A misleading statement regarding levels of formaldehyde in electronic cigarettes has made news. According to Naoiki Kunugita, a researcher at the Department of Environmental Health-National Institute of Public Health in Japan, e-cigarettes have “more than ten times the level of carcinogens contained in one regular cigarette”. Kunugita and his colleagues submitted their report on Thursday and understandably it has alarmed the public.
Amidst the media frenzy, Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos interjects with scientifically accurate information. While the media presented this story as a comprehensive analysis of all carcinogens in cigarettes, the Japanese researchers only reported on one such carcinogen: formaldehyde. The findings described formaldehyde as “a substance found in building materials and embalming fluids”. In his response, Dr. Farsalinos informs readers that in reality formaldehyde is present in all of our surroundings.
Armed with factual data, Dr. Farsalinos manages to poke holes in the claim that electronic cigarettes contain formaldehyde at “ten levels higher than cigarettes”. In his rebuttal, Farsalinos compares the list of published studies in which Prof. Kunugita sourced his results to a Canadian study conducted on the levels of formaldehyde in cigarette smoke. On average a single cigarette contains 200mcg of formaldehyde. This is six times higher than the highest amount (34mcg) found in the e-cigarettes reported by Kunugita.
The average level of formaldehyde found in the e-cig samples was 4.2mcg per 10 puffs. This is an average of 50 times lower than levels found in tobacco cigarette smoke.
Fortunately, there are scientists and doctors dedicated to providing the public with factual information. These findings reinforce the need for scientifically correct information. In the pursuit of science, we will continue to publish only accurate research.