Rumor: E-cigarettes are as harmful as the real things

A woman smokes an e-cigarette, an electronic substitute in the form of a rod, in Bordeaux.

A new study suggests the new, popular, battery-operated electronic cigarettes are really as dangerous as actual cigarettes.

UNCONFIRMED: Though the bulk of research says they're actually much safer

The Daily Mail reports that a new French study says that e-cigarettes could be as dangerous as regular cigarettes. But in a conversation with MSN News, the researcher who's done studies to understand if e-cigarettes cause more harm than any other cigarette says that that's most likely wrong.

The Mail reported on a study done by French monthly magazine "60 Million Consumers." Among the magazine's conclusions: Dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde and acrolein were detected in the vapors of multiple e-cigarette brands, often at levels approaching or higher than traditional cigarettes. The context here is that France's health minister recently announced that the country would treat e-cigs the same way it does regular cigarettes, and extend bans on public smoking to those vaping.

Drexel University Professor Igor Burstyn is skeptical of the study, however. Burstyn recently published the largest, most comprehensive assessment of research on E-cigarette safety released thus far. That meant looking at dozens of studies done all over the world involving more than 9,000 subjects. His conclusion: “Current data do not indicate that exposures to vapors from contaminants in electronic cigarettes warrant a concern.” A conclusion supported by other health researchers in Palgrave Macmillan, a journal of public health policy.

Related:  E-cigarettes attract big money and more scrutiny

Burstyn says his professional research has even informed his personal life, as he tells MSN News that he's worked hard to convince his wife to quit traditional cigarettes in favor of the newer e-versions. "Smoking a regular cigarette is like running on the highway in flip-flops," he said. "E-cigs is taking a taxi."



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