E-fags have ‘more carcinogens’
TOKYO: E-cigarettes contain up to 10 times the amount of cancer-causing agents as regular tobacco, Japanese scientists say, in the latest blow to an invention once heralded as less harmful than smoking.
A team of researchers commissioned by Japan’s Health Ministry studied the vapour produced by e-cigarettes for signs of carcinogens, a media report said yesterday.
The electronic devices – increasingly popular around the world, particularly among young people – function by heating flavoured liquid, which often contains nicotine, which becomes a vapour that is inhaled, much like traditional cigarettes, but without the smoke.
Researchers found carcinogens such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde in vapour produced by several types of e-cigarette liquid, TBS television reported.
Formaldehyde – a substance found in building materials and embalming fluids – was present at levels 10 times higher than those found in the smoke from regular cigarettes.
Researcher Naoki Kunugita and his team at the National Institute of Public Health submitted their report to the ministry yesterday. Neither Kunugita nor anyone from the ministry was available to confirm the report.
In common with many jurisdictions, Japan does not regulate e-cigarettes, which can be bought easily on the internet. Unlike in some Western countries, they are not readily available in shops.
In August, the World Health Organization called on governments to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, saying they posed a “serious threat” to unborn babies and children.
The UN health body also said they should be banned from indoor public spaces. – Sapa-AFP
CANCER STICK: Electronic cigarettes contain formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.