New peer-reviewed research recently published in the Journal of Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods shows that smokers who completely substitute conventional cigarettes with commercial e-cigarettes experience dramatic reductions in exposure to harmful chemicals that are thought to contribute to tobacco-related diseases, not that dissimilar to complete smoking cessation.
The clinical findings measured the changes in 15 biomarkers of exposure to harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) – reported by FDA to be significant contributors to smoking-associated disease risks, including carbon monoxide, aldehydes, and tobacco-specific nitrosamines – in the urine, blood, and exhaled breath of 105 adult smokers during a five-day controlled trial.
“To provide comparative information for this study, we split participants into three groups,” explained Dr. Grant O’Connell, vice president of corporate and regulatory affairs of Fontem Ventures, an e-cigarette company based in the Netherlands. “Importantly, we requested the first group abstain from tobacco and vaping entirely to give us a benchmark for the maximum achievable exposure reductions. The second group used e-cigarettes exclusively and the third used both e-cigarettes and their usual brand of tobacco cigarettes. Encouragingly, in eight out of the nine urinary biomarkers we studied, the reductions in levels of HPHCs following exclusive use of e-cigarettes were almost indistinguishable from reductions in smokers who stopped altogether during the same time. The obvious exception was nicotine.”
In the blood of both e-cigarette users and smokers who quit, levels of carbon monoxide were reduced by over 75%. Levels of volatile organic compounds such as acrolein, benzene, and 1-3-butadiene were reduced by over 80% in both groups. Similarly, levels of tobacco-specific nitrosamines were reduced by 66-98% in the cessation group, and 62-93% in the e-cigarette group.
“Interestingly, when it came to the dual use group who halved their self-reported daily cigarette consumption of tobacco cigarettes by using e-cigarettes, we also saw reductions in exposure to HPHCs that were broadly proportional to the reduction in number of cigarettes smoked,” said O’Connell. “The findings support earlier research conducted by Fontem Ventures which showed that e-cigarette vapor is over 95% less toxic than smoke from a cigarette, contains over 95% less HPHCs, and does not negatively impact indoor air quality, unlike conventional cigarette smoke.”
“These latest findings are encouraging in that they support the results of other third party studies, which conclude that e-cigarettes offer smokers a less harmful alternative to tobacco,” said Marc Michelsen, senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications at Fontem.