Chemical analysis has revealed no detectable difference between the vapours produced by an e-cigarette (Vype ePen) and a novel hybrid device, containing tobacco (iFuse).
Previous research revealed that the levels of nearly all tested toxicants in Vype ePen vapour are much lower than in cigarette smoke. The Royal College of Physicians is among those who say that smokers should switch to e-cigarettes to reduce harm and help them quit smoking. However, some consumers say that they want more tobacco taste.
To remedy this, researchers at British American Tobacco have created a hybrid device, iFuse, that combines the workings of an e-cigarette with a tobacco component. This device heats tobacco, rather than burning it.
An e-liquid is heated and a vapour is produced that passes through tobacco. Although the tobacco is only gently heated (around 35ºC) by the vapour, this is sufficient to release the tobacco flavour.
Consumer testing revealed that this produces a great tasting vapour. Analysing the general vapour composition using non-targeted chemical screening, the scientists could find no significant difference between the vapours generated by the novel hybrid tobacco product and the tobacco-free control product (Vype ePen).
iFuse vapour was also assessed for some known cigarette smoke toxicants and substances formed by electronic vaping products, and compared to the control Vype ePen, a reference cigarette (Kentucky 3R4F) and air blanks.
Of the 113 compounds tested, only 26 were quantified in the vapour from the hybrid tobacco product. The classes and levels of toxicants generated by the hybrid tobacco product were similar to those from the control e-cigarette, Vype ePen, and were 92 to >99% lower on a per-puff basis than those in smoke from the reference cigarette. Many of the analytes quantified in the hybrid tobacco product vapour were at levels comparable to those in air blanks.
'Overall, the novel hybrid tobacco product provides a great tobacco flavour, but maintains a toxicant profile similar to Vype ePen with significantly lower levels of some key toxicants compared to cigarette smoke,' says Dr James Murphy, Head of Reduced Risk Substantiation at British American Tobacco.
The results are published today in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (DOI: 10.1016/j.fct.2017.05.022).
Many in the public health community believe e-cigarettes offer great potential for reducing the projected public health impact of smoking. Public Health England, an executive body of the UK Department of Health, published a report saying that the current expert estimate is that using e-cigarettes is around 95% safer than smoking cigarettes.