Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Comparing the cancer potencies of emissions from vapourised nicotine products including e-cigarettes with those of tobacco smoke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Background
Quantifying relative harm caused by inhaling the aerosol emissions of vapourised nicotine products compared with smoking combustible tobacco is an important issue for public health.

Methods
The cancer potencies of various nicotine-delivering aerosols are modelled using published chemical analyses of emissions and their associated inhalation unit risks. Potencies are compared using a conversion procedure for expressing smoke and e-cigarette vapours in common units. Lifetime cancer risks are calculated from potencies using daily consumption estimates.

Results
The aerosols form a spectrum of cancer potencies spanning five orders of magnitude from uncontaminated air to tobacco smoke. E-cigarette emissions span most of this range with the preponderance of products having potencies<1% of tobacco smoke and falling within two orders of magnitude of a medicinal nicotine inhaler; however, a small minority have much higher potencies. These high-risk results tend to be associated with high levels of carbonyls generated when excessive power is delivered to the atomiser coil. Samples of a prototype heat-not-burn device have lower cancer potencies than tobacco smoke by at least one order of magnitude, but higher potencies than most e-cigarettes. Mean lifetime risks decline in the sequence: combustible cigarettes >> heat-not-burn >> e-cigarettes (normal power)≥nicotine inhaler.

Conclusions
Optimal combinations of device settings, liquid formulation and vaping behaviour normally result in e-cigarette emissions with much less carcinogenic potency than tobacco smoke, notwithstanding 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.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
JournalTobacco Control
Volume21
Issue number1
Early online date4 Aug 2017
DOIs
StatePublished - 18 Dec 2017

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. The molybdenum isotopic compositions of I-, S- and A- type granitic suites

    Yang, J., Barling, J., Siebert, C., Fietzke, J., Stephens, E. & Halliday, A. N. 15 May 2017 In : Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 205, p. 168-186 19 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Differences in cigarette design and metal content across five countries: rsounesults from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Project

    Caruso, R. V., Fix, B. V., Thrasher, J. F., Cummings, M. K., Fong, G. T., Stephens, W. E. & O'Connor, R. J. 1 Apr 2016 In : Tobacco Regulatory Science. 2, 2, p. 166-175

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Toxic metal and nicotine content of cigarettes sold in China, 2009 and 2012

    O'Connor, R. J., Schneller, L. M., Caruso, R. V., Stephens, W. E., Li, Q., Yuan, J. & Fong, G. T. 1 Nov 2015 In : Tobacco Control. 24, p. iv55-iv59

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Design characteristics and tobacco metal concentrations in filtered cigars

    Caruso, R. V., O'Connor, R. J., Travers, M. J., Delnevo, C. D. & Stephens, W. E. Nov 2015 In : Nicotine & Tobacco Research . 17, 11, p. 1331-1336

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Relationship between trying an electronic cigarette and subsequent cigarette experimentation in Scottish adolescents: a cohort study

    Best, C., Haseen, F., Currie, D., Ozakinci, G., MacKintosh, A. M., Stead, M., Eadie, D., MacGregor, A., Pearce, J., Amos, A., Frank, J. & Haw, S. Jul 2018 In : Tobacco Control. 27, 4, p. 373-378 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Toxic metal and nicotine content of cigarettes sold in China, 2009 and 2012

    O'Connor, R. J., Schneller, L. M., Caruso, R. V., Stephens, W. E., Li, Q., Yuan, J. & Fong, G. T. 1 Nov 2015 In : Tobacco Control. 24, p. iv55-iv59

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Cigarettes sold in China: design, emissions and metals

    O'Connor, R. J., Li, Q., Stephens, W. E., Hammond, D., Elton-Marshall, T., Cummings, K. M., Giovino, G. A. & Fong, G. T. Oct 2010 In : Tobacco Control. 19, p. - 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 250713926