Compare the latest tech products

Study finds electronic cigarettes can cause health problems too


December 7, 2010

Study finds electronic cigarettes can cause health problems (Photo: Gizmag)

Study finds electronic cigarettes can cause health problems (Photo: Gizmag)

Image Gallery (2 images)

Researchers from the University of California, Riverside, have some bad news for smokers looking to put a halt to the filthy habit by using electronic quitting aids. After examining various aspects of a handful of commercially-available electronic nicotine delivery systems, the team concluded that so-called e-cigarettes are unsafe and pose a health risk. They are now calling for such devices to be withdrawn from sale pending a rigid safety evaluation.

Electronic cigarettes give users a dose of nicotine without burning tobacco. They're made up of a battery, an atomizer, and a cartridge containing nicotine and propylene glycol. When someone takes a draw, a sensor activates the battery which changes the tip of the device red to simulate smoking and also heats the atomizer. This vaporizes the chemicals and the e-cigarette then delivers a dose of nicotine into the user's lungs.

Such devices are readily available in shopping malls throughout the U.S. but there's been "virtually no scientific studies on e-cigarettes and their safety," according to Prue Talbot, professor of cell biology and neuroscience. The research team from University of California, Riverside decided to find out exactly how safe so-called e-cigarettes are and purchased products from five companies.

The image shows e-cigarette fluid leaking out of a cartridge, making it difficult to handle without touching the nicotine solution (Image credit: Talbot lab, UC Riverside)

They examined the design, accuracy and clarity of labeling, nicotine content, whether the devices or cartridges leaked and looked for defective parts. How the devices and components were disposed of at the end of their useful lives, whether any errors were made in filling orders, and the quality of the instruction manual and what claims were made while advertising, were also scrutinized.

The team found numerous issues including lack of essential warnings, poor or confusing usage instructions and a lack of information about what exactly is contained in the e-cigarettes. Kamlesh Asotra of the University of California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program - which part-funded the study - confirmed that "virtually nothing is known about the toxicity of the vapors generated by these e-cigarettes."

They discovered various documents which made claims that could not be scientifically substantiated and, although the researchers found specific design differences between the brands, most of the cartridges were found to leak, which could lead to exposure to a dangerous and addictive chemical. Manufacture was unregulated and environmentally-sensitive disposal methods lacking.

The study concluded with the researchers stating that e-cigarettes pose a health risk to users and are urging regulators to consider their removal from the market pending a rigid safety evaluation.

The results from the study have now been published online at Tobacco Control.

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag. All articles by Paul Ridden

Eating can cause health problems.

People fear newness because it signifies change that could possible make life uncomfortable, or even dangerous for those who don\'t want to adapt to that change.

Fear is useful, but oversold.

Oliver McFishcloud

Yeah lets pull them off the shelves, but not pull ciggs off the shelves... brilliant!

Nick Thompson

No, that\'s absolutely not what this \"study\" found. As Dr. Michael Siegel calls it, this is typical \"science by press release.\" From Dr. Siegel\'s blog, \"The Rest of the Story,\" regarding this \"study\":

\"Had the study in question actually evaluated the safety of electronic cigarettes, by analyzing the constituents of the e-cigarette vapor or the health effects of the product on users, then it would be appropriate for the researchers to disseminate a conclusion about the safety or lack of safety of electronic cigarettes. But I think it is irresponsible to disseminate such a conclusion when the study provided no information on the safety of using the product.\"

Patricia Clewell

@Nick Thompson

My thoughts exactly..

Facebook User

I totally agree as well. Also it said leak will lead to exposure to a dangerous and addictive chemical.hmmm would that be more harmful than cigs. I think not. I have been using one for 6 months now and my cough has gone and my blood pressure has gone back to normal as well. I will take my chances with this instead of going back to smoking


The study to determine health risks of e-cigs was based on order accuracy, disposal methods, and basically nothing of any ACTUAL HEALTH significance. Wonder if the research team was funded by a government grant or the tobacco industry?


Fortunately the e-cigarette lobby is non-existent compared to the tobacco lobby which still pretty much owns a piece of Congress. It\'ll take a couple months to pull e-ciggs but tobacco will NEVER leave. Although honestly, if Repubs have their way, no legislation will ever pass again if it doesn\'t have something to do with making rich people richer, so I guess we can forget about pulling either from the shelves.


Nobody would claim that electronic cigarettes are completely innocuous, but they only have to be less toxic/harmful/nasty than cigarettes to be a better alternative. It\'d be great to be informed of any dangers attributed to e-cigarettes, but until it\'s shown that they are worse than cigarettes, it\'s irresponsible to scare people into choosing the greater of two evils.

And yes- using phrases like, \"could lead to exposure to a dangerous and addictive chemical,\" is scare tactics. We\'re not talking about toxic waste or crack cocaine, it\'s nicotine- which is the same dangerous and addictive chemical found in cigarettes.


The claim of possible health problems is also apparently unsubstantiated.

Big Tobacco must be really worried about losing profits because they\'re applying all kinds of political pressure to hinder the development and marketing of ecigs.

The sky is falling.....

Danny Huff

Really? A device that dispenses a known poison (Nicotine) is dangerous?


The study does not show any health risks they are claiming. It only showed that some cartridges leaked. I know people who have quit using e-ciggs. They can\'t be any worse, in fact must be healthier than the hundreds of chemicals added in regular ciggs. I am currently using them to quit smoking, and haven\'t had a \"regular\" cigarette since.

Joe Sobotka

I agree. This is a good study with a poor conclusion. The conclusion should have been \"the scientist are now working with companies producing electronic cigarettes to improve labeling and instructions for use and disposal, and investigating ways to improve the safety and results of the product\". Even if smokers continue to expose themselves to risk in using these, they can at least do so without exposing their companions to second hand smoke. That doesn\'t preclude room for improvement, but this is certainly a step up from the status quo.

