The Truth Behind the Formaldehyde Scare

A study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine regarding the existence of formaldehyde in e-cigarette vapor. In fact, based on the conclusions stated in this study, e-cigarette vapor may contain more formaldehyde than traditional cigarette smoke. However, is that the whole story?

Let’s start by taking a look at the findings from the New England Journal of Medicine

“Formaldehyde is a known degradation product of propylene glycol that reacts with propylene glycol and glycerol during vaporization to produce hemiacetals. In many samples of the particulate matter in ‘vaped’ e-cigarettes, more than 2% of the total solvent molecules have converted to formaldehyde-releasing agents, reaching concentrations higher than concentrations of nicotine. Here we present results of an analysis of commercial e-liquid vaporized with the use of a ‘tank system’ e-cigarette featuring a variable voltage battery. At low voltage (3.3v) we did not detect the formation of any formaldehyde-releasing agents. At high voltage (5.0v), formaldehyde was detected as formaldehyde-releasing agents. Extrapolating from the results at high voltage, an e-cigarette user vaping at a rate of 3ml per day would inhale 14.4mg of formaldehyde per day in formaldehyde-releasing agents. One estimate of the average delivery of formaldehyde from conventional cigarettes is approximately 3mg per pack.”

To summarize what this study is saying – at 3.3v of a standard variable voltage tank system e-cig, no formaldehyde was found. However, at 5.0v of the same system, formaldehyde-releasing agents were found at over 10 times the amount found in traditional cigarettes. Now, on first inspection, this sounds really bad for vaping. Yet, there are additional factors that need to be considered when looking at this study.

In a Tobacco Analysis article titled The Rest of the Story the authors bring up an interesting, and pivotal point regarding the evaluation of the results of this study:

“There’s just one problem with the study, but the problem renders it’s conclusions invalid. The conditions used to study the e-cigarette aerosol at the high voltage settings 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 vaporizer 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.”

Meaning that in order to achieve the voltage necessary to reach the levels of formaldehyde discovered in this study, you would have to overheat your atomizer, burn your coils and then vape that repeatedly to be exposed.

Now, it looks like we’re comparing a scientific study with just another vaper disputing the information, so I want to share one more source with you regarding the results of this study. Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos is a cardiologist, and has studied the effects of smoking on cardiac dysfunction since 2010, and performing research on e-cigs since 2011. Dr. Farsalinos has no relation to the e-cigarette or tobacco industry, making his research completely independent. Yesterday, January 21, 2015 Dr. Farsalinos published an article on E-Cigarette Research titled The Deception of Measuring Formaldehyde in E-Cigarette Aerosol . This is what he concluded:

“There are many major issues in that study. The authors failed to realize that voltage levels provide no information about the thermal load of an e-cigarette device. As a result we do not know how many watts were applied to the atomizer. However, there is a way to approximate this, through the information provided about the liquid consumption per puff. Based on the information provided at 5.0v the energy was around 14-16 watts. That would be extremely high for most commercially-available atomizers. Thus it is more than obvious that once again the atomizer was overheated, which of course would result in very high levels of formaldehyde production. In fact, overheating results in an unpleasant taste that none can withstand. As a result, no vaper is ever using the e-cigarette at such conditions and, thus, will never be exposed to such levels of formaldehyde. The story published in New England Journal of Medicine is similar to finding carcinogens in an overcooked piece of meat that none can ever eat. Of course the findings are true, but none will be exposed to the levels found.”

Basically, what Dr. Farsalinos is saying is that the atomizer in the e-cig used was overheated, which always causes formaldehyde from the combustion. Yet, vapers don’t sit and vape all day on an overheated and burnt coil. In fact, we can rarely get an actual hit off of one. The second we get that burnt taste we pull everything apart and replace the coil. Meaning, we would never be exposed to the formaldehyde discovered in this new study.

Now that we know that, while it’s true that high levels of formaldehyde were found, it is not under standard vaping use and we can look at the bright side of this study. No formaldehyde at all was found when the atomizer was within it’s range of vaping ability. That means, this study just proved that there isn’t searchable traces of formaldehyde in our vape! This is a very good thing Vape Fans! It’s one more study showing that when you actually vape within the limits of your e-cig, there is one less chemical that you used to get from smoking, no longer being inhaled!

In summary, while at first the study may seem to be indicating that there are extremely high levels of formaldehyde in our vape, closer inspection shows us quite the opposite. If you’re not vaping on an overheated atomizer and burnt coil, you aren’t inhaling any searchable levels of formaldehyde. I encourage each of you to look closely at the reality surrounding the information being given to you by the mainstream media, especially when it comes to e-cigarettes. As we’ve shown here, important information can at times get lost in translation, resulting in a completely different conclusion than that which would be reached with all of the information. Read and question everything to truly educate yourselves and find the truth. Until next time, let us know what you think of the information you’ve seen in the media, compared to what you have learned here.

Vape on!

Written By: Michelle Harnden

You may also like our article on adjusting nicotine strength!

Tim Mechling

Tim is Mt Baker Vapor's resident creative weirdo. He writes, composes music, draws, designs, produces podcasts, investigates, and blows the trumpet for the Common Man.

  • Michael Geer says:

    The study that appears in the New England Journal of Medicine is obviously flawed and was not given much thought. It is a very simplistic experiment and somebody who doesn’t know much about vaping created it. The tank used was a ce-4, one of the top wicking clearomizers of yester-year for many of us. The battery used was an Innokin 3.0 VV. The voltage that was applied to the clearomizer to produce the increased levels of formaldehyde was 5V or roughly 14-16W. Of course this is not realistic and would be un-vapeable to any human being that was alive regardless of any previous knowledge of vaping. The taste would be unbearable. There is seemingly a relationship however between increased levels of formaldehyde and “dry puffs.” I guess I would like to know more about that and why it happens. The overheating of the wicking material causes problems. This is one of the only things that this study has effective shown. Is this only unique to silica wicking material or could it be observed in cotton as well? If there is no “dry puff” that occurs and sufficient devices are used together then does formaldehyde increase as the voltage/wattage is increased? Unfortunately this study did nothing to answer any of these questions and instead muddied the water significantly. I can guarantee regulatory action will inevitably be the result. This is because regulation is supposed to “protect the unknowing consumer” from harm and as fucking ridiculous as it is to admit, vaping a ce-4 at 15W could potentially harm some “unknowing consumer.” Due to this there will be a crackdown regardless of how “unscientific” or “baseless” this study was. Nothing can change this as legislatures are already out for blood. We’re going to need to figure out an alternative solution besides being angry and criticizing this study. We all know it is total bullshit. What’s done is done though and every goddamn news publication in the country is running this story. It was published in the “prestigious” New England Journal of Medicine after all.

    • Amy Bohannan says:

      We find this study frustrating as well. They do not consider some very important elements of vaping, or various vape setups. As you said, it does point out to vapers that they need to be knowledgeable on the laws of electricity, and know what watts/volts to set their mod at. We need to continue spreading the truth about e-cigs within the vaping community, and to those outside of it. Be educated, listen, and take the media with a grain of salt.

