E-cigarettes are a quickly growing market, and potentially for good reason. New research out of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota shows the metabolized levels of disease-causing compounds are significantly lower in e-cigarettes than traditional cigarettes.
The research, published online in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, compared compounds found in urine and blood of e-cigarette users to samples from a historical database of users of traditional cigarettes. The e-cigarette users had been using the devices for at least a month and hadn’t had cigarettes in at least two months.
“Because of the huge variety in origin and design of e-cigarette products, it’s difficult to assess a standard set of conditions for compounds in these devices,” said Stephen Hecht, Ph.D., Wallin Land Grant Professor of Cancer Prevention in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and member of the Masonic Cancer Center. “We decided to compare the actual constituent uptake in users, to get a more accurate picture of how these compounds were interacting with the body.”
Hecht led the study in partnership with Dorothy Hatsukami, Ph.D., associate director for Cancer Prevention and Control in the Masonic Cancer Center and Forster Family Professor in Cancer Prevention in the Department of Psychiatry.
“There are still a lot of questions about e-cigarettes and the variety of use,” said Hatsukami. “While the results of this analysis are promising and interesting, there is still a long way to go to understand the best ways to reduce and regulate exposure to disease-causing compounds found in nicotine products.”
One thing researchers noted as similar between samples from both e-cigarette and cigarette users was nicotine levels. Both groups were getting the same amount of nicotine from the products, but in e-cigarette users the toxicants and cancer-causing agents appeared to be much lower and similar to levels of nonsmokers.
Because the research was done comparing a small sample of e-cigarette users to a historical database, researchers on the project are now looking to expand the study.
The study is recruiting exclusive e-cigarette users, smokers of regular cigarettes and non-smokers, please call 612-624-4568.
“The results show disease-causing compounds are significantly lower in e-cigarette users, and this may be a promising result for many people looking to decrease exposure,” said Hecht. “Still, the results aren’t saying e-cigarettes are a safe alternative for smokers. We need to do much more research before we can fully understand what users can expect from this emerging and expanding market of products.”