And yes Andrew, we should be pulling about 80% of our meat off the shelves too. It\'s a worldwide menace and the source of several epidemics. That\'s not a reason to stop researching its effects though.

Charles Bosse

What about the propylene glycol solution? propylene glycol is used in more than 80% of fogers used at Halloween or at clubs, dances. What health risk is there with just propylene glycol?

Andy Minton

I\'ve got to agree with everyone else. As someone who\'s literally watched someone die from lung cancer, pulling these quit-smoking aids from the market would actually be the dangerous thing to do.


I do not have problem of health risk of cigarets for their smokers. It is they will and they can choose if to smoke (and have a heath problems). I got a problem with heath risks the smokers do to all the others, and with odour they produce so that sitting in a restaurant means to wash then everything otherwise you scent like ash-disher.

Tomáš Kapler

Maybe I\'m missing something here but, all I\'m hearing /reading about is the effect of pg liquid. What about the vg juice (vegetable based) options of e-liquid here? There is also organic vg e-liquid available now. I\'ve always used this kind of juice. Did anyone here an FDA response to that? I would be very curious to know what they could possibly say since vg liquid is made with food products we eat regularly.. potatoes, peppers etc?


some of the people are not ready to take off the traditional Cig.. that\'s why they are saying these and that all the time to prevent anymore smoker to switch on e cig.. saying that its dangerous.. it is clearly that the e cig produce only fog/vapor from vegetable glycerin or PG .. it does not produce any of the 4000 chemical of an regular combustion cig.. e cig does not involve any combustion .. just a heat between 35 degree C to 40 degree C (not sure about the heat) because vegetable glycerin or PG are vaporized between 35 c and 40 c..

let\'s do a basic experiment.. smoke a regular cig.. and blow it into a plain white paper.. and then do the same with e cig.. see which one is \"cleaner\" i can confirm you that e cig produce nothing on the plain white paper while traditional tobacco gives a very very dirty yellowish look on the white paper..

the product are used back in the days .. The electronic cigarette was invented by a Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik in 2003 that means it was almost 8 years of people using the product.. not even once that people reported they are ill or what so ever for using the e cig.. so come on guys.. its way better then the traditional Cig~

Teo Satanton

Well, I have been a cigarett smoker for about 20 years. Started the E cigg 3 months ago and haven\'t looked back. But is a different story. I am having A LOT health problems. I think when I was smoking a real cigarette I was healthier. Everyone should not use the E cigg, I am having heart issues, esophogus issues and I am only 42 years old. This has all started about 3 weeks ago. I thought this was the next big GREAT thing and it worked a miracle on me, now I think all of my health issues are related to the E cigg. And none of the doctors can tell me a thing about it becasue they do not know anything about it because no one has done a real study on them. We need to think before we start handing these out to the public as the answer to quitting smoking. Now I am facing a lot of unanswerable issues and it is with my health.

Kim Barnes

There is no way I would go back to real cigarettes. I as soon as i started using these 2 years ago i was able to jog again without coughing and wheezing. The greatest thing i ever did for my healthy. My first kist cost over 200 bucks (ripped off) but now i get them for 20 bucks for a better model (808d-1) http// highly recommended. I get upset now when people who smoke say they don\'t want to use electronic cigarettes because they are just about to quit. Everyone that has said that to me over the last few years still smokes tobacco.

Do yourself a favor and don\'t believe these scare tactics that ignore the millions of people who\'s lives have been be saved by switching to electronic cigarettes instead of tobacco.

Gotta go for a jog now I\'ve finished using my e-cig while writing this comment. Do these studies ever examine the users of electronic cigarettes or are they just commisoned by big tobacco?


I strongly suggest we ban the production, distribution and consumption of Emmenthaler cheese, as it has not been seriously investigated by self-appointed experts and therefore can be deadly. Or lemonade - home made, without any control from official, competent health-care organizations... How stupid can one get? Not too stupid, if paid for by huge tobacco companies... In less than a year, I saved more than 2000 euro by switching to e-cig, and that was taking into account all e-cig expenses and the occasional pack of cigarettes I still indulge myself with... Now consider that here in Romania, my wife\'s and my monthly incomes combined hardly reach 1000 euro, so we saved 2 month\'s worth... With no tar, smoke, carbon dioxide and monoxide, nu nitrogen oxides and myriads of compounds a burning cigarette tip, oscillating between 200 and 1000 degrees Celsius, can produce with paper, tobacco, aromas and other secret, habit-making components! But not to worry, it HAS been tested and found predictably deadly by the morons, therefore, sell away! Check and double check, by all means, expose negligence in design and sloppiness in workmanship, discover better designs, promote them for free, YES, PLEASE, DO THAT!!! But withdraw from the market? How stupid and/or corrupt can you be, in your shameless pride?

Andrei Badescu

This \"study\" is basically worthless. It\'s not about actual potential health risks (which would likely have to do with effects of PG or VG or chemicals in the flavoring) - This study has the tell tale signs of links to corporate interests and/or the FDA. The surgeon who recently removed two giant polyps from my vocal chords (result of heavy, long-term smoking combined with constant lecturing) was overjoyed when he heard I\'d replaced smoking with \"vaping.\" I\'d be very interested in learning about the real side effects of regular vaping; however, all I\'ve been able to find on the internet are ridiculous articles like this one. Currently the research is being done by those with vested interests.


I have to add one more thing: I quit smoking within 3 days of starting to use electronic cigarettes. I smoked 1-3 packs a day for over 27 years. It\'s quite possible that there are negative effects associated with regular inhalation of propylene glycol; however, that same substance is used in asthma inhalers and the FDA has no problem with that. Chantix causes suicidal ideation, surreal and violent nightmares, and is associated with heart attacks. Yet the FDA approved that drug as a smoking cessation \"tool.\" Nicotine is no worse for a person than caffeine. The problem would appear to be that big business doesn\'t have a patent on the technology.


