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Harmful metals found in vapors from tank-style electronic cigarettes

September 27, 2019 / Iqbal Pittalwala
SHARESHARESHARE

A team of scientists at the University of California, Riverside, has found the concentration of metals in electronic cigarette aerosols—or vapor—has increased since tank-style electronic cigarettes were introduced in 2013. Electronic cigarettes, which consist of a battery, atomizing unit, and refill fluid, are now available in new tank-style designs, equipped with more powerful batteries and larger capacity reservoirs for storing more refill fluid. But the high-power batteries and atomizers used in these new styles can alter the metal concentrations that transfer into the aerosol. "These tank-style e-cigarettes operate at higher voltage and power, resulting in higher concentrations of metals, such as lead, nickel, iron, and copper, in their aerosols," said Monique Williams, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Systems Biology, and the first author of the research paper that appears today in Scientific Reports. "Most of the metals in e-cigarette aerosols likely come from the nichrome wire, tin solder joints, brass clamps, insulating sheaths, and wicks—components of the atomizer unit."