Home Science A quick demonstration of formaldehyde levels produced by an Ecig, a cigarette...

A quick demonstration of formaldehyde levels produced by an Ecig, a cigarette and a cigar

In a video, Dr Robert Cranfield debunks the findings of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in January 2015 entitled "Hidden Formaldehyde in E-Cigarette Aerosols".


A controversial study on formaldehyde emissions

Fig. 1, Jensen et al., 2015
Fig. 1, Jensen et al., 2015

The controversial study published by Paul Jensen and co-authors from the Portland State University (Portland, OR) established that “an e-cigarette user vaping at a rate of 3 ml per day would inhale 14.4±3.3 mg of formaldehyde per day in formaldehyde-releasing agents.”, estimating the risk of cancer associated to vaping up to 15 times as high as long-term smoking, according to published results.

Vigorous reactions in the scientific community

Many researchers, among which Konstantinos Farsalinos and Michael Siegel, vigorously reacted to the protocol used by Jensen et al., and invalidated their conclusions.

In a reply to the comments, three of the co-authors of the original publication, excluding Jensen himself, recognized that combusted cigarettes “contain many toxicants at relatively higher concentrations than ENDS” but maintain their findings by rejecting the hypothesis that at such levels of formaldehydes, a dry burn is likely happening, which creates a self refusal by vapers. Following this publication, Konstantinos Farsalinos published an article entitled “E-cigarettes generate high levels of aldehydes only in ‘dry puff’ conditions.” that concludes: “Electronic cigarettes produce high levels of aldehyde only in dry puff conditions, in which the liquid overheats, causing a strong unpleasant taste that e-cigarette users detect and avoid. Under normal vaping conditions aldehyde emissions are minimal, even in new-generation high-power e-cigarettes.

Robert Cranfield believes that “research to date has focused too much on potential hazards of vaping and not at all on what has happened to people who have already been vaping for years.” In a survey that he carried out in 2015, he retrospectively looked at the health consequences of electronic cigarettes and concluded in a significant decrease of adverse health events from 1.78 while smoking to 0.07 after starting to vape. He notices from his results that “Many of the groups who would benefit from the harm reduction of e-cigarettes are not using them in significant numbers” and proposes actions to encourage vaping and reverse the impact of years of combustible tobacco use by “keeping these [vaping] products inexpensive, avoiding punitive taxes and encouraging smokers to try vaping”.

More information on well being and vaping:

What do scientists think about vaping? – Riccardo Polosa at Vapexpo 2016, Paris


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