Comparison of the effects of e-cigarette vapor and cigarette smoke on indoor air quality

Authors: McAuley, T. R.1; Hopke, P. K.2; Zhao, J.2; Babaian, S.3

Source: Inhalation Toxicology, Volume 24, Number 12, October 2012 , pp. 850-857(8)

Publisher: Informa Healthcare

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Context: Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have earned considerable attention recently as an alternative to smoking tobacco, but uncertainties about their impact on health and indoor air quality have resulted in proposals for bans on indoor e-cigarette use.

Objective: To assess potential health impacts relating to the use of e-cigarettes, a series of studies were conducted using e-cigarettes and standard tobacco cigarettes.

Methods and materials: Four different high nicotine e-liquids were vaporized in two sets of experiments by generic 2-piece e-cigarettes to collect emissions and assess indoor air concentrations of common tobacco smoke by products. Tobacco cigarette smoke tests were conducted for comparison.

Results: Comparisons of pollutant concentrations were made between e-cigarette vapor and tobacco smoke samples. Pollutants included VOCs, carbonyls, PAHs, nicotine, TSNAs, and glycols. From these results, risk analyses were conducted based on dilution into a 40 m3 room and standard toxicological data. Non-cancer risk analysis revealed “No Significant Risk” of harm to human health for vapor samples from e-liquids (A-D). In contrast, for tobacco smoke most findings markedly exceeded risk limits indicating a condition of “Significant Risk” of harm to human health. With regard to cancer risk analysis, no vapor sample from e-liquids A-D exceeded the risk limit for either children or adults. The tobacco smoke sample approached the risk limits for adult exposure.

Conclusions: For all byproducts measured, electronic cigarettes produce very small exposures relative to tobacco cigarettes. The study indicates no apparent risk to human health from e-cigarette emissions based on the compounds analyzed.

Keywords: DEG; E-cigarette; PAH; PG; SHS; SHV; TSNA; VOC; cancer risk; carbonyl; e-cig; e-liquid; ecig; ecigarette; eliquid; emissions; exposure assessment; glycerine; indoor air quality; inhalation; nicotine vaporizer; risk assessment; risk estimate; secondhand vapor; tobacco smoke; toxicity; vaping; vapor

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: 1Consulting for Health, Air, Nature, & A Greener Environment, LLC (CHANGE), Corporate Headquarters, Queensbury, NY, USA 2: 2Center for Air Resources Science & Engineering (CARES), Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY, USA 3: 3National Vapers Club, Long Island, NY, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2012

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