


          “No statistically significant difference between smokers and
          non-smokers was observed for the productions at m/z=31 and 33 (compounds tentatively identified as formaldehyde and methanol).”

          In accordance with Kushch et al., exhalation contains formaldehyde in order of 0.001 to 0.01 mg/m3 (per breath).
          To reach the measured 16 µg/m3 or 0.016 mg/m3 formaldehyde from Schripp et al. a human being has to breath 16 times: 16 x 0.001 mg = 0.016 mg/m3.

        • Much as I hate to poke holes in sensible people’s science :p
          The concentration isn’t simply additive, as the volume exhaled will be a few litres per breath, and it will be diluted by the volume of the room air (several thousand litres), reducing the concentration.

        • Carl V Phillips

          I think we need to get an expert in to comment on this subtopic. Fortunately we have an expert in this :-). I will ask Dr Burstyn to comment on it when he gets a chance.

        • A ‘common sense’ test will also tell you this is unlikely – otherwise the concentration of formaldehyde would be expected to have risen by 0.016 mg/m3 every 30 seconds or so (16 breaths), rather than reaching a peak of that after the 3rd vaping session.
          Logic also tells us that exhaling 1 litre of breath containing formaldehyde into a room with a volume of 8000 litres will dilute it by 8000 times (assuming no volume change, complete mixing and no deposition or degradation) since the amount of formaldehyde is fixed, but it is now spread across much more volume.

          But I’d certainly welcome Dr Burstyn’s input all the same.

        • Sure!
          The amount of formaldehyde in the air depends on the air exchange,
          room size. You know it – I know it!
          But: Mr Repace argues strictly at the “output from ecigs”.

          However: The exhaltion of 0.001 to 0.01 mg/m3 formaldehyde is an fact. If you measure this in a 8 m3 chamber (air exchange rate of 0.3/h) like Schripp – you will get the results like Schripp: After 90 minutes a human being will contaminate the 8 m3 chamber with 16 ug/m3 (or 128ug/chamber) formaldehyde.

          It would be nice, if some expert can validate the numbers.

      • I came across this a few days ago unrelated to this story (actually found it the night before this news broke). Thought it might be good for future arguments maybe?

        • Good find. The EPA limit is clearly bonkers, just from the perspective of the amount of formaldehyde generated by people. I’m not surprised that others have recognised the inherent flaw in such a low limit.

          Well, unless people are going to be banned in California as Prop 65 toxins :P

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  22. Excellent paper. It is comprehensive and technical enough for the medical community, yet understandable for a lay person with a good working knowledge of biology and chemistry (like myself). Perhaps the tables could be amended to show the contaminants and their levels compared to the Threshold Total Limit Values found in regular cigarettes; and also some more discussion in the prose section. This would be helpful to me and the the tens of thousands of others who have finally found an effective smoking cessation product. It would highlight the fact that the research on the levels of organic and inorganic toxins in e-cigarettes focuses on infinitesimal amounts compared to those found in conventional cigarettes, aka “analogs.” Thank you for your hard, careful, and clearly unbiased work on this paper, and best of luck in your peer review and publication.

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  25. Carl V Phillips

    Just to park the observation somewhere, this seems to be the first press story to mention the study (other than running the press release):

  26. In researching PG a while ago, I came upon these extreme exposure studies showing no effect:

    A NIOSH study on the inhalation exposure of airport personnel using PG deicers (800 gallons forced through high pressure hoses for a 6-hour shift) found…nothing of concern. Breathing zone air samples indicated exposures of up to 94 mg/m3 for one hapless worker, with the average in a range of from 10-21. The researcher concluded:

    “[T]here was no hazard from overexposure to deicing fluid..Airborne exposure to propylene glycol was low and propylene glycol has low toxicity.”–(cerhr ,op cit)

    In another experiment, subjects spent an hour in a tightly-sealed tent filled with 10% PG aerosol mist. Again, “very little enter[ed] the lung.” And even that aside:

    “The short half-life before saturation of metabolism does not allow the build-up of toxicologically relevant doses.” (Bau, cerhr, op cit)

    In a final experiment (a staged simulation of an airline disaster) using PG mist, irritation wasn’t observed until exposure levels averaged (179-851) 309 mg/m3.
    Source of all the above: chemicals/egpg/propylene/PG-Report_Final.pdf

    Yet I do have a question. I have intermittent (and when it occurs, maddening) tinnitus, usually only set off by salycilates, antibiotics or loud noise, Yet I experienced strong attacks immediately after trying (the terrific) NJOY King on several different occasions and a lesser one after trying Blu (which alternatively uses vegetable glycerin). I then read that PG is a middle ear irritant which causes inflammation. Is there a possible true biological connection to be considered here, or is this just coincidental. IOW, what if anything is known about PG’s (and therefore e-cigs’) effect on the ear?

