It seems like critics are constantly trying to come up with a new and improved way to condemn electronic cigarettes. This week, we’ve seen multiple media outlets latch onto a new study from USC that claimed ecig vapor contained four toxic metals. At first glance, this looks like bad news for the vaping industry, but if you actually read the research, it’s clear that this new study actually provided some positive results. With a little fact checking, it’s clear that ecig vapor isn’t as toxic as scientists want you to think.
This new study actually revealed that ecig vapor was 10 times less toxic than cigarette smoke. The researchers found “close-to-zero” carcinogens linked to cancer, which once again affirms that vaping is a smart alternative to tobacco cigarettes. The data also shows low levels of four metals found in ecig vapor. While no toxin is good news, the levels actually were not very high when compared to normal everyday exposure through ordinary life.
For instance, the scientists reported finding 0.175 micrograms of nickel in ecig vapor. This converts to 17.5 nanograms, which is well below the tolerable limit that experts set at 1000 nanograms per day. People are exposed to nickel on a routine basis and never even know it. For example, if you cook tomato sauce in a stainless steel pan, after just 10 cooking cycles, your sauce will contain 88 nanograms of nickel per serving! That means that eating a bowl of your grandma’s famous marinara sauce could give you more nickel exposure than inhaling ecig vapor.
The researchers also reported finding 0.3 micrograms (30 nanograms) of chromium, which raised additional concern. However, chromium toxicity isn’t a problem until you consume 1900-3300 nanograms! In fact, a small serving of broccoli provides 11 micrograms of chromium! This metal is found in dozens of foods, dietary supplements, and even in drinking water.
While it certainly raises red flags to hear that ecig vapor contains these toxic metals, we have to really put the data into perspective to understand the actual risk. If tomato sauce and broccoli are offering much higher levels of toxins, then why isn’t the FDA rushing to regulate those products? It’s obvious that health agencies are being quite selective about which products deserve their undivided attention. It’s unfortunate that ecigs have become such a big focus when the scientific data shows that the toxicity levels are quite low and they are far less harmful than cigarettes.
Our regulating agencies would serve the American people much better if they focused on ending the sales of tobacco cigarettes rather than creating the seemingly endless obstacles for electronic cigarettes. If ecigs are 10 times less harmful than cigarettes as this new data suggests, then why are regulators so determined to kill the vaping industry just as it really starts to grow?! What will it take for legislators and regulating agencies to treat electronic cigarettes with the respect that they deserve?