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E-cigarettes Could Release More Formaldehyde than Tobacco

E-cigarettes have been controversial since manufacturers started touting them as the alternative solution to smoking, containing no tobacco, and instead of smoke they produce a vapor that makers claim is much less harmful than traditional cigarettes.

Now, according to a letter from Portland State University (PSU) researchers published in the New England Journal of Medicine, new research suggests that vaping with devices turned to a “high voltage” can actually produce more of one harmful chemical, formaldehyde, than is found in normal cigarettes.

Formaldehyde is used for a range of purposes and the US government has classified it as a carcinogen. The PSU researchers analyzed the vapor produced by the e-cigarettes and found dangerous levels of formaldehyde. In fact, they found that exposure to formaldehyde from high-voltage e-cigarette use is five to 15 times more than the exposure from smoking normal cigarettes.

One of the letter’s authors, James F. Pankow, told NBC that it’s still too early to fully understand the negative effects of e-cigarettes. “But the bottom line is there are toxins, and some are more than in regular cigarettes. And if you are vaping, you probably shouldn’t be using it at a high-voltage setting.”

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