    • Carl V Phillips

      Thanks for the info and reference. I know that there can be sensitization to PG (kind of like an allergy; reaction gets worse with more exposure), but I am no expert on that side of things. Anyone know more? Of course, it is an easy enough experiment to perform on yourself to see if the specific product is really causing it (i.e., try one again and see what happens), though if it is really bad or getting worse each time, you might not want to do that.

  27. I’ve been vaping for a couple months and from what I have gathered, I don’t see much risk in PG/VG and pure nicotine. But I always wonder with all the different extracts used for flavoring, if there may be adverse effects to any of these. These are safe for ingestion… but how about your lungs? These are the same substances used in making hard candies and such. Any thoughts on this?

    • Since food flavours are broadly speaking only safe if they have a ready means of metabolism or excretion by the body, there is probably little risk in inhaling them. That said, there are some flavours, which while they are safely metabolised if ingested have identified inhalation risks (diacetyl and related di-ketones) , so it is possible that there will be some risk from flavours. On the other hand, the inhalation of smoke also has clearly identified health risks, and there isn’t any real likelihood of anything in ecig vapour being even remotely anywhere near as dangerous. At the end of the day, nothing is risk free – you can, for example find the much quoted carcinogenic nitrosamines in bacon, (but that doesn’t stop everything being better with bacon) and of course there is now the alleged risk of sharing poorly ventilated spaces with not only other people, but even yourself. Avoiding risk is a game of ever diminishing returns – many of them are simply unavoidable in anything resembling a normal life, especially if you actually want to live rather than merely exist.

  28. Pingback: Glantz vs. Burstyn – hardly a fair fight | Anti-THR Lies and related topics

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  32. Fun fact: Wikipedia refuses to allow any claims based on the Drexel study at this point in time.

    • Carl V Phillips

      Thanks for discovering and reporting that. But not too surprising.

      Presumably you saw my comments about Glantz using Wikipedia (two posts after this one). That is typical. Wikipedia articles about scientific controversies are almost always the work of one anonymous and highly non-expert editor who somehow has a personal view in mind and guards them against changes. This applies to scientific controversies that are not at all political also. Would you trust a review of complicated science that appeared as an unsigned editorial in your local newspaper? Trusting Wikipedia on those is pretty similar.

  33. Please send this studí to Hungarian Prime Minister Mr. Viktor Orbán and leader of healthcare mr. Miklós Szócska.

    • Carl V Phillips

      Feel free to pass it on to anyone. I think that if I were forwarding anyone’s work to the Hungarian government, I would feel compelled to go with Kim Scheppele — not that it would matter, but it seems like the right thing to do.

  34. the evidence presented in this study on ecigs is surely impressive however the politicians and media do have their own business interests to look after.

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  36. Pingback: VCignature – A REAL Study on Eliquid and Vaper!!!

  37. Pingback: Science By Press Release: Is French Study A Cynical Attempt to Smear Electronic Cigarettes?

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  39. I smoked for 35 years and never thought I could quit. I started vaping a couple of months ago and haven’t had a cigarette since. I never thought I would be able to quit but here I am, a non-smoker at last.

    • Congratulations! I make a habit of liking, upvoting, +1ing or in other unobtrusive ways expressing my support for anyone breaking the habit. Here you get it in comment form.

  40. Good article. Only gripe is the bit where you expand positively on the part where more research is required. I would remove the words “small, subtle” before effect. As until research is held over a lengthy period of time we have no knowledge of the effect at all be it small, large, subtle or blatant.

    That said I’m an avid vaper and the news is largely pleasing. As you say time will tell. Fingers crossed.

  41. Pingback: Science By Press Release: Is French Study A Cynical Attempt to Smear Electronic Cigarettes? | Ashtray Blog: An Electronic Cigarette Blog

  42. Pingback: So who wants to humor the new girls questions? :) - Page 3

  43. Pingback: Scientific claims in the FDA deeming regulation (part 4 of ???) | Anti-THR Lies and related topics

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  45. Maria (Mia) Lingenfelter

    Thank you

  46. Pingback: Post publication peer-review: Correction to Burstyn (2014) and related matters | Anti-THR Lies and related topics

  47. Pingback: Phillips and Burstyn departure from CASAA | Anti-THR Lies and related topics


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