    • Gurvinder Parmar says:

      Why is no one talking about this study TODAY…yes, maybe those specs for vaping were ridiculous back then but today everyone is using triple battery 200w mods with sub ohm tanks that have coils with .15 ohm resistance that takes 150 watt of power with ease…this formaldehyde issue is REAL but of course the vaping community doesn’t want regulation and no one to say anything about potential health risks….if there was 10x more formaldehyde at 5v with only 14-16 watts, what is the level when your using 5.5v of power and 150 watts in one of today’s readily available mods and tanks??

      • Isaiah Davey says:

        You do make a good point about mods coming out and builds going lower. Personally, I never go above 4.2 volts due to the reasons you just listed. Everyone will do their own research and vape how they want to…

        • Peter says:

          If 3.3 volts produces almost no formaldehyde, and 5 volts produces a lot of formaldehyde, it is reasonable to extrapolate that 4.2 volts produces some formaldehyde. It would be nice if legit research was done using real world parameters. It would also be nice if the vaping comunity stopped pretending that this was totally safe, and started using phrases like, “less bad”. Lets be honest, vaping is “less bad” than smoking, but it still isn’t as good not inhaling anything other than fresh air. I am glad I don’t smoke cigarettes anymore, but I wish I didn’t have to worry about my battery dying, coil burning out, or running out of juice. I also wish I didn’t have to worry about the flavoring agents used in my juice. Now that it is getting hard to find equipment that isn’t sub-ohm, I am almost ready to become one of those people that only vapes when drinking.

          • Maus says:

            I think the more relevant part of the article was from Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, who said the important factor wasn’t voltage or wattage, but the thermal load on the coil. The atomizer that was used was overloaded and generating far too much heat to produce a comfortable vapor. If you lower the ohms in the coil you have to raise the wattage to get similar heat to create vapor, which is where we are today. I agree, I would like more research to be done on this topic, but it seems like the take away from this research should be don’t run your vapes too hot. If you are vaping 0.5 coils at 220W+ you might be taking in a noticeable about of formaldehyde.

      • Merl says:

        It doesnt matter. My vape on 95 watts right now is at 3.7 volts, not 5 or 5.5 . Thats only .4 volts higher than “low voltage” yet its 80+ watts higher? The wattage isnt what matters its the use of watts higher than what the coil(s) are set up to go to thats the problem.

  • Liam says:

    I’m firing an Aspire 1.6 ohm BVC at 5V right now (15.6W on an SVD2 with BerryCreamy–an all-MBV setup). It doesn’t taste burnt, hot, or anything other than normal. So, this statement: ” no vaper is ever using the e-cigarette at such conditions” is not accurate.

    I’m not looking for clouds, this coil needs higher and higher voltages as it ages otherwise it constantly floods. This article makes me feel like my vaping is hurting me, but there’s nothing obviously wrong with the vapor I’m inhaling!

  • Avi says:

    so if I’m subohming on a mech mod or a box mod, let’s say a .3 ohm coil on a dripper at 40 to 90 watts, is this problem? Or is this only an issue with burnt wick on an old clearo tank and provided I keep my cotton saturated I should be fine?

  • greg says:

    You should be fine with your Aspire 1.6 ohm BVC at 5 volts. It’s a bottom coil design so it can keep up with wicking at that voltage

    The CE-4 clearomizer they used in the study was a top coil design that couldn’t keep up with wicking with anything over 4 volts.

    I also remember having to turn those
    CE-4’s upside-down to keep from getting a dry hit. I bet they didn’t do that in the study

  • Tj says:

    Even tho you may be vaping over 5v and they say it is to hot, have they took into consideration that there is air blowing over the coil, therefore reduces the temperature. I would think that I am no longer cooking the PG at the temp that produces Formaldehyde???

  • Rob says:

    So, how does this play out into the mech mod world? i think we are hitting about 28 watts with a 18650 efest battery.

  • Chris Pixley says:

    So, as a general guideline, when should you change the coil on our vape pen? I have a Zema Vaporizer 3 in one. I don’t even know where the coil is located and haven’t been able to find any replacements parts for my pen on the net. Thank you for any light you can shed on the subject. You guys are great!

    • General guideline, when you start to get a burnt flavor, it’s time to switch it out.

    • Dana says:

      I work in vape shop in Newhall (Vape Haus), and coils should be changed on a regular basis , just as it has been said, usually when you get a “burnt taste” or if you chain vape like I do every few days. As the coil heats up and cools the degradation of the e-liquid over a relative period of time carmalizes the e-liquid or as in so much to say the added or natural sugars carmalizes resulting in altered taste. As to the matter of heat production. If at any time your pen,mec, or box mod are over heating or getting too hot over a short period of time that could indicate that the voltage or wattage is too high, the resistance is too low for the mod in question, or the build could be too hot as well. Ie too much wire in the build dec resulting in too much latent heat that can’t be cooled with existing airflow. As for your pen and finding parts for it. You can always go back to were it was purchased and ask. If unavalible try the manufacturers website and see if they offer parts for it. Although most times any pen in question produced for any ralative time may have been discontinued and parts will be nonexistent or hard to find. For the Zema Vaporizer 3 in 1 the tank for e-liquid. The coil can be changed. It looks like a clear cartomizer coil unit from kangertech.

  • Chris says:

    I use an iPV3 7-150 watt trading .1-3.0 ohms. I never set my wattage over 4.8v output. Typically I find the best taste between 4.3-4.6. That wattage used all depends on the resistance of the coil. At this moment I have a .8 ohm RBA single coil running at 25.5watts and 4.6 volts. IF I run say a dual cool dropper at a resistance of .1 ohms then I COULD if desirable bring it up to around the 150 watt and about 4.8v. There is a lot of variables not looked at in this study. Shit even on my old Vision spinner II at 4.8v with my mini nautilus 1.8ohm BVC was hitting at what maybe 7 watts? If the tank used in the study on that battery even set 3.8v will give a burnt taste…,the absolute bottom line being missed here is that it takes what 4000+ chemicals to make it is being produced by a cigarette.,,why don’t they show a study on the tobacco breakdown process used for cigarettes. No that won’t happen…the government taxes tobacco and wants us to keep smoking…fuck the FDA approval look at the preservatives used in food products here in the USA and then go to Canada where majority of the preservatives we use are banned and taste the difference in food.

    • It is true, there are unanswered questions in regards to this study. The key for us is to ask questions and educate the public in a positive way so they are more open and receptive to hearing the truth.

  • brent says:

    Yeah, I have recently gotten into sub ohm w the new kanger tank and the 150 watt segelei mod. I also use the new kayfun w my coil usually at approx 1.5-2.0 ohm. I can’t turn these up very high but it usually runs at around 20 watts to taste best (IMO). So I imagine I am fine, but I guess I had better brush up on my electric knowledge in case. I never use burnt coils etc so I am going to assume all is OK. Its just another example of flawed testing methods being used to gain political ground in our government. Too bad it is potentially going to affect us in a negative way. Score one for big tobacco.