I read about the benefits of electronic cigarettes here - E-cigarettes are safer than tobacco cigarettes! If ever they get banned, then tobacco cigarettes should be banned too... It is appalling that some gov\'t agencies/groups out there are going strongly against an invention that could possibly save lives.

Tim Maine

ok here ya go guy an official FDA study of 2 diferent e-cigs

btw I use the Volcano INFERNO e-cig have been smoke free for 75 days, saved over $600.00 us, and feel better than I did smoking analog cigs :)

Lee Greer

@Lee Greer

Thanks for the data, Lee. BTW, \"analog cigs\", LOL!

Just switched, myself. We all know nicotine isn\'t the best thing in the world for us (neither is caffeine), but eliminating carbon monoxide and carcinogens has to be an improvement, right?


Come on... The purpose of changing to E-cigs is not too keep on smoking? I hope at least, for me it´s in order to be able to quit more efficiently: Step 1: Change addiction to e-cig (handle all addictions from cigarettes except nicotine) Step 2: Cut down on nicotine in the blend (handle physical addiction while maintaining psychological addiction (have a cigarette in hand, doing something when waiting etc.) Step 3: Stop putting nicotine in the blend completely (self-explanatory yea?) Step 4: Quit it all together

Christoffer Sperling

Y\'know...the main thing I drew from this article (or at least the study it\'s talking about) is \"please apply the same level of care and maintenance to your e-cigarette as you do your other electronic devices.\" While I guess I can understand the worry about leakage, it\'s not what I would call a \"health risk.\"

Andrew Christianson

Many of these articles leave out Vegetable Glycerin which is natural and our retaler advised us to purchase. Also Christoffer, there is a choice of nicotine in these oils. from none to 31.2mg. So the choice is there. The loss will not be for the tobacco farmers but to the cigarette companies and the goverment are trying to find a way to tax this product too. Also, these articles leave out that the risk of second smike is obviously gone. Its our free will if we want to damage our own health with this addiction. The fact of the matter is that the risks have become lower to ourselves and those breathing the smoke. The psychological risks are to TEENAGERS. Which is illigal for them to smoke nicotine anyways. TO ANDREW, I fully agree. These articles about PG are OUTDATED. Like any new technology new versions are made. I mean, we are at generation 4 IPOD. Just a example there. This technology can only get better. Its only been two years and ONE bad batch.

Alejandra Fuentes

As a physician and surgeon, I am heartily recommending these to my traditional cigarette smoking patients who have tried many times to quit with other methods. The "study" this Gizmag article referenced is a joke of monumental proportions as everyone is pointing out. It's hard to fool the Gizmag crowd...maybe the common person who only reads headlines in newspapers, but not here. :)

The main thing about quitting traditional cigarette smoking is NOT quitting the nicotine (our body produces our own natural nicotine)... it's getting away from the thousands of toxic chemicals, tars, radioactive products found in burning tobacco smoke. In a hundred years, when it's only e-Cigs, people will look back in horror on the millions of lives killed by tobacco over the centuries by cancer, pulmonary disease and hypertension.

e-Cigs are a GOD-SEND for getting off tobacco. It will actually save hundreds of thousands of lives the world-over in the next decades, if we get enough people to switch over to e-Cigs.

Sincerely, Dr. Rings, MD

Matt Rings

I recently tried the "clean air" test, as an ex smoker I have been very acutly aware of the colour/staining that is derived when puffing cigarette smoke out even very gently through white tissue paper, yes, its yellow, or brown even with the slightet breathe. With the e-cig I tried vigorously the same test, repeatedly, every time, even breathing out over the same patch at least four times, the paper remained as white as it was to start with, clearly there is less crap going into my lungs using the e-cig, there is just one chemical compared to about 80, there is no burning involved, just a vapour, I think I would rather just have nicotine in my lungs than a accompainment of arounf 79 to 80 others along with it.....I dont think banning is the answer, It should be our choice, incedently, the liquis I buy DOES have a toxic warning on it, with a skull & crossbones....I dont recall seeing that on any fag packets !!!

Lorraine Lu Vickrage

The one big problem with trying to tell if someone is having health issues from an electronic cigarette, is this; there aren't any, at least to my knowledge, e-cig smokers that did not smoke regular cigarettes before.

So the problem here is a who person starts smoking e-cigs and puts traditionals down, their body is going to go through alot of things and maybe even feel worse then when they smoked. There are tons of chemicals in cigarettes and depending on what brand some of those chemicals can be more addictive than nicotine itself. So when you smoke a e-cig you could go through withdrawl from the chemical that you were addicted to, and it could be worse than nicotine withdrawl. Along with this possible withdraw, your body will also need to detoxify, your bloodvessels need to cleanse and your blood pressure and heart rate that were once in tune with smoking cigarretes and those chemicals that ran through the vessels will now have to get back to normal. This alone can lead to health problems especially if you are at an age lets say 30 and up, when the average persons body starts to decline in functionallity.

Now with all this going on a former smoker now e-cig smoker is likely going to think that e-cigs are making them sick. This could be the case but to test that theory change brands of actual model and change the liquid you use, always use USA made. This way you can rule the e-cig itself out by then stopping using the ecig, but don't pick up cigs because if its withdrawl then the traditional cigs will cure it just like heroin makes junkies feel better. Now if you still feel these things after this then its likely not the e-cigs you're body is just not used to not having a steady flow of whatever was in your cigs and its going haywire.

This will be the biggest argument against e-cigs in the coming years and I expect it soon. The first reported death by lung cancer of a e-cig user will be attributed directly to e-cigs and not the traditionaly tobacco cigarettes they once smoked, and then... they will come after us.

Until that day I'll keep my picketting sign in storage and enjoy my Kona Velvet Milkshake 100% organic e-liquid. Actually after then too because if is not impossible to find a guy who makes mod units and they can't pull all our food off the shelves so the resources for vaping will always be there. Also by that point I don't even see myself vaping nicotine.

