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An American e-cigarette science publication was presented at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) which states that flavourings in e-cigarettes would produce new toxic chemicals. These chemical mix would cause irritations of the airways, triggering reactions that can lead to respiratory and cordial and vascular problems according to prof. Sven-Eric Jordt, associate professor of anaesthesiology, pharmacology and cancer biology at Duke University School of Medicine (North Carolina, USA) and analytical chemist Dr Hanno Erythropel and colleagues at Yale University.

Should we be alarmed on this publication?

First of all, the comment that e-cigarettes are not 100% risk free. One can repeatedly emphisize that the e-cigarette has some risks, but we all know that for more than a decade. Most users of e-cigarettes are aware of that, but THEY compare e-cigarettes with tobacco cigarettes and seen in that context they are significant less harmful. Most researchers just “forget” to mention this comparison, probably with a reason.

The main anchor of this scientific publication by Jordt and Erythropel is the ERS Conference abstract which reports:

“a discovery” of the formation of novel “toxic chemicals” in e-cigs from the reaction between ingredients–alcohols (PG, VG)+aldehydes (vanillin, benzaldehyde) which are just acetals. “

(Quote: Farsalinos on Facebook)

It appears not to be a so much unexpected discovery, because this was found already in 1933 by Nels Minné and Homer Adkins in their publication “Structure and Reactants and the extend of acetal formation”

As Farsalinos said:

It’s like American scientists have discovered America (again)

(quote: farsalinos on Facebook)

At the platform Science Media Center (SMC) Prof Jacob George, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Therapeutics, University of Dundee said:

(..) “It is important to note that the concentrations of principle flavourants and nicotine in e-cigarettes is much lower in the EU than in the US. Data presented here is of in vitro cell work and not human clinical trials. Therefore any extrapolation to whole system human physiology is tenuous at best.” (..)

(quote: Prof. Jacob George on Science Media Center Expert Comments)

Also on the same SMC platform, Dr Nicholas Hopkinson, Reader in Respiratory Medicine, Imperial College London, said:

(..) “Smokers who switch to vaping will derive a significant health benefit, with reduced exposure to cancer causing chemicals and improved blood vessel function. However, people vaping should try to quit in the long run as there is likely to be some risk, but not at the expense of going back to smoking.” (..)

(quote: Dr. Nocholas Hopkinson on Science Media Center Expert Comments)

He also thinks that it is not clear what the significance of the findings are, because of the lack of comparison with tobacco cigarettes. And that is what we also stated a few alineas back.

An other question is how this research was conducted and with help of which machines? It’s not clearified, but it’s of major importance to know for the purpose to have an objective p2p review on this research:

“what are the machines used to reproduce the vaporization protocol as well as the materials related to the trapping of substances in the vapor of electronic cigarettes?”

(quote: Carmine Canino Presidente Nazionale ANPVU)

Another aspect with this publication is that the titel suggests that it involves liquids in general, while later on it appears that just three aroma’s are involved, Vanilla, Cinnamon and red fruit (mixed with PG and VG). If it has been so specific one can’t generalize this in the title.


There are several flaws to be found in this scientific paper and the significance is doubful because of the lack of comparison with tobacco cigarettes. It’s obvious that ERS this is using as another tool to try to demonise the e-cigarette. But, saying that, it’s of no value. Should we be alarmed? No….

Please read also the press release from italian association of e-cig consumers that call for the withdrawal of the research of Duke medical center. Learn more….

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