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As plumes of vapor spread across the country, e-cigarettes have seemingly found a home in the lungs of many willing participants. With arguments mounting on both sides of the spectrum, very few answers have been given about the real effects of "water vapor," but one study may have pinned it.  According to new research in the journal, Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, most experts agree that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional ones, but also bring a variety of new health concerns into the mix.

As a market which has expanded into the boutiques and corners of almost every major city, e-cigarettes are quickly taking over as the go-to-product of choice for those seeking their own nicotine fix. However, the study indicates e-cigarettes may not be 100% safe, even though most companies are promoting them to be.

Although the vaporization process produces 10 times less carcinogens than conventional tobacco and released lower concentrations of lead, higher amounts of other metals are a cause for concern. The results indicated vaporized contents contained higher concentrations of nickel and were found to be almost four times higher than normal tobacco smoke.

With an emission rate of 130.5 nanograms per hour, the effects of nickel have been shown to cause gastrointestinal distress and a variety of other ailments relating to the respiratory system. Heavy metals such as chromium and titanium have also been found in vaporized contents and include a whole different range of health concerns including bronchitis and pneumonia.

Researchers believe heating elements involved with releasing nicotine from the device into our lungs may also be activating the very metals which contain the liquid substance, so proposals are being set to regulate the casings and cartridges used in these popular gadgets. The liquid which is used in e-cigarettes, may cause these metal particulates to release when heat and pressure is introduced.

With this study, newer, safer materials can be developed into the largely unregulated industry, which could be important considering many of these products come from companies who produce them in foreign countries to save costs and compete with the pricing models of current tobacco companies. Heat-resistant casings may come at a higher price, and many do not want their products to be regulated by the FDA.

Long story short, e-cigarettes are somewhat safe when compared to traditional cigarettes, but companies may have to start labeling and regulating their contents soon. New rules are currently being proposed for e-cigarettes which would force companies to refine ingredients further and address the marketing taboos which many consider to be false advertisement.

Source: "Are E-Cigarettes Less Harmful? Yes And No, New Study Suggests"