Context: Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have earned considerable attention recently as an alternative to smoking tobacco, but uncertainties about their impact on health and indoor air quality have resulted in proposals for bans on indoor e-cigarette use.
Objective: To assess potential health impacts relating to the use of e-cigarettes, a series of studies were conducted using e-cigarettes and standard tobacco cigarettes.
Methods and materials: Four different high nicotine e-liquids were vaporized in two sets of experiments by generic 2-piece e-cigarettes to collect emissions and assess indoor air concentrations of common tobacco smoke by products. Tobacco cigarette smoke tests were conducted for comparison.
Results: Comparisons of pollutant concentrations were made between e-cigarette vapor and tobacco smoke samples. Pollutants included VOCs, carbonyls, PAHs, nicotine, TSNAs, and glycols. From these results, risk analyses were conducted based on dilution into a 40 m³ room and standard toxicological data. Non-cancer risk analysis revealed "No Significant Risk" of harm to human health for vapor samples from e-liquids (A-D). In contrast, for tobacco smoke most findings markedly exceeded risk limits indicating a condition of "Significant Risk" of harm to human health. With regard to cancer risk analysis, no vapor sample from e-liquids A-D exceeded the risk limit for either children or adults. The tobacco smoke sample approached the risk limits for adult exposure.
Conclusions: For all byproducts measured, electronic cigarettes produce very small exposures relative to tobacco cigarettes. The study indicates no apparent risk to human health from e-cigarette emissions based on the compounds analyzed.