Matthew Roth

my name is ari matthew davies I SMOKED camels until I got my hands on a mod box e cig.Its been two months now way cheaper, way less nasty smell ,cough, and, my heart rate blood pressure, smell, taste, has greatly improved, first vapeing nicoteen is not a recent invention ! the hookah is a vape, every smoker knows hookahs are a much better, safer method than burning tobacco ! yes the best thing is quiting,but lets get real toothpaste is full of glycols so since people are not catching cancer from the p.g toothpaste,its pretty sure that consumeing it wont give you some unknown health problem like the people against it say.. and if glycol scares you than use the vegtable base. yes nicoteen is poison so you had better quit eating brocoli and all those leafy green that you tell your kids to eat, when you cook them you are vapeing ! yes the nicoteen is in the steam just like a e cig.. now if you take the responsability for buying e liquid that you know is nicoteen vegtable glycol and fruit juice, you are in no more danger than the cooks that work in the plants that make your frozen greens ! but the people oposed to e cigs seem to ignore those two examples of nicoteen and glycol in our mouths and lungs.. vapeing is far less harmfull to the user than burning tobaco, and far less harmfull to every one else that has to inhale second hand smoke. e cigarettes do however cause great harm to the pocket of those who want you smokeing tobaco, and you can bet doctors know that they will in the future be treating far less cancers because of e cigs, and will be loseing great amounts if profit ! the government of course does not want to lose the revenue from tobaco sales .now as to safety testing how long would it take to raise 30 mice in a room filled with tobacco smoke and 30 mice in a room filled with e cig vapor umh about 60 days to see which group of mice is healther ! might I suggest some colledge students do this for a paper and release the findings.. in the meantime if your a smoker get yourself a good mod box and organic e liquid,the e cigs are not satisfying enough to throw away your tobaco in most cases and the mod box price per 20 millagrams of dispensed nicoteen is about 50 cents versus $4 for burning tobaco ! as I said quiting is best but you do yourself and everyone around you a favor by switching, and did I mention the fact that your kids are far less likely to sneak off and smoke e cigs for two good reasons #1 the cool factor isnt their #2 the cigarette buzz is not their, which leads me to my final reason for switching,when you light up you catch a buzz and its a constant roller coaster up down. when you vape the nicoteen you absorb not onley is less but the effects come on gradully and fade gradully instead of high after high and low after low, you will actully feel good after vapeing instead of the cloudy headed cigerette buzz that leaves you wanting another one in 20 min, the e vape keeps you satisfyed much longer.. now here is my price I spent on camels in april I smoked $140 in may I paid $60 for a mod box and $12 for a big bottle of juicy fruit nicoteen in june I bought A bottle of blueberry $12 I still have a little juicy fruit left. yup $12 vs 135$ and I threw out the lighters ash trays and washed all that filthy tobaco mess off my walls and the curtains oh how nasty and to think I have been directly inhaleing that stuff..

Ari Davies

I thought I was doing a good thing by quitting and switching to e-cigs. I did it for 3 years. But I did become addicted to the e-cigs and they did make me sick. I was constantly "vaping". You have to draw much harder on an e-cig than a regular cig. I carried them with me and every chance I got I vaped. I even developed asthma. I could hardly breath and I felt like %!@& I was never a heavy smoker, maybe 5 a day at most but with this I think I inhaled more nicotine than I ever did while smoking. I decided to stop and went back to my a day, and let me tell you I felt better within a week. No more breathing problems. I'm disposing of all my e-cig stuff. Be careful with these things.


I have just found out that I have COPD and I know I cause it because I have smoked for years. I am using the electronic cigarette without nicatine just the menthol flavor. So far so good. Keep me in your prayers and shsll pray for al

Robin Tisdale

I heard second hand info about lung bleeding problems with ecigs. I haven't found the research yet, but I switched to the ecig about two years ago, along with my boyfriend. He smoked a pack a day for thirty years and had a chronic cough. I was a light smoker because I hated the smell and the way it made me smell. His cough disappeared with a few months, and I no longer have to deal with the stench of cigarettes. I feel better and so does he. I see no health risks for me.

Michelle Maust




Hey, I'm in full support of the e-cig! I have an actual vaporizer that allows me to fill with whatever liquid I choose. So, I went to my local vitamin cottage and baught some Vegetable Glycerine! Vegetable glycerine(VG) is in eye drops, baked products, toothpaste, soap, lotion beverages, ect.! I vaporize (VG) in pure 100 percent form! There are no additives, and no nicotine! I feel that if u can use vegetable glycerine in eye drops or ingest it, more then likely, its not toxic to inhale it! Even if the condensation forms on my lungs, it is not a toxic possion like nicotine! I smoked for years and now I'm vaporizing glycerine from vitamin cottage! It even taste good! I believe the vaporizer is not the problem! The problem is that no one is developing non- toxic e- liquid! The liquid I vaporizes is top of the line 100 percent pure organic Vegetable Glycerine! When i vaporize, I'm not inhaling the 100 or so chemicals and "carbon monoxide" that is in "ONE" cigarette! I'm inhaling one heated organic liquid! TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR EYE DROPS, TOOTH PASTE MOUTH RINSE! They are the most common places to find glycerine! This will prove to u that u ingest it everyday u brush your teeth, rinse your mouth or use eye drops! Therefore, anyone against my vapor methods should take a look at the real problem! cigarettes, There is no doubt in my mind that when I exhale my glycerine vapor, it will not harm anyone around me including myself! I've already used the product for my whole life! Just simply began inhaling it in a mist form! I doubt that Glycerine will harm me Considering, I just finished my slice of cake with (VG) icing on it!

