(Phys.org)—Electronic cigarettes have had their share of both detractors and advocates since they hit the market in 2004. Many people believe that they are healthier than cigarettes, but others say that the effects of e-cigarette vapors are largely unknown. Medical organizations have generally taken a cautious approach and do not specifically recommend e-cigarettes for stopping smoking or as a healthier alternative to smoking.
Smoking cigarettes can lead to illness and death. Free radicals, which are atoms or groups of atoms with unpaired electrons, in inhaled smoke are thought to be partly responsible for making smokers sick. Now researchers report in ACS’ journal Chemical Research in Toxicology a method for measuring free radicals in cigarette smoke that could help improve our understanding of the relationship between these substances and health.
While previous studies have found that electronic cigarettes emit toxic compounds, a new study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has pinpointed the source of these emissions and shown how factors such as the temperature, type, and age of the device play a role in emission levels, information that could be valuable to both manufacturers and regulators seeking to minimize the health impacts of these increasingly popular devices.