The Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health is calling for a full ban on e-cigarettes after a study they commissioned discovered that e-cigarettes contain a million more cancer-causing substances than polluted air.
The research, carried out by the Baptist University, also found a type of flame retardant in the devices that affected the reproductive system and could also lead to cancer.
Thirteen random electronic cigarettes available on the Chinese market were analyzed and returned worrying results: the level of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a by-product of burning petroleum also found in polluted roadside air, ranged from 2.9 to 504.5 nanograms per milliliter.
That’s“at least one million times more than roadside air in Hong Kong,”according to Dr Chung Shan-shan, assistant professor in the Baptist University’s biology department.
Another substance of concern found in abundance is Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). These are flame retardants that are widely used in the manufacturing of furniture and electronic products.
With an average 5 nanograms per milliliter in a conventional cigarette, the number of PBDEs in e-cigarettes range from 1.7 to 1,490 nanograms per milliliter.
PBDEs are added to e-cigarettes to reduce the risk of burning in the devices’ plastic combustible components. According to Dr Chung Shan-shan, inhalation of PBDEs has been associated with thyroid hormone disruption and reduction of fertility; it affects fetal development and can cause cancers.