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Vaping is ‘5 orders of magnitude lower’ in carcinogens than smoking, says study

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A new vaping study conducted by a group of Italian researchers shows that the vapor from electronic cigarettes is many thousands of times lower in carcinogens than the smoke from conventional cigarettes. Anti-tobacco groups often claim that further research is needed before they will endorse vaping as a tobacco harm reduction tool. The Italians have finally provided this much-needed data.

Meanwhile, this vaping study is very unique because the team of researchers are actually world-class mechanical engineers rather than tobacco control scientists. Two of the co-authors are Dr. Mauro Scungio and Dr. Luca Stabile from the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering of the University of Cassino. The third member of the team of engineering experts is Giorgio Buonanno, a Professor of Thermodynamics at the University of Naples.

Overview of the Italian vaping study

With such impressive credentials, it’s difficult to understand why this vaping study is not being taken more seriously by the mainstream media in the United States. The fact that a team of highly respected engineers is looking at vaping from a completely different viewpoint sheds some remarkable new insights into its many health benefits. The Italian vaping study entitled Measurements of electronic cigarette-generated particles for the evaluation of lung cancer risk of active and passive users is readily available in the Journal of Aerosol Science.

The vaping study begins by building upon a previously published paper entitled, Comparing the cancer potencies of emissions from vapourised nicotine products including e-cigarettes with those of tobacco smoke, which is published on the Tobacco Control BMJ website. But the Italians take their research a few steps farther by comparing vaping and smoking to the new heat-not-burn technology manufactured by Big Tobacco companies like Phillips Morris and others.

  • By using a contraption called a Condensation Particle Counter, the Italians measured the surface area and particle sizes of carcinogens commonly associated with combustible tobacco smoke.
  • Another device called a Fast Mobility Particle Sizer spectrometer measured the carcinogenic distribution levels of the e-cig vapor, cigarette smoke, and heat-not-burn smoke respectively.
  • Dilution levels of the air quality were simultaneously monitored using a combination of mechanical engineering gadgets including a Submicrometer Aerosol Generator, an Aerosol Electrometer a Thermal Conditione, and a Rotating Disk Thermodiluter.
  • All measurements were compiled down to only a few nanometers of accuracy.
  • Vaping was conducted at two different temperatures to allow for a wide range of vaper preference and habits.
  • Vaping temperatures used included 37 °C and 300 °C.

What the Italian engineers discovered is that heat-not-burn technology produces smoke that is about 100 times lower in carcinogens than that of combustible cigarettes. Meanwhile, the vapor for e-cigs is “five orders of magnitude lower,” or approximately 57,000 times lower in carcinogens compared to tobacco cigarettes.

“The corresponding ELCR value of mainstream EC aerosol (6.11–7.26×10−6) is 5 orders of magnitude lower than that of mainstream traditional cigarettes smoke, and also lower than the guideline values defined by EPA and WHO. Particle number concentrations equal to 6.30–9.08×103 part. cm−3 with bi-modal distribution (at 30 nm and 90 nm) and surface area concentrations of 5.16–5.90×107 nm2 cm−3 (at 300 °C), respectively, were measured in second-hand aerosol of ECs, leading to extremely low values of ELCR due to the exposure to second-hand EC aerosol (1.24–2.70×10−8).”

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