A new study was published today in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health by our group, to evaluate the presence of toxins derived from tobacco in e-liquids. In addition, we assessed the accuracy of labeling values for nicotine levels. The study is novel because tobacco-flavored e-liquids were first examined for the presence of phenols and nitrates (known toxins in tobacco smoke), as well as nitrosamines. In addition, a specific group of e-liquids (known as natural tobacco extracts - TNE) was evaluated, which is done by using tobacco leaves cured to extract the flavor. This is the first time that such liquids are specifically tested.
The study found that toxins derived from tobacco are lower in orders of magnitude in e-liquids compared to tobacco products. Typically, nitrosamines were 146-1447-fold lower in e-liquids as compared to tobacco products (in 1 ml of liquid compared to 1 gram of tobacco), while nitrate was 1360-fold lower. NET fluids contained somewhat higher levels of tobacco-derived toxins as compared to conventional e-liquids, but levels were still significantly lower compared to tobacco. Deviation of the marked nicotine content was on average 5.9% for conventional e-liquids and 1.5% for TNE, with a maximum deviation of 22.1%. Interestingly, no difference was observed between liquids and conventional nets, indicating that the flavor extraction process does not lead to the extraction of nicotine from tobacco leaves.
The study adds to the current evidence confirming the potential lower risk of electronic cigarettes as compared to tobacco. NET fluids contain more toxins derived from tobacco, but still much lower compared to tobacco.
The author of this excerpt, Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, is a cardiologist, who works as a researcher at the Cardiac Surgery Onassis Center in Athens-Greece and at the Medical Imaging Research Center, Gathuisberg University Hospital in Leuven-Belgium .