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Acrolein and other Carbonyls in Cig Smoke 17th April 2013
04-02-2014, 07:06 PM
Post: #1
Acrolein and other Carbonyls in Cig Smoke 17th April 2013
Determination of acrolein and other carbonyls in cigarette smoke (but they also tested an e-cigarette)

I was recently informed about an old study from 2010, that has been used by various health authorities as an argument for the risks imposed by e-cigarettes. Moreover, it has raised a lot of controversy and confusion among vapers, because the methodology cannot be easily understood.


When I was informed about this, at first I read the abstract and the “Methods” section. No mention of electronic cigarette or of any tests on electronic cigarette in these setions. So, I posted a comment on facebook that it has nothing to do with the e-cigarette. However, out of nowhere (or from the sky, as we say in Greece) came a paragraph in “Results” section, discussing about tests on electronic cigarettes and detection of significant levels of acrolein and formaldehyde.


So, it is important to make it clear to everyone. First of all, it is indeed a test on electronic cigarette (probably a first generation, vacuum-activated, cigarette-like device). People reading the study got confused about the HQ-DNPH cartridges that were connected to the e-cigarette. To make it easier to understand, these are small boxes that are attached at the mouth-tip of the e-cigarette, allow air to pass through them and trap acrolein. So, they applied vacuum in order to activate the e-cigarette, and air+vapor passed through these externally attached boxes that trapped acrolein. It was indeed a test of e-cigarette.


BUT, the methodology used is completely unacceptable. They applied vacuum at flow rates of 500ml/min. Considering that vapers most probably take 50-70ml puffs in 4 seconds, they used a flow rate similar to taking 10 puffs per minute. Impossible for anyone to do. Moreover, they do not mention for how long they applied this vacuum. Did they do it for 1 minute? Meaning that the e-cigarette device was continuously activated for 1 minute, causing such overheat that it would be unbearable for any vaper to use it. I suspect that several parts of the e-cigarette internals should have melted by following such a procedure. Therefore, I am not surprized that they found such chemicals.


In conclusion, yes, they tested an e-cigarette. In conditions that no vaper is able to use it. The paper is overall an excellent example of bias and misinformation. No reference to e-cigarette is mentioned in the “Methods” section, no information on e-cigarette handling was provided in “Results” section. And arbitrary conclusions were made from this study, which are non-applicable to real use. I can understand that some media and journalists might use this study to support an article about the risks of e-cigarettes. I would understand their confusion from reading such a bad paper. However, for public health authorities to refer to this study, it is a complete disgrace!


Link to page on Dr Farsalinos site
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