U of M Looks to Study Impact of E-Cigarettes

Updated: 12/11/2013 8:28 PM KSTP.com By: Cassie Hart

Electronic cigarettes are growing in popularity, however there's no real information on the health impact, according to health officials.

“Right now there's nobody regulating these products, there's no product control so any company can put any kind of chemical in these products and so when you use a product you're not sure what you're exposing yourself to,” said Dorothy Hatsukami, Ph.D., Associate Director, Cancer Prevention and Control at the University of Minnesota's Masonic Cancer Center.

Meanwhile, Smoore, an e-cigarette manufacturer, claims e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to tobacco cigarettes. The company claims e-cigarettes contain no tar or tobacco, don't cause skin damage or discolor teeth, they are not a fire hazard, there is no first or second hand smoke, they are environmentally-friendly and it cuts down on smoking costs by 80 percent.

U of M researchers want to know the level of nicotine and toxin exposures caused by the use of e-cigarettes. Researchers want to know what the possible pros and cons of e-cigarettes are.

The U of M is recruiting people to take part in the new study. They’re looking at three groups: cigarette users, e-cigarette users and those who use both.

"There's this notion that smokers have that if they use e-cigarettes and they're able to reduce the amount of their usual brand cigarette smoking that they'll be exposed to far less toxins and it might be more beneficial to their health but we're not sure if that's true or not,” said Hatsukami.

They’re hoping the results of this small-scale study can be used to inform the public as well as policy-makers.

The study is funded by the U of M's Masonic Cancer Center.

They're hoping to apply for a grant for a much larger study at a later date.

To enroll call 612-624-4568.