E-Cigs Contain Toxic Metals That Can Kill You: How Many Are In Danger In The US?

WHO Urges Stiff Regulatory Curbs on E-Cigarettes
E-cigarette users may be exposed to potentially toxic amounts of metals such as lead, nickel, manganese and chromium. Here are the number of people in the United States that are at risk of the adverse effects of using these vaping devices.   ( Dan Kitwood | Getty Images )

Researchers have found that significant amount of toxic metals such as a lead leak from some e-cigarette heating coils and are also present in the aerosol inhaled by users.

E-Cigarettes Expose Users To Toxic Metals

Findings of the new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives on February 21 revealed that a significant number of vaping devices generate aerosols with unsafe levels of chromium, manganese, nickel or lead.

"Our findings indicate that e-cigarettes are a potential source of exposure to toxic metals (Cr, Ni, and Pb), and to metals that are toxic when inhaled (Mn and Zn)," researchers wrote in their study. "Markedly higher concentrations in the aerosol and tank samples versus the dispenser demonstrate that coil contact induced e-liquid contamination."


Chronic inhalations of the metals have been associated with potentially deadly health conditions such as cardiovascular, brain, immune and liver damage, as well as cancers.

"It's important for the FDA, the e-cigarette companies and vapers themselves to know that these heating coils, as currently made, seem to be leaking toxic metals--which then get into the aerosols that vapers inhale," said study researcher Ana María Rule from the Bloomberg School's Department of Environmental Health and Engineering.

Smoking traditional tobacco products have long been associated with health risks and death. Findings of a growing number of studies, however, suggest that e-cigarettes may also pose danger.

In a study published in January, researchers reported that e-cigarette liquids can damage the lungs regardless that these chemicals do not contain nicotine.

Animal studies likewise show that nicotine in e-cigarettes can damage the DNA, which can potentially increase the risk for cancer.

Millions Potentially At Risk Of Health Effects Of E-Cigarette Use

Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the number of people in the United States who may be at risk of the health effects of e-cigarettes.

In 2016, more than 3 percent of U.S. adults are users of e-cigarettes. Studies have revealed that many adults use e-cigarettes to quit smoking. Unfortunately, most of these e-cig users do not stop smoking and instead, continue to use both products.

Youths are more likely to use the vaping devices than adults.

In 2016, more than 2 million middle and high school students in the United States used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. Data showed that 4.3 percent of middle school students and 11. 3 percent of high school students in the country have used e-cigarettes.

"E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products," CDC warned. "If you've never smoked or used other tobacco products or e-cigarettes, don't start."

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