Ken Sanchez

These "scientific findings" were highly predictable. We don't know the difference between scientific data and behavior modification anymore.


there are about 3 chemicals in a ecig in comparrison to thousands in a cigarette. There is a reason that when you use one your sense of smell and taste comes back and you no longer wake up with a sore throat. Im pretty sure you could smoke one forever and not get cancer from it. in regards to some of the comments. If you use this 24/7 you will develop problems it would be smilar to chain smoking all day constantly why would you vape that much it makes no sense. in regards to someone smoking for 20years then vaping for 3 months and getting unwell that would be the 20 years of smoking. unless you think VG (food aditives) and nicotine is worse than The 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes. 51 of them are known to be carcinogenic. A carcinogen is something that causes cancer. Wake up people a decent made ecig is not a bad solution. I used to use one then broke it then smoked then cold turkey a year ago

Jason Leo

Not a single commenter has addressed the photo showing a leaking refill cartridge. My first question would be is how easily and to what degree the contents of that liquid would be absorbed directly through the skin. Since the liquid is a concentrate from which the vapor is produced, the risk of a nicotine overdose through direct skin contact must be considered.

NK Fro

Reading this article was a waste of time i dont see anywhere where they say what the health risk actually is or explain it at all. I will continue f***in wit e-cigs

Justin Sellitti

Kim, if e-cigs were responsible for exacerbated health problems within three months of starting them, you'd see a lot more outrage. You were a smoker for twenty years, you're knee deep in middle age, and I'm sorry but those variables alone are enough to completely outdo whatever benefit you thought you'd get by switching to a smokeless cigarette.

If we're talking about GERD or a hiatal hernia, you would be far smarter looking at your weight as a potential cause, and things like heart issues don't spring up over three weeks in most people. Once again, you were a smoker for twenty years, you're 42, and for all we know you may just be obese.

Please don't try to misinform people again with a dubious anecdote.


What bothers me is the only argument I see constantly posted: Since you can't prove that they are safe, they must be un-safe and banned from sale. Does there need to be scientific tests done? Yes. But why conduct a test that did nothing to check the contents, effects, etc. of the actual product, rather it only outlines possible ordering problems and poor or confusing labels. Pardon the pun, but that is just blowing smoke up our butts.

@NK Fro Is there a chance that cartridges can leak? Yes. But there have been vast improvements by many companies in regards to their manufacture since this article/study was release. Also, is nicotine harmful? About as harmful as caffeine. It's addictive, but insignificant harmful effects (also like caffeine). You'd probably be harmed more by going to a grocery store and just touching foods sprayed with pesticides.

Remember, the patch and gum have nicotine in them and they are FDA approved!!! These e-cig cartridges have such a small amount of nicotine in them that there is no possible way to overdose unless you plaster leaking cartridges all over your body.

Do I leave them lying around? No, I take care of them and dispose of damaged ones. I treat them for what they are; a healthier and infinitely more effective smoking cessation product than anything else combined.

Kevin Lipp

I would be interested to know who REALLY is paying for this study. Big tobacco maybe?

Sean Stout

Okay, seriously? This article makes no argument for how e-cigs could hurt people other than leaking fluid... And that only happens if you don't know how to properly take care of the e-cig parts. Waste of time.

Dustin Mitchell

"virtually nothing is known about the toxicity of the vapors generated by these e-cigarettes"

there's the rub

every post saying "i eat it, drink it, drip it in my eyes, etc with no ill effect" misses the point that vapour isn't the same as liquids, and the bronchial tree and alveolar effects of such presentation is not yet established

that said, i can't see how addicts requiring inhaled forms of nicotine have a lot to lose by denying themselves the carbon monoxide and >300 carcinogens that lighting up a conventional deathstick entails

At least they will no longer stink to their companions, plus have the added joy of possibly re-establishing their senses of taste and smell

apart from mimicking the creamy experience of inhaling smoke, the glycol is really pointless - perhaps simple nicotine in weaker solution would suffice ? but then so would the chewing gum version if smokers could transcend their oral fixation, or simply suck their thumbs after the nicotine gum goes in

nowhere near as sophisticated a look, but style isn't everything, and it ticks all the other boxes


I think they should ban them...

AFTER they ban all other tobacco related products. :D

Its odd that the tobacco industry would push for a product that may be dangerous be banned but still wants tobacco products that are definitely dangerous to be legal.

Michael Mantion

They cost less, they smell less, they certainly have 1000 less chemicals than tobacco and no tar. I love my e-vape and have not had a real cigarette for over 5 months now. Vested interests are trying to get them banned as their market (quit smoking aids) is valued at over $50 billion. Well, just Google for "electronic cigarette uk" then try one - stay away form the cheap disposable ones - not nearly as good.

Jon Burnham

There seems to be questions about there being harm in absorbing the chemicals from the liquid used in an e-cig "nicotine" I use my e-cig often and have experienced no side effects except for not having the urge to smoke an actual cig. One night I fell asleep changing the liquid on my device and the engine bottle leaked out on to my chest and was there for the entire night. Surprisingly there was no visible harm done, it didn't even leave a stain on my shirt or skin that didn't wipe directly off with a damn towel. Nicotine IS harm full if ingested in LARGE amounts but worrying about at 24mg solution from this product getting on your hands and harming you is a little far fetch. I home this helped everyone

Paul Long

Get real. How can they make these bold statements with out backing it up. I was looking for real information. What a joke. I I guess anyone can say anything and the masses believe and follow without question.

Lou Johnson

Propylene glycol was approved by the FDA in 1973. This comment box is not long enough to include all the products that include it. However the most similar one to this articles subject is your average asthma inhaler. Furthermore the claim that "virtually nothing is known about the toxicity of the vapors generated by these e-cigarettes." is a bogus claim at best. If you do a scientific study would it not naturally be a part of the study to include the vapor you are studying? I'm sure big tabacco does not want you to switch to a safer alternative they have billions of dollars invested in keeping people ignorant to the facts.

Frankie Rae

It's been around for years now. The government hasn't figured out how to tax it so therefore doesn't want you using them.

