E-cigarettes 1 million times more harmful than polluted air, study raises cancer concern

Are E-Cigarettes Actually Worse Than the Real Thing?
Are E-Cigarettes Actually Worse Than the Real Thing?

A new study from Hong Kong Baptist University has found that e-cigarettes may be more dangerous than previously thought.

Although e-cigarettes are often used as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, the study discovered that e-cigarettes contain one million times more cancer-causing substances than outdoor air heavily polluted Hong Kong.

SEE ALSO: Study links e-cigarettes to incurable disease called 'Popcorn Lung'

Researchers found that the level of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a by-product of burning petroleum that is commonly detected in roadside air and carries various kinds of chemicals that promote growth of cancer cells, to be much higher in e-cigarettes than in samples of conventional cigarettes.

"[The level of PAHs] in e-cigarettes is at least one million times more than roadside air in Hong Kong," Chung Shan-shan, an assistant professor of biology at Hong Kong Baptist University told the South China Morning Post.

The study also found a type of flame retardant that affects the reproductive system and could lead to cancer to be present in e-cigarettes. This is the first time this substance has been found in e-cigarettes.

"Even though we don't know the exact number of e-cigarettes one should take, not to mention that many of the carcinogenic effects are cumulative, I don't think there is a safe margin," Chung added.

The Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health called for a ban on e-cigarettes after the findings were announced.

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