Vaping News

“Cancer potencies” Research

Research into the relative harm of ecig aerosols causes friction in the academic community.

Share on:
Doctor William Stephens, at the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of St Andrews, has produced a paper looking at the cancer-causing potential of electronic cigarettes compared to that of smoking tobacco cigarettes. Unfortunately the science is being submerged underneath an outburst of stupidity from California.

Stephens sought to quantify “the relative harm caused by inhaling the aerosol emissions of vapourised nicotine products compared with smoking combustible tobacco”.  According to him it “is an important issue for public health.”

As part of the methodology, Stephens highlighted that some dangerous compounds simply can’t be found in ecig vapour at all. These included:

  1. Acrylonitrile
  2. Benzene
  3. 1,3-Butadiene
  4. 2-Amino-naphthalene
  5. 4-Amino-biphenyl
  6. Benzo[a]pyrene
  7. Chromium
  8. Arsenic

He concluded: “Many EC emissions have cancer potencies within an order of magnitude of a nicotine inhaler, a product generally regarded as safe.” But, it’s not all good news as he cites formaldehyde as being “the most important EC carcinogen, (that) can exceed that of tobacco smoke especially in the highest power settings of some multipower experiments.”

Vapers and advocates will be quick to point out that the cause of this is obvious – it’s a dry burn situation that isn’t reflected in real-life vaping.

“Most e-cigarette analyses indicate cancer potencies <1% that of tobacco smoke”

The conclusions in full:

  • Emissions from vapourised nicotine products (VNP) including e-cigarettes contain carcinogens but generally in lower concentrations than tobacco smoke. 

  • Each carcinogen contributes quantifiably to the overall cancer potency and risk. 

  • Users and policymakers need quantitative evidence on the relative risks of cancer from the use of VNPs compared with smoking tobacco. 

  • Previous studies considered the individual carcinogens in
an emission; here a method is developed that models the aggregate cancer potencies of all measured carcinogens and overcomes incompatibilities in data reporting conventions enabling direct comparison of the potencies and risks of tobacco smoke with VNP emissions. 

  • Cancer potencies span five orders of magnitude creating a spectrum ranging from uncontaminated air through VNPs to tobacco smoke. 

  • Most e-cigarette analyses indicate cancer potencies <1% that of tobacco smoke and <10% that of a heat-not-burn prototype, although a minority of analyses indicate higher potencies. 

  • Highly carcinogenic emissions from e-cigarettes are avoidable, being due largely to user choice of device setting, liquid formulation and vaping behaviour, highlighting a need for increased user awareness and personal involvement in reducing risk. 

“There are circumstances in which the cancer risks of e-cigarette emissions can escalate, sometimes substantially. These circumstances are usually avoidable when the causes are known.”

This study produced facts that Stanton Glantz’ funder simply can’t stomach. Consequently, the man went to work in an attempt to discredit the paper: “E-cigarettes and cancer: If you ask the wrong question you get the wrong answer”.

Glantz’ contribution to the debate sinks to a new low and smacks of rank desperation. Konstantinos Farsalinos was quick to condemn him: “This unimaginable statement is not only inhumane but it is also totally unscientific and contrary to any available data.” Farsalinos’ full rebuttal can be read here.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
View Articles

Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

Join the discussion

Vaping News

Harm Reduction For The Rich

The United Kingdom risks becoming a harm reduction country only for the wealthy, according to Michael Landl of the World Vapers’ Alliance

Vaping News

A Missed Opportunity at COP10

The Smoke Free Sweden movement says that COP10 was a missed opportunity to save millions of lives

Vaping News

COP10: Promote Tobacco Harm Reduction

Experts with Smoke Free Sweden are emphasising the urgent need for a Tobacco Harm Reduction approach at COP10

Vaping News

EU Commission Called Out

The World Vapers' Alliance calls out the EU Commission's hostile stance on Tobacco Harm Reduction in light of Tobacco Product Directive consultation findings