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Study Compares Second-hand E-Cig To Regular Cigarette Smoke

Update Date: Aug 29, 2014 09:56 AM EDT

E-cigarettes might be healthier for your neighbors than traditional cigarettes but it still releases toxins into the air, according to a new study. 

Researchers studying secondhand smoke from e-cigarettes discovered an overall 10-fold decrease in exposure to harmful particles, with close-to-zero exposure to organic carcinogens, the press release added. 

Despite the lack of harmful organic material and a decrease in the majority of toxic metals emissions, e-cigarette smoke contains the toxic element chromium. It also contains nickel at levels four times higher than traditional cigarettes. 

"Our results demonstrate that overall electronic cigarettes seem to be less harmful than regular cigarettes, but their elevated content of toxic metals such as nickel and chromium do raise concerns," said Constantinos Sioutas, professor at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and corresponding author of the study, in the press release.

The research is aimed at quantifying the level of exposure to harmful organics and metals in second-hand e-cigarette smoke and hopes to provide insight for the regulatory authorities. 

"The metal particles likely come from the cartridge of the e-cigarette devices themselves - which opens up the possibility that better manufacturing standards for the devices could reduce the quantity of metals in the smoke," said Arian Saffari, a PhD student at USC Viterbi and lead author of the paper. "Studies of this kind are necessary for implementing effective regulatory measures. E-cigarettes are so new, there just isn't much research available on them yet."

The study has been released in the Journal of Environmental Science, Processes and Impacts.

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