    • If you check out the full article by Dr. Farsalinos he goes on to say that the level of burning that coil most likely went through would create a flavor so bad no one could or would ever vape it. It’s like the mother of all dry hits.

  • chris says:

    I think name should be changed and no longer call it an e cig, instead let’s call it a vaporizer or vape pen. A bad name brings bad publicity

  • Jeremy says:

    Can the FDA even go as far as regulating actual vape mods and the like? I’ve seen them already take action on “custom” juices (sucks), but at least I can still vape with a variable voltage box mod.

    Could there be a possibility that we would really lose the right to buy box mods in the US, and just limited to buying shitty cartomizers from the gas station or buying out of country to satisfy our needs?

  • Anthony says:

    Well after reading this article and seeing that the voltage used to get these results burns the coil and cotton, it seems to me that the study showed that burning cotton and metal creates more Formaldehyde than a cigarette. Just don’t burn your cotton and you should be fine. Another point to make as far as not tested is I don’t use any PG in my Juice. Although it really shouldn’t matter as I don’t vape burning cotton either.

    • To clarify, it’s more than just a dry hit kind of burn. The study used a standard over the counter tank system e-cig. I have yet to find one that has a coil designed to go up to 5 volts. It would result in a completely unvapable burn, making the results moot.

      As far as the pg is concerned, PG has been used in aerosol, inhalers, fog machines and more for years. It was first registered to be used in hospitals air aerosol in 1950.

  • alexndra o'cean says:

    Thanx for keeping us up to date.

  • Tony says:

    I’m seriously worried by this study. Not because I’m worried that electronic cigarettes are going to hurt anyone. What is concerning is that this study was published in a very prestigious medical journal, & because of this the people in charge of possibly regulating e cigarettes are most likely going to base their decisions on inaccurate information. This study makes it more important now the ever before, each of us to contact our law makers and let them know our concerns.

    • Which is exactly why we need to educate and ask questions. Questioning the coil they used and if they were following the recommended settings for that coil is a good place to start. Education is the key, share our knowledge with the public.

  • Shawn says:

    The report on the study was obviously what I like to call ” strategically ambiguous “. It is a shame that the vape industry didn’t get ahead of this before something like this came out. You cant steal that much money away from the tobacco industry and the State taxes without having the BS start.
    The harsh reality is now though, now every time someone sees me with my ecig, what do you think I am going to have to hear? Then I am going to be the one who sounds like a conspiracy theorist when I try to rebut. I really think that the vape industry should have done a preemptive strike before all this came out because now, guess what! TAXES and warning labels (if we are lucky). I mean lets face it… a “reputable” study just came out basically saying that ecigs are more dangerous than regular smokes. My guess…within a couple months they will start banning them.

    • As a business we have no impact on what scientific studies are completed, or by whom. We are currently facing the possibility of extreme taxing, and banning has already been happening across the globe. That’s why it’s so important for us to speak out and educate the public in a positive way.

  • jc says:

    Using volts and watts alone are not enough information to make a judgement on. The study was also talking about pg, not vg/pg mixes like i tend to get (80/20). But the point is I take hits at up to 8.5v & 100w on custom rda/rdta – so not only is SOMEONE taking hits at this level, LOTS of someones are – anyone who does any cloud chasing. For me, i also have various builds of .4-1.3 ohms depending. Sometimes these are with finer guage wire as low as 28 gauge or as high as 22 gauge. Without this sort of information about the conditions the original speculations in the blog post are worse than useless, they contribute to the FUD.

    To make sure you understand FUD:
    FUD is generally a strategic attempt to influence perception by disseminating negative and dubious or false information. An individual firm, for example, might use FUD to invite unfavorable opinions and speculation about a competitor’s product; to increase the general estimation of switching costs among current customers; or to maintain leverage over a current business partner who could potentially become a rival.
    The term originated to describe disinformation tactics in the computer hardware industry[dubious – discuss] but has since been used more broadly.[3] FUD is a manifestation of the appeal to fear.

    I am essentially saying that you guys are contributing negatively to the discussion with the comments posted on the blog

    To summarize what this study is saying – at 3.3v of a standard variable voltage tank system e-cig, no formaldehyde was found. However, at 5.0v of the same system, formaldehyde-releasing agents were found at over 10 times the amount found in traditional cigarettes. Now, on first inspection, this sounds really bad for vaping. Yet, there are additional factors that need to be considered when looking at this study.
    ^- talking about volts only

    Meaning that in order to achieve the voltage necessary to reach the levels of formaldehyde discovered in this study, you would have to overheat your atomizer, burn your coils, and then vape that repeatedly to be exposed.
    ^- ok… but how much is too much

    Dr. Farsalinos’s conclusions are nice, but not necessarily accurate, as voltage/wattage/ohms are not the only contributing factors to the amount of liquid consumed in a given ‘puff’

    You guys break that down:

    Basically, what Dr. Farsalinos is saying is that the atomizer in the e-cig used was overheated, which always causes formaldehyde from the combustion. Yet, vapers don’t sit and vape all day on an overheated and burnt coil. In fact, we can rarely get an actual hit off of one. The second we get that burnt taste we pull everything apart and replace the coil. Meaning, we would never be exposed to the formaldehyde discovered in this new study.

    So what, if it tastes burny then you’re gonna die if you keep smoking from it?

    another excerpt:
    “No formaldehyde at all was found when the atomizer was within it’s range of vaping ability.”

    And by what standards do we judge if a given atomizer is within its ‘range of vaping ability’?

    Another excerpt:
    “That means, this study just proved that there isn’t searchable traces of formaldehyde in our vape! ”

    No, this is NOT what it means at all. Though it does seem likely that there is little danger for the average person, the only conclusions one can come to with the publicly available information is that a better, more scientific set of testing needs to happen.

    Learn logic.

    • Let me address these concerns:

      The lower the resistance of the coil, the lower the voltage necessary to heat the coil. Volts are the power that push the amps; the lower the resistance, the lower the voltage you need to push more amps. Running a standard coil at 5 volts is going to be far to much power for the resistance level the coil requires, resulting in an overheated and burnt coil. I’m not talking about a dry hit with a slightly burnt taste, I’m talking about a blown coil that has been pushed beyond it’s limitations. When a standard coil is run within it’s allotted resistance limits (i.e. the 3.3v in the study) no formaldehyde was detected. Yet, when the volts were increased beyond the coil capacity, formaldehyde was detected. While I believe that everyone who uses variable voltage and wattage should understand the science behind ohms law, the reality is, if it tastes bad people won’t vape it. Push your coil past it’s capacity and it will taste more than bad, it will be unvapable. In addition, many of the manufacturers today include information on what settings to utilize when vaping with a particular coil, so we do have some information on what is a safe level to vape a certain coil.
      Should more studies be done? Absolutely! Does this study prove that we have formaldehyde in our vape, no. It proves that blowing a coil beyond it’s capabilities creates formaldehyde.

