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E-cigarettes and toxins

E-cigarettes are usually compared to normal cigarettes when it comes to assessing how harmful they are. The latter have a significantly higher potential level of harmful substances because the combustion process automatically leads to the release of a large number of substances. Many of those substances are deemed to be harmful or potentially harmful.1 In contrast, e-cigarettes vaporize a liquid: Their vapor contains fewer pollutants than cigarette smoke does.2 That is why e-cigarettes are presumed to be less harmful than normal cigarettes. However, that does not mean that the e-cigarette is a "healthy product". Although it comes to a reduction in pollutant release compared to a cigarette, the best thing for the health is still the absolute stop smoking.

The most important info at a glance

E-cigarettes and health

Many smokers are considering a switch to e-cigarettes and looking for information on the subject. The correlation between e-cigarettes and health is often of particular importance here. What is clear: E-cigarettes are not healthy. The vapor from e-cigarettes does contain toxins. Yet the quantity of harmful substances and their concentrations are lower than the levels in an ordinary tobacco cigarette, as recent studies show.3

What exactly are the components in the liquids?

Liquids consist of propylene glycol (E number: 1520), glycerin (E number: 422), distilled water, flavors, and nicotine (exception: nicotine-free liquids). Glycerin provides vapor production, while propylene glycol is used as a transporter for the flavors contained in the liquid. Both are substances that have been in use for decades, with one example being the fog machines at dance clubs. The flavors in the liquids sold in Germany originate from the food & beverage industry.

Which toxins do e-cigarettes contain?

The level of harm from e-cigarettes depends on the toxins produced when the liquids are vaporized. That is why the contents of liquids (the government refers to them as “e-liquids”) are subject to clear regulation: Requirements include the highest level of purity and a maximum nicotine level of 20 mg / ml. Cartridge size is also limited to 10 ml.

When vaporizing a liquid, an aerosol is released which contains significantly lower levels of toxins than cigarette smoke does. However, the vapor from an e-cigarettes could contain substances that can cause harm to the respiratory system.

Are liquids harmful?

There are only a few long-term studies available on the harmfulness of vaping, because e-cigarettes are still rather new as a technology. That is why no definitive assessment can be made here. Fundamentally speaking, the inhalation of artificially generated vapor is not healthy, especially when done with elevated doses and frequency. Most liquids contain nicotine, which is addictive. The UK Department of Health and Social Care has evaluated the findings currently available and come to the conclusion that the vapor from e-cigarettes has up to 95% fewer toxins than the smoke from ordinary cigarettes.4

IQOS 2.4 Kit Produktskizze
IQOS 2.4 Kit Produktskizze

How harmful are e-cigarettes with tobacco?

There are no e-cigarettes with tobacco, but there are electric tobacco heating systems and vaporizers. They don’t vaporize liquids, but rather heat tobacco to create a tobacco vapor. In Germany, there are now various systems and technologies available for heating or vaporizing tobacco. Similar to e-cigarettes, the toxins and their concentrations vary depending on the technology or temperature in the aerosol (tobacco vapor). To cite an example, it is important that the temperature not exceed a critical level during vaporization.

IQOS is a tobacco heating system into which ten years of development work have been invested. The patented IQOS HeatControl™ Technology ensures temperature is maintained at the ideal level at all times and, in combination with HEETS tobacco sticks keeps tobacco flavor consistent - for a duration of 14 puffs or around 6 minutes (whatever comes first). IQOS combines the advantages of an e-cigarette with the new, authentic flavor of genuine tobacco. That is why IQOS is a real alternative for smokers.


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