- June 29, 2018
A Smoking Gun Cancer-causing chemicals in e-cigarettes
E-cigarettes (technically known as electronic nicotine delivery systems) have
become big business. While e-cigarettes have been widely marketed for less than
a decade, today U.S. sales are about 3.5 billion dollars a year and some estimates
say that about 10% of Americans have used e-cigarettes. Use by teens has grown
exponentially, tripling in one year. Part of the appeal of these devices is that they are
marketed as safe and free of the health problems caused by cigarettes. In particular,
many users believe that e-cigarettes do not produce cancer-causing chemicals.
The Center for Environmental Health commissioned an independent laboratory to
test 97 e-cigarette products purchased from major retailers and online sellers for
the production of two cancer-causing chemicals, acetaldehyde and formaldehyde.
We tested products made by 24 companies, including all of the leading U.S. brands.
Twenty-one of the 24 companies whose products were tested had at least one
product that produced high levels of one or both of these chemicals, in violation
of California’s consumer protection law, Proposition 65.
CEH is taking legal action
against these companies for failing to warn consumers about exposures to these
chemicals from their products, as required under Prop 65. This follows our previous
legal action against companies that were not informing customers about the nicotine
in their products.
Some e-cigarette consumers use nicotine-free products. While some people may
believe that e-cigarettes without nicotine are safe, our testing showed that high
levels of these cancer-causing chemicals are produced even by some e-cigarettes
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