  • Mike says:

    It sounds like the results of this testing would be like having their smoking machines burn the filter of a cigarette to the end as part of its toxicity analysis.

  • GardenaMark says:

    While it continues to upset me that studies with inconclusive data based on flaws in the study itself, it also upsets me that Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos is also negligently making claims about different vaping styles and habits. To say, “no vaper is ever using the e-cigarette at such conditions and, thus, will never be exposed to such levels of formaldehyde” is not only wrong, it is irresponsible.
    If he walked into any vape shop and simply asked about the different styles of vaping and seeing for himself, what is being sold to a very large portion of vapers, he would see that there are TONS of vapers that subohm and run their custom atomizers very hot, and at very high wattage.
    I myself run a 0.3ohm coil on a mechanical mod with a 35A 18650 battery that pushes 4.2V when fully charged. That means that a fully charged battery is pushing 58.8 watts. I use cotton and always ensure my wick is soaked. My choice of liquid is a MBV DIY flavor 0-3mg 50/50–Max VG.
    I can still enjoy a normal setup but prefer the higher performance of subohming setups.
    The fact that this guy is making these false statements while pretty much being the spokesman for vaping safety concerns me.

    • What Dr. Farsalinos was referring to was a vaper consistently vaping a blown coil. Not just a dry hit, but a full on overheated coil. The results of formaldehyde didn’t appear until after the coil was burnt. Even if you vape at higher wattage, you adjust your coil ohms to have something that is capable of the wattage you’re vaping so you’re not consistently vaping a dry, nasty burn.

  • GardenaMark says:

    I had to do some slight digging within the same site, and he does touch on the effects of continuously vaping on a dry atomizer, but he just didn’t mention it in the comment he made before.

  • jc says:


    *goes back to 100w hits!*

  • Cynthia says:

    I was one of those people, went from 3 pks cigs to vaping in 1 day. I lost my smokers cough in 2 wks and got rid of both in halers 2 wks after that. Nine months later, I got a serious bronchial infection that lasted a year. I was on 40 mg prednisone, 2 inhalers, antibiotics and a nebulizer machine. It was horrible for 1 year. I think I was being cheap and using my coil too long and it did taste burnt. I am still on antibiotics , 5 mg prednisone and 2 inhalers prophylactically but I am still having some problems without them. It may be that my 35 yrs of smoking just caught up with me. Please never use burnt coils, make sure you have enough product on hand. It’s been 2 yrs now that I’ve been vaping and will never go back to cigs.

  • jeff says:

    I have been cigg free for 9 months now, never felt better. No more smokers cough. No more weezing when I’m trying to fall asleep. No more nasty coughs first thing in morn. No more near pass outs when running up a flight of stairs. Changing a coil once every 2 weeks is still a heck of a lot cheaper than buying a pack of ciggs. Like any other mechanical device: keep it clean and serviced, and maintained and it will run like it was meant to.

  • Mark says:

    Or could it be that the revenue lost from tobacco taxes may be a driving factor. Just wait for the government to tax it and the real truth may come out.

  • Alfredo Villasenor says:

    So my question is, is it the same concept with mods? I currently have a mech with a .14 ohm dual coil setup using kanthal A1. I know that the voltage never goes above 4.2 V. But I plan to get a Sigelei 150w in a couple of days. With the voltage doubled, would that create high levels of formaldehyde with the same coil build? It’s one thing to have clearomizers but what about rebuildables?

  • Barb says:

    So what do we have to do to get ahead of this bad publicity? I have been smoke free for nine months. I enjoy vaping! I haven’t read all of your blogs. Do we, vapers, have any one on our side?

  • CarlCuze says:

    I just bought an I stick with a Delta tank. It runs up to 50 watts @5 volts & 0.5 ohms. I don’t enjoy running it at 50 watts because it’s way too powerful and unpleasent! I like it set @ 30 watts(3.8v). Vaping is safe, and ppl gon hate (;

  • Amanda says:

    It’s very frustrating how the media twists the facts to make vaping sound WORSE than smoking. I quit smoking immediately after discovering vaping almost 2 years ago, and have never felt healthier. I smoked for almost 10 years and had been putting off joining a gym because my lungs wouldn’t have been able to handle it, but that’s no longer a problem and I’m now in great shape. I don’t think I ever would have quit smoking had it not been for e-cigs. People who don’t smoke simply don’t understand that it’s as much an oral fixation as anything else, as well as an activity associated with things like taking breaks and driving. Vaping lets you keep that association, minus all the harmful chemicals.

    My county is out for blood with vaping, unfortunately. The main argument to ban it? If young people start vaping, they’ll soon “upgrade” to cigarettes. Any vaper would say this is 100% backward, but nobody listens – all they hear is “think of the children”! So many things are being banned today in the name of “safety.”

    • Grant Collman says:

      While we agree that vaping is a much safer alternative to smoking and view them as an effective tool that helps some people quit, educating our kids on the dangers of each and discouraging use is also important. High taxes and tight regulations are not the answer. Education and activity are truly the best ways to keep kids from smoking!

  • Brian says:

    When I first read this study and others like it a long time ago my first thought was: what wattage? what ohms? what coil temp? what pg/vg ratio? Been searching for these answers ever since until I stumbled upon this discussion… thanks guys! There are obviously still many uncertainties that only time and further testing can answer but this is a great generalization of the debate.

    I gave up traditional cigarettes on August 1st of last year and haven’t touched them since. I tried numerous varieties of e-cigs and vape pens until settling (for now) on the iStick 30w vv/vw with a Kangertech Subtank using the included RBA. I can breathe a LOT better, sleep better, don’t stink, don’t hack, and I have a lot more energy. That must account for something right? Even the smell of cigarettes makes me nauseous now and I can even smell the car in front of me while driving if they are smoking. I almost feel guilty considering I used to be one of them but I never complain. In fact I still hang out with the smokers during breaks occasionally 🙂

    My only concern now is a point that no one seems to have touched upon; that is the particulate size of vapor. It’s my understanding that the vapor particle size is much smaller than smoke produced from combustion and the closer you get to “burnt” that size is even smaller still as breakdown occurs. There doesn’t appear to be any evidence of the repercussions from getting these particles deeper into the lungs and obstructing normal air conversion. This is the one thing I’ll be keeping my eye on over time.

  • Brian says:

    Yeah, that’s what I mean. Not a comparison to clean air but a comparison to smoking as the particle size in vapor is smaller than traditional smoke and can travel deeper into the lungs.

    The second to last paragraph in this article: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/studies-reveal-health-risks-e-cigarettes

    I’d like to see more information turn up about this.

