Turns out e-cigarettes are delivering a hefty dose of formaldehyde

Gotta say, this isn’t exactly shocking. The formaldehyde part of it is, but of course there was going to be something unhealthy or unsafe about e-cigarettes. That’s pretty much what always seems to happen with new (not federally regulated) health “fixes.” But it isn’t clear how dangerous it might be, according to the researchers at […]

Gotta say, this isn’t exactly shocking.

The formaldehyde part of it is, but of course there was going to be something unhealthy or unsafe about e-cigarettes. That’s pretty much what always seems to happen with new (not federally regulated) health “fixes.”

But it isn’t clear how dangerous it might be, according to the researchers at Portland State University. who published their findings Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. (Despite the fact that the amount of formaldehyde hemiacetal looks to be about five times as much as what someone would get from smoking a pack a day.)

The formaldehyde, which is carcinogenic, is apparently hidden and attached to another molecule, so it’s not totally clear how or if it could be released in the body.

“We don’t know the health effects of this,” said professor David Peyton, a lead researcher on the project. “It could be benign. Or it may be quite dangerous. We detected a boatload of it.”

Studies with the National Cancer Institute have indicated that exposure to formaldehyde could be linked to cancer. Depending on what researchers find out about this issue, it looks like people trying to quit smoking for their health really might not be doing themselves any favors by switching to e-cigarettes.

The Food and Drug Administration proposed similar restrictions on e-cigarettes as tobacco last year, which are currently under review.

[Photo from Flickr user Mike Mozart]