One of the distinguishing features of electronic cigarettes (eCigs), is that unlike smoke produced from conventional cigarettes, which contains a mixture of harmful chemicals, the vapor produced from eCigs mainly consists of water vapor. Many eCig companies highlight the absence of smoke in their products as a USP of the product.
For instance, V2 Cigs, whose advertisements claim that the product produces the thickest vapor, also promotes the fact that it is “smoke free.” A Blu eCig advertisement proudly claims in bold letters, “vapor is the new smoke,” a clear reference to the fact that eCigs do not emit the chemicals found in conventional cigarettes. Pure Smokeless eCig ads showcase a stream of clear water accompanied by the message, “smooth tasting vapor cigarettes.” It is not hard to imagine what the eCig manufacturers are trying to imply with the ad- the vapor produced from the eCig is as safe and pure as water.
E-cigs deliver vapor to users by heating a solution of glycerin, nicotine and flavoring agents. E-liquids are flavored, including tobacco, menthol, coffee, candy, fruit and alcohol flavorings. A recent study1 found that the vapors emitted from eCigs are not just “pure water vapor” as advertised by the companies but contain nicotine as well as traces of other substances. The vapor was found to contain at levels lower than conventional cigarettes the following chemicals- formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetic acid and other toxins.
1. Grana, Rachel A., et al. "Electronic Cigarettes." Circulation 129.19 (2014): e490-e492.