  • Scott says:

    From what I gather, the test was on a higher ohm resistance coil in a basic tank at a high voltage setting. When high voltage is being used, wicks dry up a lot faster. So maybe his findings should be relabelled as “formaldehyde found in over burnt generic wicks” since scientifically speaking the PG would have been vaporized very shortly after the coil heated up. So to have the results he found from an extended period after the PG would have been vaporized, makes me think the formaldehyde was from a mixture of cheap coil and/or wicking material.

  • hans says:

    I am not sure if I got this calculation correctly. I am using a eGrip (Joyetech) with an atomizer that has 1.6 Ohms resistance. I am vaping at 20 Watts. Does this mean that the voltage of the device is U=R*I=1.6*20=32? Is this a problem?

    • That would be 5.66 volts. If you are getting a repeated and overwhelming burnt taste every time you vape, then you should be concerned and make a change. If it doesn’t taste burnt, it shouldn’t be a problem.

  • hans says:

    That’s right. Thanks for your response. I later realized that I was mixing I current [Ampère] and power [Watt]. At this setting the eGrip has 1.6 Ohms; 20 Watts; 5.66 Volts (and possibly a current of 3.54 Ampére). Thanks again for clarifying. Actually, most of the time I am using this device 14 W resulting in 4.73 Volt (and possibly a current of 2.96 Ampére). Good vapor and no burnt taste.

  • terry says:

    Im kinda worried now.i use a kanger tech ipow 2. With the evod glass. I just got it not long ago and do use it at 15 watts. After a while ive determined that it does make the vapor taste a bit burnt so now i use it at around 10 watts. Should i be worried?

  • Joe says:

    so I have a native 1100 mah battery do you know how many volts that is

  • Jimmy Lee says:

    Regardless of the results of this study or the debunking of it. It will not stop the flow of false statements. All of these false claims are not just being pushed by Big tobacco. Its pushed by Universities and States that are loosing the money from the 1998 Big tobacco settlement where billions are to be paid annually to states as long as Big tobacco profits remain high. States will get this money literally indefinitely as long as Big tobacco keeps pulling huge profits.

    A large amount of these funds goto Universities for Cancer research. The fact that millions of people have quit traditional smoking is costing big tobacco billions of dollars and costing the states big paychecks. Which in turn means no cancer research funding for state universities. They are looking for anything that they can use as ammunition to stop the flow of smokers from traditional smoking to e-cigs.

    Then we have politicians that know nothing but what they are fed by the media trying to garner votes by being the savior of the people and fronting legislation to ban ban ban everything ecig related. They know that most users like flavors. So they go after that using children as the puppets to garner votes for the legislation. If they ban flavors in any market they will decisively destroy the ecig industry in that market.

    The only way you can stop this legislation is to get the community of vapers in your state together with the politician pushing the bill. Debunk the myths and study’s they have been hearing and educate them. We have done this in Illinois to stop legislation from one politician to ban flavors. But put safeguards in place to protect children from purchasing products. Now that politician is on our side.

    • Amy Bohannan says:

      You bring up some very valid points, and a great call to action! We do need to continue to stand together and spread the truth and facts about vaping. Together, as a unified voice, we can protect our right to vape across the country. Keep vaping on!

  • Steve says:

    I quit smoking and starting vaping almost a year ago. I know for a fact that without my ecig I was destined to die from something smoking related. I smoked for 32 years, sometimes up to 2 packs a day. While my ecig may not have saved my life, I do feel confident that it has increased my chances of having some sort of quality of life when I am older. I no longer smell, my daily chest pains are a thing of the past and my doctor has informed me that my blood pressure is that of a younger man. Thank you for your article, it helps give me hope that I am not doing further harm to my body and gives me more ammunition to defend myself against all these people who constantly tell me that I am better off smoking! Truly people have been brainwashed into believing that I should go back to smoking a product that has, without a doubt, shortened my lifespan! How any educated person in their right mind believe this? I do concede that I am now hooked on my ecig and need to quit that at some point because only fresh air should be inhaled by the human body. As for the children argument, my kids who are now 9 and 11 have never seen me smoke a cigarette or vape my ecig. The best way to keep cigarettes or ecigs out of the hands of kids is to educate them and stop using in front of them. Keep your adult “problems” away from your children and they are less likely to think that it is okay to smoke, toke or vape. The biggest mistake of my life was starting to smoke but one of the smartest things I have done is to put them down and start vaping. Trust me, if you smoke then give vaping a try it just may save your life.

    • What a wonderful story! We love hearing success stories and the positive impact vaping has made on people’s lives. I know it’s made a huge impact on mine. The fear of the unknown encouraging people to consider using a known that guarantees to kill half of it’s users is a mystery to me as well. The only thing we can do is continue to educate, stand up, and speak out for vaping.

  • yyy says:

    There’s a home use formaldehyde detector on the market. I’m wondering why no “scientists” ever try to detect what’s in the cloud when people are really vaping but only test it in a lab.

    • If it’s going to be a true scientific study it has to meet specific requirements. Hence the lab. If you have one of those, I would be curious to hear if it detects anything in your clouds.

  • herb says:

    Nobody is going to know the effects of high wattage vaping for a long time to come , many many years .

    People need to stop saying that there is no dangers because in reality nobody knows, anybody that says that there is nothing to be concerned with is irresponsible and should stay clear of writing these types of articles, period.

    Vaping at the wattages a lot of people are vaping at these days is ridiculous and if you don’t believe your health will be effected in the long term more power to you.

    Let time go by , bring this article up in 20 years and we will see whats happening.

    Hopefully nothing but i don’t believe that will be the case at all .

  • Chris Van Krevel says:

    Watts, volts, ohms all means absolutely nothing in this study and has almost zero relevance. They need to base this study off the temperature the coil is being used at because that alone determines the break down and formation of new compounds in the vapor, it is the only catalyst being added. Such poor scientific method is shameful. Temperature, cfm airflow, liquid composition. It could very easily be determined at which temperature formaldehyde will form from the specific composition using a gas spectrometry and then work backwards from that point. This study is like telling firefighters to not use water to extinguish fires anymore because it can split into oxygen and hydrogen, but neglect to mention that it only occurs in large quantities around 3000 degree centigrade, not the sort of temperature any regular fire would ever achieve.

    • I love that analogy, it fits so well! I completely agree, and am hoping that there are some real scientific studies from people, or at least that consult people who understand real life vaping situations. Like making sure they’re using relevant hardware and usage. That would be nice.

  • milano says:

    this is bullshit, bad at high voltage (5v) i can smoke at 100.000volt but at 0.0001amp that makes 10w and at 5v 8a I have 40w that’s 4times more power&smoke.

  • […] not “Big Tobacco,” they’re small operations. They take their work seriously, they put a hell of a lot of effort into informing people of what they do, and, most importantly, they’re not affiliated with Big Tobacco. As we’ve addressed in […]

  • josh henson says:

    blowing air/feeding a hot coil oxygen would actually increases the temperature. at for the release of chemicals and the require tempatures… I’m not knowledgable enough to comment…

  • Kyle Santos says:

    I’m a little confused as I am a Vapor right now. If I could be more enlightened that would be extremely helpful, as I am a vapor as well. You have talked about 5.0v and wattage at 14-15 watts. I may not fully understand if this post has anything to do with vapors who rebuild. Because I have an IPV3 li using a RDA. Is this conclusive with the way we vape to? My current set up is a duel coil build at approximately 0.2 ohms 3.34v at 40 watts. Is this a formaldehyde producing vaporizer?Please respond on this issue.

