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Is Formaldehyde in Your E-Cig? Is Formaldehyde in Your E-Cig?

It’s been recently discovered that you may be ingesting formaldehyde in your electronic cigarette. A study recently released by Portland State University conducted an experiment where they s16086392978_e1983b710e_bimulated the respiratory tract by drawing the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette through a syringe, which allowed them to conduct a chemical analysis of the vapor. The results were fairly surprising; they found masked formaldehyde in in the vapor. Masked formaldehyde is a slightly different form of the chemical than the regular version. Masked formaldehyde is thought to be worse for you because it’s more likely to be deposited into the lung. This form of formaldehyde was found in the e-cig vapor at levels 5 to 15 times that found in a traditional cigarette. Normal cigarettes contain .15 milligrams of formaldehyde. Electronic cigarettes generate around 14 milligrams of formaldehyde, which is then inhaled by the vaper.

Graph acquired from: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1413069

Graph acquired from: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1413069

However, this does not mean that all electronic cigarettes are dangerous. An important part to note in the study is that masked formaldehyde was not detected when the e-cig was set to a low voltage. This dramatic increase happens when the electronic cigarette is set at particularly high voltages, which is possible in most mods today. Also, the study said that if a vaper were to inhale for 100 seconds, they would be inhaling 100 times more formaldehyde than what’s found in a traditional cigarette. This is a pretty unreasonable argument, since I think it’s physically impossible to be inhaling vapor for that long of a time period. This study was also performed to simulate a high-voltage setting, tank-style mod. Not a cigalike (an electronic cigarette that is roughly the size of a cigarette and looks very similar to one). These devices operate at a much lower voltage than tank-style mods, which means that they are probably much safer for you since they’re not getting the e-liquid as hot. They also never mentioned any type of cigalike in the study.  Major companies such as V2 publish detailed testing reports of all their cigalike cartridge flavors on their website.  They test each batch of cartridges, e-liquids, disposables, and express kit packages to ensure that the products they are providing are of the utmost quality.  I’ve personally looked through their results, and there is no mention of formaldehyde in the data.  The fact that they post results for each batch of their products says wonders about their confidence in the products they are providing, and I will continue to use their products since they can prove that they are safe for consumer use.

Another thing about this study that I’m left wondering is what they consider a “high voltage”. Some variable wattage mods can get up to a very high wattage and voltage, but I doubt that many vapers use these extremely-high settings all the time. Since there was no formaldehyde detected when it was vaped at a low voltage, it puts me at ease while using the cigalike electronic cigarettes that I own.

Do you think that electronic cigarettes are a completely safe alternative to smoking? Should there be stricter laws and regulations on electronic cigarettes? Does more research need to be done in this area? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Dustin Erickson

Dustin Erickson - ECR.net Editor

Dustin can lay claim as one the first e-cigarette reviewers on the internet. Back in the summer of 2009 he set out on a mission to spread the word about e-cigs with this very site. Nearly 2.5 Million visitors, 1,700 Reviews collected and 5 years later, he’s still as passionate as ever and one of the leading Vaping advocates online.