Study: E-cigarettes may not be as safe as you thought

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) – E-cigarettes have exploded in popularity and are generally promoted as being safer than smoking.

However, a new study out of Portland State University is making many question that claim.

“I can tell you, I just opened about a month ago and 80 percent of my customers are trying to quit smoking,” said Michael Han, owner of Vapour Heights.

Most e-cigarettes or “vapes” are marketed as being safer than tobacco cigarettes, so Dr. David Peyton decided to put the devices to the test.

Peyton, a chemistry professor at Portland State University, found that while using an e-cigarette at its highest heat setting, the vapor produced contains hidden formaldehyde.

According to KGW, the formaldehyde registered at levels five to 15 times higher than regular cigarettes.

At a lower voltage, the chemical was not detected.

“We simply need to do a lot more study to understand these devices,” Peyton said.

Public health officials agree.

“The concern with electronic cigarettes is that they are completely unregulated,” said Dr. Jennifer Vines, public health officer. “I think there’s a marketing push to convince us that they’re safe, that the secondhand vapor is safe and we simply don’t know.”

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