New Ecig Aldehyde Study

Posted 15th January 2016 by Mawsley
Gillman, Kistler, Stewart and Paolantonio carried out an investigation into the production of aldehydes in electronic cigarette vapour on behalf of Penn State University. They used five popular atomisers and a good attempt to eliminate dry hits. Overall, they highlighted that higher power delivered to the coil equates to an increase in aldehyde production.

It’s a shame that the Penn State PR machine decided to spin the results into an anti-ecig propaganda piece. Likewise, it is unfortunate that media outlets failed to pick up on it and give it the coverage it deserved – but then if they receive no press release informing them in a balanced way then is it surprising we read nothing in the press?

Test atomiser 1 was the humble CE4. They used three versions with 2.2, 2.8 and 3.4Ω coils with the standard silica wick. Test atomiser 2 was the antiquated Protank. It used a replaceable 2.7Ω bottom single-coil head with the standard silica wick. Test atomiser 3 was the Gladius with a replaceable dual-coil head and a total resistance of 2.8Ω (made up of two parallel 5.6Ω coils), and a silica wick.
Test atomiser 4 was the popular Nautilus with a 2.2Ω coil and poly-fill packed wick and test atomiser 5 was a 0.72Ω cotton-wicked Subtank.

The team were cognisant of previous flaws in similar experiments and attempted to address the dry-hit phenomena by maintaining the atomisers at a minimum of 50% of the maximum liquid level. For each atomiser with adjustable airflow, it was set to maximum.

Comments submitted by those who ‘happened’ to stumble onto the Penn State site makes for depressing reading. For some the scare works and they announce their intention to quit vaping while others blame everything on Obama...well, it is America after all.

But is it bad news? Well, yes and no.

Long-term vapers move on from CE4s for a reason, the atomiser simply doesn’t perform very well. This is true in the study as well with all three demonstrating poor wicking resulting in exceptionally high levels of aldehydes produced. But then CE4s were never designed for use with variable wattage mods.

Likewise, the vaping community has moved on from Protanks for a similar reason as stock heads were always prone to dry hits or leaks. This atomiser was also from a time when a mech mod would deliver a current of 1.5A through the coil, resulting in a maximum 6.7W. It is unsurprising then that it also demonstrated elevated aldehyde production above that power rating.

But for the remaining atomisers we see a constant improvement in performance and far safer levels of aldehydes being delivered to the user than if they were smoking or using the kind of devices the Tobacco Products Directive is going to compel vapers to adopt. So once more we find science being skewed in order to fit an agenda rather than supporting informed personal choice.