20.08.2012 change 20.08.2012

Scientists in Sosnowiec investigate the effects of e-cigarette on health

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Researchers from the Institute of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health in Sosnowiec investigate the effects of electronic cigarette on health. Recent studies conducted in other centres, are inconclusive and do not answer all questions - the researchers explain.

The study is conducted by a team led by Prof. Andrzej Sobczak, head of the Department of Chemical Hazards and Genetic Toxicology at the institute in Sosnowiec. The team is composed of experts in chemistry, medicine, biology and toxicology. The first results of their work could be known in September.

Prof. Sobczak have been focusing on the toxicology of tobacco smoke for many years. Growing popularity of e-cigarettes led him To investigate these devices; they can be bought in almost every supermarket. They are also often presented in cinema and on television.

"The question is whether such device could tempt young people, who have not tried ordinary cigarettes, to try electronic cigarettes. Meanwhile, the safety issues involved have not been fully explored" - noted Prof. Sobczak.

E-cigarettes usually resemple traditional cigarettes. Instead of tobacco they contain a special fluid containing nicotine. The liquid is heated and formed aerosol inhaled into the lungs.

Scientists have no doubt that the ordinary cigarettes are more harmful than electronic ones. In the latter there is no combustion and thus no release of harmful substances. This does not mean they do not have any effect on health.

It is not known, for example, what nicotine doses e-cigarette emit into the lungs; it is not known whether the nicotine content is evenly distributed. The results of previous studies conducted in other countries, are inconclusive - explains Prof. Sobczak.

The content of e-cigarette cartridge is heated to a temperature of (according to various data) 100 to 200 degrees Celsius, to form an aerosol. "The question is whether at this temperature there are any chemical changes that lead to the formation of harmful compounds. We do not know this" - said the scientist.

Prof. Sobczak noted that different countries treat electronic cigarettes differently. In most countries e-cigarette has been classified as a tobacco product, not a medical product that can be helpful in nicotine replacement therapy.

"The World Health Organization has adopted a clear position that until comprehensive studies, including clinical studies, of these devices are completed, manufacturers are not allowed to advertise these products as effective nicotine replacement therapy" - said Prof. Sobczak.

The earliest date, available probably in September, will concern the composition of aerosols emitted by e-cigarettes. Later, next year, researchers from Sosnowiec will have cytotoxicity and genotoxicity results.

Department of Chemical Hazards and Genetic Toxicology determines the presence and harmfulness of chemical substances, mainly heavy metals and organic substances, in the human environment. Specialists perform expert assessment of the potential presence of chemical substances.

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