E-cigarette manufacturers often advertise their products as being safer than traditional cigarettes because they don’t include tobacco or any of the related cancer-causing chemicals. But several recent studies are now calling that claim into question, as the nicotine solutions used in these devices contain other chemicals and byproducts tied to health problems.
On March 8, 2017, for example, the scientific journal PLoS One published a study showing that electronic cigarettes can produce a vapor that includes the chemical benzene. The American Cancer Society states that benzene is known to cause cancer.
Study Shows E-Cigarettes Can Release Cancer-Causing Benzene
Most nicotine solutions created for use in e-cigarette devices contain nicotine as well as propylene glycol, glycerol, diacetyl, and flavoring chemicals. When users “vape” on the devices, they suck on the e-cigarette, and a heating element heats up the solution to create the inhaled nicotine vapor.
Though the chemicals in the solution may be considered safe while in liquid form, some studies show that when they are heated, they can produce byproducts that are dangerous to human health.
For the study, researchers tested three e-cigarette devices, including the JUUL pod system, the EVOD atomizer, and the Subtask Nano tank-type atomizer. The nicotine solutions tested included the ingredients propylene glycol, glycerol benzoic acid, and the flavor chemical genzaldehyde.
Benzene was not detected in the JUUL system. However, results showed that benzene was detected in the other two products, which are tank-type devices. With these devices, benzene was formed from propylene glycol and glycerol, and from the additives benzoic acid and benzaldehyde, especially at high power settings.
For example, one device used at high power to heat an e-cigarette solution that included additive chemicals benzoic acid and benzaldehyde produced benzene levels thousands of times higher than that present in normal ambient air. The levels