Does E-Liquid Contain Formaldehyde?

Thursday, 28 April 2016  |  Admin

We all know that vaping isn't completely harmless. In an ideal world no-one would be breathing in anything other than fresh, clean air, but when the alternative is cigarettes, it shouldn't be much of a choice between vaping and smoking. I'm not a doctor (yes, I know you're shocked) but these guys are, and they seem to think that vaping is "much safer" than smoking.

There have been various health claims from the opposite side, though, claiming that vaping is in fact very dangerous. One of the most talked-about is a January 2015 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), suggesting that e-cigarettes emit dangerous levels of formaldehyde. So, is this true? 

The Study

The study in question involved using a tank system e-cigarette to examine the vapour produced. This aerosol was then collected and analysed for formaldehyde. Two voltage settings were used; low (3.3V) and high (5V). The experiment found that, at the lower voltage, no formaldehyde was present, but at the higher voltage there were high levels detected.

The authors concluded that the lifetime cancer risk from vaping was higher than smoking as a result of these findings. So, over a year later, why has vaping not been banned if it's so harmful? Is everyone who's ever vaped destined for a gruesome end? The answer is no (at least not from vaping...).

What's Wrong with the Study?

The trouble with this study is that it was done at a very high voltage level. When this happens to vaporisers, they go through the liquid too quickly, dry out and create an unpleasant taste. This is a known phenomenon amongst vapers, and is called a 'dry hit'. These dry hits are so unpleasant that vapers try to avoid them at all costs, making the experiment unrealistic. Dr Michael Siegel puts it best by saying:

“There’s just one problem with the study, but the problem renders its conclusions invalid. The conditions... were unrealistic and under such conditions, a vaper would never be able to use the product. This is because the wattage being used was so high that the vaporiser was overheated (for a conventional e-cigarette it would likely damage or burn the coils), creating a horrible taste which a vaper could not tolerate. Essentially, what this study demonstrates is that if you overheat a vaping system, it will produce high levels of formaldehyde. However, such conditions are not realistic, therefore, extrapolating from this study to a lifetime of vaping is meaningless.”

Is Formaldehyde Still a Risk?

While this study highlights some concerns, it has been largely overblown and sensationalised. It would be useful to educate vapers on how to avoid dry hits as much as possible, since they seem to produce formaldehyde at high voltages. However, the risk of cancer from formaldehyde during vaping is negligible, since regular vapers wouldn't heat up their devices to anywhere near the levels of the experiment. Chalk up another point for vaping!

See Our Trending E-Liquids!

Iceliqs Originals Gypsy Maiden E-Liquid

Iceliqs Originals Gypsy Maiden E-Liquid

£3.99
Available
  • Traditional gypsy queen tobacco flavour
  • Available in 0mg, 6mg, 11mg and 16mg strengths
  • VG: 30%, PG: 70%
  • Made in France
Nicolites Refill Cartridges High Strength Golden Tobacco Cartomisers

Nicolites Refill Cartridges High Strength Golden Tobacco Cartomisers

£4.75
Available
  • Refill cartomisers for Nicolites Rechargeable Electronic Cigarettes
  • Golden tobacco flavoured cartridges with high nicotine strength
  • Option of buying multiple boxes in combo packs
  • Free battery or cartridge offer included for particular pack sizes
DOT Tobacco Vape Kit

DOT Tobacco Vape Kit

£14.99
Available
  • Leafy, full-bodied tobacco flavour
  • Strength: 20mg
  • VG: 50%, PG: 50%
  • Made in the United Kingdom
DOT Tobacco Refill Pods

DOT Tobacco Refill Pods

£5.99
Available
  • Leafy, full-bodied tobacco flavour
  • Strength: 20mg
  • VG: 50%, PG: 50%
  • Made in the United Kingdom
Iceliqs Originals Double Apple E-Liquid - Money Off!

Iceliqs Originals Double Apple E-Liquid - Money Off!

£2.39
(RRP: £3.99)
Available
  • Tingling green and red apple flavour
  • Available in 0mg, 6mg, 11mg and 16mg strengths
  • VG: 30%, PG: 70%
  • Made in France
Iceliqs Originals Gypsy Maiden E-Liquid - Money Off!

Iceliqs Originals Gypsy Maiden E-Liquid - Money Off!

£1.60
(RRP: £3.99)
Available
  • Traditional gypsy queen tobacco flavour
  • Available in 0mg, 6mg, 11mg and 16mg strengths
  • VG: 30%, PG: 70%
  • Made in France
Logic PRO E-Cigarette Refill Capsules Menthol 6mg

Logic PRO E-Cigarette Refill Capsules Menthol 6mg

£3.99
Available
  • A classic and refreshing minty menthol flavour
  • Includes three UK-made 1.5ml e-liquid capsules
  • Nicotine strength of 6mg per ml
  • Bulk offers available at a reduced price per pack
Simple Essentials Spearmint E-Liquid

Simple Essentials Spearmint E-Liquid

£2.99
Available
  • Spearmint flavoured e-liquid
  • Strengths: 0mg, 6mg, 9mg, 12mg, 18mg
  • VG: 50%, PG: 50%
  • Made in the UK
Cheap Thrills Sunset Strip E-Liquid - Money Off!

Cheap Thrills Sunset Strip E-Liquid - Money Off!

£2.50
(RRP: £4.99)
Available
  • Blueberry and blackbeery blend with an orange twist
  • Strengths: 0mg, 3mg and 6mg
  • VG: 70%, PG: 30%
  • Made in the UK
Element Dripper Strawberry Whip E-Liquid - Money Off!

Element Dripper Strawberry Whip E-Liquid - Money Off!

£2.79
(RRP: £3.99)
Available
  • Strawberries and cream flavoured
  • Strengths: 0mg, 3mg, 6mg
  • VG: 80%, PG: 20%
  • Made in the USA
Eco Vape Dripping Blue Slush Max VG E-Juice

Eco Vape Dripping Blue Slush Max VG E-Juice

£6.99
Available
  • Classic blueberry slush flavour
  • Available with a 3mg or 6mg nicotine strength
  • VG: 80%, PG: 20%
  • Made in the United Kingdom
Logic PRO E-Cigarette Tobacco 18mg Combination Pack

Logic PRO E-Cigarette Tobacco 18mg Combination Pack

£29.99
Available
  • Polished stainless steel vape pen with e-liquid capsules
  • Pre-filled capsules allow for easy flavour changes
  • Powerful battery lets you vape all day long
  • Includes 18 x Tobacco Refill Capsules (18mg strength)