Candace Stalf

I think a high quality e-cig vaporizer is way better for your health than say a traditional cigarette, but mind you, the photo shown on this blog post was what I would consider to be a knock-off, and hence, is why it leaks and whatnot, just my two cents ,) Furthermore, the so called "study", did not even say anything to back up the fact of the so called "vapor"... funny enough, and I am just wondering if anybody else happened to notice that ,)? I mean, its a pretty big think to notice since the story was suppose to be about the harmful effects of the second hand VAPOR from the e-cig vaporizer hehe some ppl... and yes, for the record Fear tactics Do Not worK on most people ,) lastly, if the gov wants to tax them, they should have thought about taxing the liquid that goes in them duh ,)p Awesome comment to all on this page!


As a very light casual smoker, I have been conducting my own study of a couple of these devices over the last few weeks.

I've entered a new world of jargon and slang that adds an almost fictional element to the electronic cigarette culture. It's not referred to by insiders as 'smoking', with the term 'vaping' being infinitely preferable. Even ordinary cigarettes are referred to as 'analogs' to avoid as many references to the old ways as possible. It's currently more quirky than cool to vape.

Web sites that sell both the hardware and consumable products often have huge swathes of propaganda comparing vaping to smoking and in some cases even suggesting vaping is a healthy lifestyle choice (when compared to ordinary tobacco use).

Having done a little research I'm a bit uncomfortable in having discovered that some flavourings may contain diacetyl. This is an extremely harmful compound to inhale. There is no regulation of the industry producing these 'juices' and no guarantee that what you are sucking into your lungs does not contain it.

Whilst many vapers will readily tell you that propylene glycol is a harmless substance used in smoke machines and even asthma inhalers, the fact remains that it is a by-product of the petroleum industry - would you regularly inhale WD-40? Yes, vegetable glycerine is a natural product, but there is little known about the long term effects in the lungs. and in most cases PG is still included in the blend because it makes for a better smoke effect. For those that say it is a food product, so are chillies, you can eat as many chillies as you can bear without doing any long term damage, but would you boil and inhale the vapour from one? Our lungs have a limited mechanism for expelling foreign substances and our noses are designed to filter them out. The healthiest thing to breathe is always going to be clean, fresh air. Vapers need to be honest with themselves and accept that they are exposing themselves to some risk, however small.

I accept that there is far less potential for harm in vaping over smoking, but it is a stretch to say it is harmless and misleading for vendors to refer to it as a healthy or healthier option.

My own personal observations of the effects of vaping a nicotine product were that there was less of an initial 'buzz' compared to a tobacco cigarette but later a cumulative and generally less pleasurable effect - mainly dizziness and disorientation. I have tried a couple of nicotine free e-juices and found the effect of these to be pointlessly cosmetic. Excessive use resulted in a dry throat, gummy eyes and just as much phlegm the following morning as a traditional smoke would have bestowed (although it was clearer than the old brown muck I used to hawk up).

It has been interesting to try this out as an experiment but my conclusions are generally negative. It's a bit of a hoot to try and learn to blow rings without all the nasty side-effects and it's often fun to try and sneakily use it in places where smoking is prohibited although I draw the line at the pertrol station forecourt, but that's just me trying to hang on to my rebellious youth. Unfortunately since smoking became an outdoor pursuit non-smokers are conditioned to react with unmitigated hostility to any oral emission beyond a polite burp so vaping is unlikely to ever become culturally acceptable between four public walls.

Yes it's nice not to have manky breath, stinky clothes and teeth like sugar puffs, and I can see the appeal for heavy smokers from that perspective. I just can't really see a new market opening up but for a noob, the limited psyco-active effects aren't really worth the investment.


so, where's the study that shows which brand actually tatses like that cigarette with the 'swell stem' in it- you know, the one in about every third or fourth cartoon that actually tastes 'very' good ('like' a cigarette shoud). Inquiring minds want to know (and get rid of the cough from the tars...)

(fyi- there's nothing quite like emptying the barn at the crack of dawn to enlighten one to the pluses and minuses of nicotine poisoning- or 'priming' in the rain....)


This article show no scientific data from its studies. Hell who needs a study to show a leaking bottle could be a problem. I did not see evidence of any studies of the various types of e-cigarette cartridges or refills, whatever the refill system is some types actually contain no nicotine. Some of the bottles have caffeine instead of nicotine and some have no harmful chemicals. Little is known about the harmful effects of nicotine without all the tar and other chemicals from a regular cigarette. Perhaps they should study that first. Anyone who thinks banning E-Cigarettes is a good idea needs a psychiatrist to do some research on them. Cigarettes are known to be harmful, everyone knows E-Cigarettes are far less dangerous than cigarettes if they are even dangerous at all. Why in the world would anyone want to ban something far safer than the alternative.

James Turner

Wow the concerns or claims here would seem to be complete, lackadaisical tripe at best.

This study that points out leaking as one of the cautionary considerations for removing this from the market pending further evaluation.

really? Your inhaling this, what real risk is there over inhalation to even bother noting the dermal saturation factors?

The other weak points brought up in here do not hold any real merit for the consideration of removal either, for instance a pack of real smokes does not list individual ingredients either or much of anything else other than what the government has forced them to put on the packs in regards to warnings after the scores of deaths related to its use.

Here is a Sobering fact for you, Over 4000 chemical compounds are created by burning a cigarette – 69 of those chemicals are known to cause cancer in more places than just the State of California, these estimations are rough but in the ball park.

Given the above facts, wouldn’t it be more prudent to consider removing a Regular cigarette from the market place as studies have been completed on standard cigarette use and cancers and other health issues are a proven fact with the indulgent of its use? and they havent.

Oddly, the only fact here in regards to Liquid Nicotine use is that Nicotine is addictive and oddly nothing in here placed in Black and white would suggest a mandatory minimum age requirement for its purchase although the places I have been to have an age requirement already on their own, of 18 in place in most cases.