  • Jon says:

    Im currently running an eleaf istick 50w battery with a .5ohm coil thats rated for 15-60w
    Would it be safe to use in the batteries range of 5.7w up to 50w?

    • Kenny Spotz says:

      I would stick to using it in the coil’s recommended range of wattage, 15-60w. There aren’t really safety issues with going lower than 15w, but your flavor and vapor production will suffer immensely.

  • Timmy Aziz says:

    Apologies in advance for a long post, Kyle I agree with Kenny given the evidence of the paper

    I find that in the discussion above there is too much of a presumption that the burnt quality that we often taste in vaping, when vaping incorrectly, is somehow the same as formaldehyde being produced. I dont think this follows from the paper for two reasons. In normal – no burnt flavor -vaping the temperature locally around the wire is going to be much higher than the ambient temperature of the outgoing vapor or even the ambient temperature of the chamber. If the dissociation is largely caused by temperature then it is likely to happen even in a good vape.

    However I reckon the sharp change in formaldehyde production observed between 3.3 volts and 5 volts suggests a voltage related cause of dissociation, this is the second reason I think the burnt taste and formaldehyde release should not be identified with each other. Depending on the coil resistance, using high wattage mods that are increasingly common. For example 5 volts is likely to be generated by many of today’s the mods’ electronic boards. As the calculations below, show an ecig using a 0.5 ohm coil with a setting of 50 watts will be operating at 5volts. Both 0.5 ohms and 50 watts are common values and can lead to the author’s observed high levels of formaldehyde.

    My conclusion is that it is safest to keep your vaping voltage low. The electrical equations are pretty simple and there are a lot of nonsense being passed around the net about the relationship of power, voltage, joules and ohms.

    p = v * i
    v = i * r
    i = v / r
    p = v^2 / r

    p is power in watts
    v is voltage in volts
    i is current in amps
    r is resistance in ohms

    for 5 V applied over a 0.5 ohm coil
    p = v^2 / r
    = 50 watts

    if the resistance is 1 ohms with the same 50 W power setting
    v = sqrt( p * r ) sqrt( 50 * 1 )
    7.1 volts !!

    if the resistance is 0.2 ohms with the same 50 W power setting
    v = sqrt( p * r ) sqrt( 50 * 0.2 )
    3.2 volts

    looks like a sub ohm coil is safer to vape with at 50 W!

    I personally am vaping at 25 W and my mod tells me that the coil resistance is 0.61 ohms., this makes my vaping voltage 3.9 volts. Not safe enough for my liking so i better lower that wattage to between 15 and 20 W (3 and 3.5 volts)

  • Ainslee says:

    I just ran across this article and one of the flaws I noticed in the study is the same flaw I see in any study. Depending on who is financing the study the results can be skewd for any desired result. I am sure they tested various voltages and such until they were able to get the formaldehyde levels to the levels the science community deems dangerous. Unfortunately the Science community is driven by funding for various projects. Until the science community can provide a well documented comprehensive study that shows the results with all variables included I will continue Vaping.

  • Timmy Aziz says:

    We are getting closer indeed to less biased information on vaping. Take a look at this webpage on the UK government’s website , there is a document you can download – an evidence review rather than a study – but one that speaks to the public health benefits of e-cigs.


    “”E-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than tobacco and could be prescribed on the NHS in future to help smokers quit,” BBC News reports.

    This is the main finding of an evidence review (PDF, 485kb) carried out by Public Health England, a government agency that aims to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities.”

  • Wes says:

    This is the third study I’ve seen about this subject. The one that removes most variables went into a variable voltage stick with a 2 ohm coil. 4.3 produced less than cigarettes while 4.8 produced more, and plenty of people use less than 2 ohm coils on entry level kanger products with it maxed out at 4.8 volts. Also, the idea that airflow cools it doesn’t take into account that it is cooled AFTER the vapor is produced, not when it is. Stating that people don’t vape above 10 watts doesn’t hold water, and replacing the wick or coil often doesn’t change the fact that it’s burning hotter directly at the coil, which is where these problems are produced. I love my ecig and I understand why people want to reject studies that easily show there are problems with the way most of us use these products… Why not just vape at 10 watts?

  • Nick C says:

    What are you talking about author? My first e-cig was a 40w variable system The scientist you quote as saying that 5.0v is extremely high is completely incorrect.
    My 40w battery that cost about $45 (eleaf) puts out 5.09v at 40 watts, so max power. I have seen people who are really into vaping with 100w batteries, and a quick youtube search will show you they are quite prevalent.

    But I’m not even someone who is really into the subculture of it. I just bought mine so I’d have something in my hand, something to do for the first few months after quitting cigs. So my point is that even the casual user can easily vape 5.0v

    • Tim Mechling says:

      I agree, 5 volts is not “extremely high.” Especially with higher-powered devices on the market today. The point revolves around formaldehyde generated when using the equipment improperly.

  • Nick C says:

    So I guess the question is this: Is the formaldehyde really created by burning the coils? Or is it actually a byproduct of heating e-liquid at higher voltage?

    I forgot to mention the reason 40w = 5.09v for me is it’s sub-ohm. That was at .65 Ohm but actually I somehow accidentally switched the setting to 1.4 ohm and if I really wanted to could vape at 7.5v. Knew nothing about this or vaping when I bought the system, such a noob I don’t even know how to turn it back down :p

    • Isaiah Davey says:

      Well what battery are you using to vape!? There are a lot of builds that will allow you to vape comfortably at a higher voltage and they are fine. The difference is, those builds aren’t being used to burn dry wicking!

  • Nemaz says:

    Maybe someone can give me a hand on this one.

    “Direct Dripping”: A High-Temperature, High-Formaldehyde Emission Electronic Cigarette Use Method. Nicotine Tob Res. 2015 Apr 11.

    http://ww w.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25863521

    I don’t have access to the full paper but the claim is pretty strong: ” Depending on the condition, VA emissions, including formaldehyde, greatly exceeded values previously reported for conventional ECIGs and combustible cigarettes, both per puff and per unit of nicotine yield. Increasing the inter-drip interval resulted in greater VA emissions, and lower total particulate matter and nicotine yields. Maximum heater coil temperature ranged from 130°C to more than 350°C.”

    Formaldehyde is pretty nasty stuff as I use it to extract acid nucleic with it… under the hood.

    Does anyone have analysed this paper? Is it relevant? Are their experimentation at fault?

