A study published in the medical journal Addiction has found that electronic cigarette vaporizing liquid (commonly called e-liquid or e-juice) isn’t all that mysterious and scary.
You can read the study here.
Opponents to electronic cigarettes often claim that no one knows what’s in them. In particular, a lack of regulating architecture focused on electronic cigarettes and e-liquid means impurities and concerning ingredient might be all too common to the industry. This is why many (including those in the electronic cigarette industry) believe FDA motion responding to the growth of the new industry should happen sooner than later.
From a scientific standpoint, we already know more about e-liquid than we do cigarette smoke. E-liquid commonly only has 3 parts — nicotine, a pharmaceutical base, and flavoring. It produces a far less complex cloud when vaporized. Cigarette smoke, on the other hand, is believed to possess somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 constituents. We’ve only thus far identified a faction of what exists in tobacco smoke.
Still, there is a difference between understanding the underlying ingredients of a product and knowing that it maintains a certain level of cleanliness and quality.
The study analyzed 20 electronic cigarette models from 10 of what it called the most popular brands of refill liquids. Researchers used gas and liquid chromatography to determine nicotine content as well as the presence of nicotine related impurities, ethylene glycol, and diethylene glycol (here’s why that matters).
The level of nicotine in the e-liquids was found to be in line with what was stated on their labels. Nicotine-related impurities were very low to non-existent. None of the liquids contained either ethylene or diethylene glycol.
About half the bottles tested met medicinal standards set for nicotine products in the European Pharmacopoeia (a listing of active substances and their appropriate employment). However, even the e-liquids found to contain more impurities than medicinal standards allow for nicotine products are said by researchers to be below the level where they would be likely to cause harm.
Professor Etter — who helmed the study — concludes that even at the highest level of impurities found in the study, electronic cigarette use “would still be much less dangerous than smoking.”