After reading this article the only two things I am really going to take from this would be,

Has the economy become so bad, that out of complete desperation a university must lower its educational standards with crap like this, to keep its federal and state funding support in place?

It is a shame that this complete waste of time as (reading material?) wasn’t placed on to hard copy paper so at the very least, the vast majority of those who have had the misfortune of stumbling across it could come away with knowing that its placement into hard copy paper was a waste of processed tree material.

Dana Adude

One additional thing that no-one is accounting for here is that you do not actually have to inhale e-cigarette vapor in order to take delivery of the nicotine. I hold the vapor in my mouth and throat, and exhale it through my mouth and nostrils, and my nicotine craving is taken care of...there is no need to abuse your lungs at all. I've even read here and there that the vapor particles, being much larger than smoke particles, are not nearly as useful when delivering nicotine to the lungs anyway. Why inhale, when it works just as well this way...and surely if there are any health risks at all, they would be significantly reduced by not taking the vapor into your lungs. Try getting a tobacco smoker not to take the smoke into his or her lungs, and they'll look at you like you are crazy or something!


As a vap user, im looking forward to the juice that contains THC so that we can finally vap a joint and be rid of the smell of that as well. And the hastle of rolling one. Ahhhh the future of Vaping looks awesome.


These "studies" are nearly enough to make me discount every "scientific discovery" I read about. Food animals are raised on excrement, Monsanto food is chipping away at our health, Frankenfish will soon outbreed normal fish, but we read about plastic cigarettes. Is there some point to this, except to confirm our stupidity?


SHAME! Shame on the "research team" and shame on gizmag on releasing such "scientifical" conclusions. I've been vaping for 2 years now, and of course, I did and I am doing my homework. Read possibly all published studies to be found on the internet on this matter. I thought there is new info. But no... it`s just american crp. Like "why was there no warning that I may not dry my cat in the microwave owen?" Gizmag - please don´t succumb to the tentation of becoming a semi-tabloid!

Radu BM

Vaping has helped me stop smoking. I use nicotine free smoke juice. It also tastes good and it is relaxing to vape. Sigmund Freud studied and pointed out that humans have different types of fixations. (Only the educated will understand what I am about to say here). Some humans are anal fixated, some are oral fixated...there are more, go look them up. I am oral fixated...I've always had to have something in my mouth. As a child, I chewed my pencils to splinters, chewed straws to pieces, chewed on my own hair. As an adult, I turned to cigs, gum, food, etc. The gum doesn't help me to not want to smoke, the food makes me overweight and the cigs cause cancer and numerous other health problems. So since I am oral, I am so glad that someone has come up with an alternative that is safe. NO NICOTINE Vaping. So quit preaching that ALL vaping is bad for a person. Signed, Susan Bernaix, RN ps...I am used to the "oral fixation" comments, so save your breath and go vape something......

Susan Bernaix

Yah, what a lousy study that didn't prove what they claim about the e cigarette being harmful. I do recommend using American e-juice rather than Chinese(who knows if they even test their e-liquids).

Shaun Bradley

Wow, how did this author manage to say nothing specific in an entire article?

"UCR finds e-cigs to have health problems." I could condense the entire article to that. How useless.

Causes health problems relative to what? and by what measurement? It's nicotine, and nicotine is known to cause health problems. So what is the control?

Say something worth saying next time.

G-Who Own

I believe the only potential "health risks" from the prolonged use of electronic cigarettes is dependent upon why it is being manufactured. Most Chinese products are pretty sketchy. You never know what kind of metals they are using and at high temperatures metals do give off a lot residual particles that could prove detrimental to one's health. Ofcourse, there are gems in China. For example, the Starbuzz E-Hose is made in China but itis of probably highest quality available.

William Hackett

From Wikipeda: "A preliminary analysis of e-cigarette cartridges by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2009 identified that some contain tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), known cancer-causing agents. The amounts of TSNAs present were on par with existing NRT products like nicotine gum and inhalers. The FDA's analysis also detected diethylene glycol, a poisonous and hygroscopic liquid, in a single cartridge manufactured by Smoking Everywhere and nicotine in one cartridge claimed to be nicotine-free. Diethylene glycol has not been found in any cartridge tested since 2009. Further concerns were raised over inconsistent amounts of nicotine delivered when drawing on the device. In some e-cigarettes, "Tobacco-specific impurities suspected of being harmful to humans – anabasine, myosmine, and β-nicotyrine – were detected in a majority of the samples tested." It is not clear if these chemicals were detectable in exhaled vapour. The UK National Health Service noted that the toxic chemicals found by the FDA were at levels one-thousandth that of cigarette smoke, and that while there is no certainty that these small traces are harmless, initial test results are reassuring."

The levels of the toxicants were 9–450 times lower than in cigarette smoke and were, in many cases, comparable with trace amounts found in the reference product.

To minimize any unhealthful effects, use American made liquids rather than Chinese and select those with the best reputations. Keep your nicotine usage low (18mg or less) and try to lower it over time to very low or none). Choose vegetable glycerine over propylene glycol with a 50/50 mix or less of propylene glycol. And some e-cigs are essentially leak-proof, especially the cartomizers with replaceable bottom elements. After much research I have provided my 46-yr-old nephew with e-cigs and the latest cartomizers and high quality fluids for over a year, and he has stopped smoking cigarettes, and his headaches and coughing have stopped. There is absolutely no doubt that this technology has halted further damage to his lungs and has turned around his health. I'm hopeful that society understands this and insists that these items be made perfectly legal with a modicum of regulation to keep out the inferior products.


