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Second-hand smoke from e-cigarettes contains toxic metals, researchers say

Breathing in second-hand smoke from e-cigarettes can be compared to exposure to regular tobacco cigarette smoke.

Lisa Rennie, Daily Digest News, Sep 1, 2014

Although e-cigarettes are somewhat safer compared to regular cigarettes, they can still release dangerous toxins into the air.

According to new research from USC, an overall 10-fold decrease in exposure to carcinogenic particles has been discovered. However, there are still certain levels of harmful metals in the air released from second-hand e-cigarette smoke that were found to be quite high.

Lead study author Arian Saffari, a PhD student at USC Viterbi, and colleagues sought to quantify the level of exposure to harmful organics and metals emitted from e-cigarette smoke, hoping to provide some insight for the regulatory authorities.

“The metal particles likely come from the cartridge of the e-cigarette devices themselves - which opens up the possibility that better manufacturing standards for the devices could reduce the quantity of metals in the smoke. Studies of this kind are necessary for implementing effective regulatory measures. E-cigarettes are so new, there just isn’t much research available on them yet,” said Saffari in a statement.

The researchers conducted all experiments indoors in offices and rooms, considering the fact that these are the environments where one would most likely be exposed to second-hand smoke. Particles from the indoor air were collected as the study participants smoked e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes. The chemical content was then assessed.

They discovered that although e-cigarettes seem to be less harmful than regular tobacco cigarettes, their elevated level of toxic metals raises concerns.

The findings of the study are published in the Journal of Environmental Science, Processes and Impacts.

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