    • Isaiah Davey says:

      I am not sure if this has been analyzed or not. It is known that a lot of these experiments were taken to the extreme, thus, getting these results. They would use CE4 or 5 tanks and vape them at unreasonable power settings, a way that most people don’t vape.

  • Corey says:

    I’m running a segeli 150w with an RDA, dual coil at .4ohms, and at 80w(6.0v). Is this the kind of high voltage they are talking about? Because the only time I get a burnt taste is when my cotton is getting dry, but then I just redrip it and its all kosher.

    • John Swanke says:

      As long as you’re not burning your juice or your cotton you should be fine. It’s when combustion happens that things start to get a little dangerous. Just make sure you’re not running so hot that your juice is burning and always keep that wick saturated.

  • はちょうどあなたが知っているように、このコンテンツは私のAndroid携帯電話からは少し奇妙に見えます。誰が多分それは実際には私の携帯電話であることを知っています。ところで偉大なポスト。

  • brandon says:

    Hey so I vape any wattage and I have been for at least 4-6 months. I am getting a screening done on my chest to check for cancer I didn’t know the risks of vaping unfortunately. I still am going to vape but at 2.8 Volts just to be safe. If given no other carcinogens are found, should I be safe reguardless what kind of coil or setup I use? (Ex: tank-systems, drippers.) Please email me at brandonbuckholz03@hotmail.com I need to know. Thank you guys so much.

    • John Swanke says:

      The only comment we can make is that according to our flavor providers our juices are free of diacetyl. Unfortunately we are not scientists and we do not have all the answers. We are working on getting test results verified and your patience is greatly appreciated. We understand the community wants more than that and we are working to address those concerns. You should be fine to chose either a tank or a dripper setup. I highly recommend checking out this article and doing more research on your own in the meantime. I hope this helps.

  • ocool says:

    so what if i use a dual coil? i vape at around 40w which gives me 4.xxv its very near to 5v. Does this mean if i vape at higher watts which will bring my volts more than 5v dangerous??

    • John Swanke says:

      We can’t confirm or deny if it’s dangerous, but I usually vape around 4.2 volts and that’s my sweet spot. You just need to adjust your settings until you find what works best for you.

  • pan says:

    I’m using a Nebox with a 0.5 gclapton coil which suggests 25w-45w. I’m currently vaping at 40w and it shows that the voltage is 4.6V. Now is that safe? I tried lower wattage but the flavour wasn’t there and it’s was a little harsh on my throat. With higher wattage it’s actually smoother and more sweet. Is the voltage safe though? The juices I use contain from 20-30% PG.
    Thank you

  • Gavin says:

    Although it tastes horrible, and is completely undesirable by any living thing, I have hit an average single coil found in most single coil (bottom feed) tanks, (accidentally) at 60+watts, equating to a high voltage. Saying that this would burn out, or “pop’ the coil is just not the case. It tastes absolutely terrible, but if you turn the wattage (and effectively the voltage) back down, the coil is still good to go. These coils will last over a month under normal vaping conditions, even with 3-5x of overpowering the coil.

    What I’m saying is, it’s not true to say that vaping a few times at high voltage on a coil ment for low voltage will blow the coil. It will however make you wish that you had changed the voltage/wattage when you switched from your sub ohm tank!

  • Mark says:

    I have a Joyetech EGO ONE MEGA which I use with a 1 ohm atomiser. I understand that it operates at around 4.2 volts unregulated. I hold the button down for around 2 seconds per puff which is enough to give plenty of vapour. Can anyone answer if there is a risk of formaldehyde at this level. Ironically and by pure coincidence while vaping and reading this forum my tank ran dry and for the first time ever I detected a burnt taste. Not worried about that as its easily fixed by refilling the tank! Am new to vaping (for two weeks now) and love it and dont want to give it up. I was smoking 40 cigarettes a day and vaping has completely wiped that out. Am on 6mg nicotine and vape around 4mls per day although I will be trying to reduce that down to 2mls per day. Can anyone advise on the formaldehyde risk on my model? Am not getting dry hits. Thanks in advance.

    • Kenny Spotz says:

      Thank you for the question, Mark. At those settings you should not have to worry about dangerous levels of formaldehyde. We cannot guarantee that your vape will be formaldehyde free, but keep in mind that by the CDC’s own guidelines, people are exposed to low levels of formaldehyde while walking around certain streets and buildings. As long as you are keeping your coil saturated to remove the possibility of dry hits, you should not have to worry about excessive formaldehyde inhalation.

  • Antony says:

    Hi folks, I would really appreciate your advice.

    I first tried vaping a few months ago to stop smoking. My first set up was a Nautilus Mini kit. After a week trying to replace smoking with vaping I gave up and returned to analogs, mainly I did not enjoy mouth-to-lung vaping (the term I learned later) at all.
    About a week ago, without any prior research, I gave it another try. This time I bought a Coolfire 4 Plus, an Aspire Triton 2 tank and a Smok TVF4 tank. And a miracle happened. I gave up smoking completely on the same day.
    Only after getting used to my new gear, I have learnt that I’ve been sub-ohming 🙂 (stupid, i know)
    There’s lots of stuff on the web about possible dangers of sub-ohming and direct to lung vaping. This study, in particular, claims that higher voltage (and wattage?) may result in release of cancerogenes.
    This really makes me sad, since I clearly do not want to return to analogs. Would it be better to try mouth-to-lung at higher Ohms again given safety concerns?
    And what does the phrase “…the energy was around 14-16 watts. That would be extremely high for most commercially-available atomizers” really mean? The recommended settings for my Triton 2 clapton coil (supplied with the tank) are 40-45 watts. For TVF4 it’s 30-80 watts. I vape at 40 watts and don’t have any burning sensation. Should I reduce the wattage?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Josh Hanna says:

      At the time this was written, 14-16 watts would be high for most commercially available atomizers. However, newer products have now been designed that allow you can vape at higher wattages. The TFV4 is made to be vaped at 40 watts. Of course, we do recommend doing your own research to make the most informed decision possible regarding what you vape.

  • Mark says:

    Thanks to Kenny Spotz to his answer to my previous question. I recently bought a second device – the eleaf ijust 2 which operates at between 30 – 80 watts and around 4.3v. This has come with a sub ohm double coil (2 coils at 0.3 ohms each). This has been a completely different experience for me compared to my first ecig the Joyetech Ego One mega as it feels more like a cigarette – as the vapour is hotter.

    Would be greatful for any advice on the formaldehyde risk of this model. If there is a risk I will get a 1 ohm coil for it.

    On the Joyetech Mega I was holding down the fire button for 2 – 3 seconds to get decent vapour, but am finding on the eleaf ijust 2 sub ohm just holding it down briefly for about 3/4 of 1 second gets enough vapour and at a temperature similar to a cigarette. There are no dry hits.

    Cant help but feel that when discussing the risks of formaldehyde a big factor is how long we hold down the fire button.