I have been vaping a little over 3 months now. I totally quit regular cigs the first day I starting with my electronic cig. I love it and don't ever crave a cig. However, it doesn't like me :-( I started with the PG nicotine and constantly had sinus problems so bad that I couldn't breath out my nose at all. Sneezing all the time. My chest constantly feels congested every time I vape. I wheeze and cough. My toungue and lips feel like they are burnt. I read up on some people having an allergic reaction to the Pg so I switched to the VG. I have been vaping with the VG for 2 weeks now and I feel no better. Does anyone have any advise for me??? I really do not want to go back to smoking but I feel horrible when I vape.


As a fellow author, I would do my best to remove this article from this site. Why? 1. Even in 2010 the statements you've made are inaccurate. There has always been a VG or PG option. 2. You make broad statements without supporting documentation. 3. "Leakage" occurs from improper storage (and other reasons) 4. Reputable manufacturers (US, etc) have Quality controls in place. If you're summarizing scientific studies, get your facts straight and AT LEAST present WHICH were studied. Either way, it's better than real/analog cigs.

@Kristin - look up what to expect when quitting smoking. Your lungs, etc are trying to clear themselves. Cigarettes paralyze the cilia in your nose and when they start working again they're going to do that. Also, remember there are tons of other chemicals present in regular cigs? Withdrawal from those makes your mouth itch like crazy. I recommend a doctor as it had been that long, which is abnormal I think. Additionally, choose trusted manufacturers - no e liquid from china for example. Again - check with a doctor


The E-cig - by definition is better than smoking tobacco as it has considerably less damaging chemicals - At the same time they are also dangerous in that they still supply an addictive poison to the user with the psychological support of still using a cigarette. i.e. they replace one addiction with another

The solution is that they should be supplied under prescription and users have to follow the current no smoking rule/laws.

Brian M

385 carcinogens, not including carbon monoxide and fires, etc. in 'analog' cigarettes ..... compared to no currently known carcinogens, possibility of higher nicotine levels due to rates of absorption, body weight and the like. Like it or not, nicotine IS toxic however in conjunction with known dangers of partially combusted tobacco .... it's a no brainer, and, e-cigarettes will no doubt save lives, lungs and property.

I would like to know where the money comes from to fund these 'studies' as the pharmaceutical and tobacco tend to lose quite a bit of income. The irony is that our medical community discourages tobacco and wants to completely shut down nicotine vapor devices.

Call me paranoid, but the system seems just a bit skewed towards the status quo [and the bottom dollar for shareholders] ... Just imagine if we didn't have to put up with a 78 billion a year problem related to cigarette smoking ...........

David Brown

"Research" continually recommends behavior modification. Where is the safe cigarette? Pharmaceutical industry won't allow it?


The only problem I can see with e-cigs is the one I experienced. I tried e-cigs (0 mg. nicotine) and, when I ran out, "borrowed" a refill from a friend who used the high nicotine refills. I liked them better and started using nicotine cartridges instead. While on vacation, I ran out of my cartridges (we were in an area that lacked for any purchases of e-cigs and their components) and a smoker friend suggested I smoke a real cigarette instead, hers. Well, needless to say, after smoking her cigarettes instead...for 1-1/2 weeks...I became an analog smoker. Going back to e-cigs just wasn't the same and I got "hooked" almost immediately. So, perhaps the danger of e-cigs lies in this type of thing which, I'd guess, happens more than people may admit.

Kathleen Beacon

News Flash: We're are going to die of something!!

Mike Giles

Ban what we don't know, sounds like the beginning to the end of civilization. Why don't we regulate how and what people cook at home and why don't we ban sunlight too? An inconclusive research due to too many variables is exactly what it is, inconclusive. Sounds like a bunch of biased scientist.....these people.

Peter Canavarro

Any product that carries nicotine can potentially pose a health threat, because of the active ingredient which is nicotine. Nobody says that these e cigs are completely safe to use, however it's a safer alternative to smoking traditional tobacco. If you can jump to conclusions and ban e cigs, then you might as well ban tobacco. There are a number of electronics that can "leak" or pose other threats if used improperly, why don't you ban cars then? This post goes through exactly how an e cig works, , the components within each pen is non life threatening. Come on now.


So much overreaction on e cigs, I have used e cig with 24mg nic for 8 months after smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, my breathing has been way better since. I have not been sick from even though it has leaked on my skin and in my mouth. All u people with the scare tactic are idiots saying that u could possibly die or vomit or have seizures. I would agree with this if I had problems with it but I have not, I'm sick of reading about these scientists and doctors who say it's bad for u or worse than regular cigarettes, considering doctors originally had stated that they are better for u than cigarettes, which was what got me into it in the first place. If ur family or kids are getting into it and are having problems then it's the parents fault for not being more involved in their children's lives. I'm sure parents have a bottle of whiskey or a pack of cigarettes in the house(for those who drink and/or smoke) and yet nobody says a damn thing about that. This is such BS the way the world takes a new thing in the market and tries to ruin it for anyone else, no one said that it was completely healthy for u it is just better than smoking, and if u don't agree with it then u have never tried it and are just believing what someone has told u on the Internet or some kind of news media. U know that all this is just to have something to talk about. Unhealthy foods are poisons as well and we poison ourselves everyday with that crap, we also poison ourselves with exhaust and fumes from cleaning chemicals, automobiles, factories, oil production plants, etc. there are soooo many things that can kill us yet we all just allow all these things because we want them in part of our lives, if u want u to pick and choose what's good and bad then keep it to urself and let others decide what they want to put in their own bodies. And like I said before these kids who are getting nicotine poisoning have clearly stupid parents who do not watch where they put their stuff. And teach ur kids like u would cleaning agents that are under the sink in ur kitchen that it is not safe and to not touch it, or like u would tell the to look both ways before u cross the street, or don't run with scissors. I'm just saying that all this stupidity of these e cigs is getting out of control and they all just shut the hell up and mind their own business. And get a life... This really grinds my gears, and yes if u are all wondering, I have three kids and they listen to me when something is dangerous not to touch it, be a better parent!

Kevin Bienvenue
Post a Comment

Login with your Gizmag account:

Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our articles