Radical Research Is Positive

Posted 4th April 2019 by Dave Cross
Mikhail Shein, and Gunnar Jeschke have conducted a study, “Comparison of free radical levels in the aerosol from conventional cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, and heat-not-burn tobacco products”. They discovered that free radical levels are substantially reduced in vaping and heat-not-burn (HNB) products when compared to those found in cigarette smoke.

Lead author Prof. Dr. Gunnar Jeschke is a full Professor in Electron Paramagnetic Resonance at ETH Zurich, a position he has held for over ten years. A renowned expert in his field, Jeschke was presented with The International Zavoisky Award in 2014. The award is internationally recognition as one of the major awards for scientific achievement.

Jeschke’s history gives credibility to the research, accepted for publication this week by the journal Chemical Research In Toxicology.

What is a free radical?

Everything is made from atoms. At the centre of an atom is a nucleus, surrounded by a cloud of electrons. Electrons like to be in pairs, so an atom that has lost an electron seeks out a replacement. These atoms are called free radicals and can damage a human’s cells and DNA.

The pair write: “Free radicals have been found in cigarette smoke as early as 1958 and were implicated in DNA damage and cardiovascular disease… It is thus of obvious interest whether radical levels are significantly reduced in e-cigs and HNB products compared to conventional cigarettes.”

In our other article today, the FDA’s Scott Gottlieb raises fears about increased levels of toxicity when compared to smoking for some methods of vaping.

Shein and Jeschke used IQOS devices with HEETS, Solaris XL and MESH ecigs. They obtained samples of vape from a smoking machine and subjected the product to analysis.

The paper concludes: “For all vaping products, signals were of the same order of magnitude as background signals, except for the NO [Nitric Oxide] level from the HNB tobacco product. The NO level in solutions of whole smoke increases with time for the research cigarette and remains between 5.5 and 7.3% that of the cigarette.”

“Estimates of free radical level in the gas phase were obtained with PBN trapping in toluene and suggest that this level is reduced by 99% or more in the e-cigs and the HNB product compared to the cigarette.”

“Our findings demonstrate that free radicals levels are substantially reduced in e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn products compared to conventional cigarettes. This supports the view that e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn products are a potentially less harmful alternative to cigarette smoking.”

It is unlikely that Scott Gottlieb will be tweeting about this study any time soon.

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 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker