Vaping Is Harmful, Not Safer

October 2021,


ASEAN region

In the ASEAN region, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Singapore and Thailand have banned electronic smoking devices, while Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam and currently considering legislation.

Globally about 40 countries have banned electronic smoking devices (ESD). Most recently, the Hong Kong legislature banned the sale of ESD.

Governments need to take a precautionary approach and protect youth from harmful substances. It has been challenging for regulators to stop the promotion of e-cigarettes on social media and their sales online. 

University of Curtin research: Vape products contain harmful chemicals

New Australian research on vape products has found a ‘suite of chemicals’ in liquids used in them, some at ‘dangerously high’ levels. The research found many of the vape brands tested contained carcinogenic, pesticides, cleaning agents and other potentially dangerous chemicals. Trace elements of nicotine were also found in products that claimed to be nicotine-free.

Curtin University respiratory physiologist Dr Alexander Larcombe studied 65 common liquids used in vapes from local suppliers in Australia. Main findings are as follows.

Pesticides, hospital cleaning agents and carcinogens

The researchers detected a chemical called 2-chlorophenol in about 30 samples, which is commonly used in disinfectants and pesticides. The researchers suspected it was residue from pesticides sprayed on the crops used to generate glycerol, one of the main ingredients in the liquids.

Researchers found chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which has been linked to lung, bladder and gastrointestinal cancers.

These vape products affect the lungs

Many of the chemicals found are known to have negative impacts on the lungs. The researchers found “dangerously high levels” of lung irritant, benzaldehyde, which is added to vapes to give them an almond flavour, in 61 of the 65 samples. This chemical impairs the lungs that are responsible for cleaning the pathogens. 

Johns Hopkins University research: Thousands of unknown chemicals and substances found in e-cigarettes

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University found thousands of unknown chemicals in the e-liquid and a number of compounds in the aerosol. They also detected hydrocarbon-like compounds, typically associated with combustion, which manufacturers claim does not happen during vaping.

The researchers found nearly 2,000 chemicals, the vast majority of which are unidentified. Of those the team could identify six substances were potentially harmful, including three chemicals never previously found in e-cigarettes.

The team found three industrial chemicals, a pesticide and two flavors linked with possible toxic effects and respiratory irritation.