Most cigarette toxins are not detected in e-cigarette vapour, accounting to a comprehensive chemical comparison published in the Chemical Research in Toxicology.

The test concluded that toxicant content of e-cig vapour is around 95% less than traditional tobacco smoke, reaffirming the widely accepted study conducted by Public Health England that e-cigs are 95% safer than cigarettes.

The vapour utilised in the experiments was from the Vype ePen, which is a commercially available vaping product. The Cigarette used was a Kentucky Reference Cigarette 3R4F.

‘Puffing’ robots were placed in separate rooms and were administered smoke and e-cig vapour. As levels from some substances in e-cigarette vapour were expected to be low, the air was also examined to identify contamination and analytical artefacts. The test was conducted on a per-puff basis.

Independent contract labs quantified the following emissions:

“Carbon/nitrogen oxides, carbonyls/dicarbonyls, alcohols/di-alcohols, phenols, o-heterocycles, chlorinated dioxins/furans; volatile, substituted and, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons; amides, azines, aromatic and aliphatic amines, nicotine & related compounds, nitrosamines, metals and radionuclides.”

Dr Kevin McAdam, Head of Research for Next Generation Products for British American Tobacco, explains the study.

“There are few publications examining the broad chemical composition of e-cigarettes, with most focusing on specific compounds or compound groups.”

“We have tested for a total of 142 compounds, including those listed by the US Food and Drug Administration as harmful or potentially harmful (HPHC), those compounds listed by the World Health Organisation, and Health Canada, and those reported previously to be generated by e-cigarettes.”

Propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerine (VG), menthol and chromium were the only constituents more prominent in e-cig vapour, which wasn’t a surprise to Doctor McAdam.

“We expected to see PG and VG and menthol in the aerosol as they are used to make e-liquid.”

The nichrome wire, which is used for the heating element, explained chromium presence but exposures are likely to be lower than that from smoking.

Public Health England, the authors of the original claim that e-cigs were 95% safer, recently swatted down erroneous vaping reports.