It’s a $250 million-a-year industry slated to quadruple by 2014 that sells 20 million flavored cartridges and 10 million disposables a year in the U.S. alone.
Nearly 10 years after a Hon Lik invented the electronic cigarette, and five years after the e cigarette market began expanding, scientific studies showing the benefits of digital cigarettes are popping up left and right.
A University of London study conducted by Dr. Lynne Dawkins and published in early 2012 shows that smoking the vapor cigarettes actually increases memory. Dawkins’ conclusion is based on a test group of 85 men and women randomly given a nicotine e cigarette and a placebo.
“We found that e-cigarettes with nicotine help maintain working memory in smokers who have not smoked for an hour or two,” said Dawkins in the April edition of Science Daily. Dawkins said the study also shows decreased urges and cravings normally associated with cigarette smoking, as well as a positive increase in mood when smoking e cigs.
According to a report focused on passive vaping in the July edition of the science journal Outdoor Air, researchers employed two focus groups – one that smoked electronic cigarettes, the other, traditional tobacco cigarettes. Levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were greatly reduced in the vapor of an e cigarette when compared with the same amount of tobacco smoke.
Further proof of e cig benefits lies in a yet-to-be-released German analysis, set for future publication in Indoor Air.
Researchers had test subjects smoke both tobacco and vapor in an emissions chamber, and then used a gas chromatography/mass spectrometry for measurement.
Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Boston University of Public Health, was quoted as saying that the German chromatography study “confirms electronic cigarette use greatly reduces the user’s exposure to a wide range of chemicals commonly found in tobacco smoke.”
The study also reveals that formaldehyde, a chemical found in tobacco and digital cigarettes, isn’t nearly as prevalent as previously thought in the electronic variety.
“I find it fascinating that a few years ago one of these studies concluded that there were traces of harmful VOCs such as formaldehyde,” said Matt Steingraber of White Cloud Cigarettes, a popular brand of electronic cigarettes. “This study notes that traces of formaldehyde were so small, they could have been introduced by human test subjects,” said Steingraber.
Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring byproduct of human metabolism, regularly exhaled while breathing.
A joint study performed by Clearstream Air, in conjunction with Milan, Italy group FlavourArt and Utah Vapers, has also found that there is no harm in exhaled, or passive vapor. The results even went as far as to raise the point that it would be much more harmful to breathe in the air of any major downtown metropolis, than to breathe in second-hand vapor.
And New Zealand’s health minister Tony Ryall has even weighed in, stating in the New Zealand Herald that electronic cigarettes are “far safer” than puffing on tobacco, becoming one of, if not the only, public official from any country to praise the benefits of e cigarettes.
“The risks to smokers of pure nicotine, delivered in doses seen with the e cigarette are extremely low,” said Ryall.