    Any advice on the risks of the eleaf iJust2 would be greatly appreciated :))

    • Kenny Spotz says:


      Glad I could help you out with my previous comment. As far as formaldehyde risk goes, unfortunately I cannot offer much insight beyond saying that you should make sure your coils are saturated to reduce the risk of dry hits. Dry hitting your coil and burning the cotton will increase the risk of formaldehyde exposure. Until there are specific tests done on that model of vaporizer, you will be using any coil (even 1 ohm coils) at your own risk. I will say that the longer you are holding down the fire button, the greater your risk of dry hitting your coil. The cotton can only wick so fast and if you are holding down the fire button for long periods of time you risk out-pacing the speed of the wick.

  • Iain says:

    ANything I’d say here is just theoretical but I think the answer to this formaldehyde issue may lie in “Cool Flame” studies. A cool flame burns between 400F-1000F and is know to produce two chemicals Carbon Monoxide and Formaldehyde. Needles to say when I found out about this research I started rethinking my high voltage use but then I was playing around with 4.6V+ range trying to produce bigger clouds with shorter bursts on my MechMod.

    If nothing else I hope you guys find the studies interesting.

    • Kenny Spotz says:

      Thank you for sharing these studies. There is always more research that needs to be done on vaping technology, so we appreciate you taking the time to share this link.

  • Mark says:

    I think that for anyone really concerned about formaldehyde there might be a way to personally measure exposure.

    I checked on ebay and there are Chinese devices that measure formaldehyde in ppm. I’m not going to post a link but anyone interested can go to ebay and search for “formaldehyde meter” Of course there is the question of quality and how reliable these devices are – and the different devices range in price from around $60 up to $270. And they are not machines that you puff into instead they measure atmospheric formaldehyde. But that doesnt mean that they cannot be used to give you an indication.

    Taking a measurement while smoking a regular cigarette near it, and then taking a measurement while vaping near it could give us a personal indication of our exposure to formaldehyde as compared to regular cigarettes. To increase reliability the experiment could be done a number of times and an average result could be arrived at.

    Thanks again to Kenny Spotz for taking the time to answer my previous question 🙂

  • Mark says:

    Just to add to my previous comment – communities of vapers could buy these devices between them and share the cost of it. And lone vapers could buy a meter, take their measurements and when they are done with it, it could be resold second hand so that someone else gets to use it and the original owner gets back most of the cost of buying it.

  • Dominicsam says:

    Is it true that mods and sub boxes are banned by the fda? There is a cape store that told us they are and I’ve been trying to find out… my wife uses a kangertech sub box nano.. her last coil blew and we went to Panama vapors in Panama city fl.. the told us they can’t legally sell mods and such because of the formaldehyde… we wound up getting another vape completely and it’s given us hell from the start… we got the pro tank two.. it kept flooding we told the store this and they tried to tell us that we were wrong at first. They changed the coil and tried it and sure enough it flooded.. they tried to say it wasn’t but my brother told the lady talking to us that he could hear the tell tail gurgle when she fired it up.. she replaced the tank and coils free of charge but said that it was against policy to do that… they said that all vape stores have a no returns policy.. sweet southern vapes in Niceville did not.. they gave you about a week.. any way she told us a bunch of other stuff too.. my wife was not happy about it.. she wound up nicely informing the lady that a she did not just stop vaping, she’s been doing it for two years now and b though she’s autistic, her iq could run circles around the sales cleark.. the clerk also said as of December31st there won’t be any more ecigarettes…just trying to research and find out what the truth is…

    • Josh Hanna says:

      They are not banned, I can assure you that. Everything the store has told you, do not listen to it. The FDA has put regulations out that will make all new products after August 8th need to be tested through a process but there is not a ban on them. Not all vape stores have a no return policy. Most of the ones I have gone to, have a return policy. I am really sorry this has happened and wish people would educate themselves before telling others what they think is happening. If you have any questions about anything vape related, you can email me at jhanna@mtbakervapor.com and I will answer them for you.

  • Mike says:

    Formaldehyde is being consumed by anyone over 3.3V. It’s undisputed and these warnings are now on vape sites where they sell the hardware.

    You can spin it any way you want to make us feel better. But it’s a fact not an opinion that we are inhaling formaldehyde.

    I suspect this is why we are suddenly seeing variable voltage go in favor of variable wattage. Because they don’t want you to know what voltage you are using.

    It’s amazing how many people question a study. Someone said oh well this cardiologist said it wasn’t true.


    Spin doctor city.

    Yes. We quite cigarettes. And we are better off for it. But we are still at risk of cancer. End of story. Vaping is not safe.

    I have begun weaning off vape myself. Most of it tastes like Ass anyway unless you spend a bunch On a custom mod. These pre set vape pens almost always burn too hot and make every juice taste nasty.

    Anymore an NJOY prefilled tank tastes better than 1/2 the oils I use. They run 3.7. So still not safe.

    As for nobody can vape at 5.0 v lol. My itaztevv first gen lived at 4.7-5.3. And yeah it tasted fine. In fact it was better the more volts I cranked.

    For most people vaping is a melennial hipster dufus thing. They want to puff their lemonade juice at 0MG nicotine at the skinny jean unshaven bar.

    For real smokers like me I need the nicotine. I’d like to smack half those people.

    I’m realizing now there’s no safe way to get my craving and I need to quit it all.

  • Eric Hays says:

    For starters, I didn’t read all the comments. Ain’t nobody got time for that. But did anyone point this gem out?

    “The aerosolized liquid was collected in an NMR spectroscopy tube (10 50-ml puffs over 5 minutes; 3 to 4 seconds per puff). With each puff, 5 to 11 mg of e-liquid was consumed, and 2 to 6 mg of liquid was collected.”

    I don’t know if they were drinking the liquid or vaping it, but since when is liquid consumed measured in milligrams? If I’m not mistaken, liquids are measured in milliliters. And what is a 50ml puff? This whole study is garbage, because the industry has evolved to the point that there is no such thing as a “typical” vaper, and a study about one type of vaping apparatus could have nothing at all to do with your setup. I’m not much for conspiracy theories, but wouldn’t it be wild if Big Pharma and Big Tobacco made a shady backroom deal with the DEA and the FDA to protect their opiates and cigarettes? I think the truth is probably closer to that scenario than any other. Take the power back!!!!

    • Tim Mechling says:

      Your theory is not far-fetched, in my humble opinion. The way the FDA siphons information to select journalists, with specific parameters, really gives me the impression that something shady is happening behind closed doors. Thanks for your insights.

  • Plinko says:

    Appreciate this review on that faulty study. It’s been a help in convincing the smokers in my family and circle of friends that I’m not killing myself quicker than they are…

    Seems to me that study is akin to lightning the wrong end of a cigarette (every smoker has done that at least once, probably when drunk). When you make that mistake, you get a mouthful of fumes from burning cellulose acetate fibre, phenol-formaldehyde resins and possibly activated charcoal (asbestos back in the day too). I’ve known many smokers and none of them prefer to smoke the filters.

    Seems to me some sort of legislation is in order outlawing filters on cigarettes to prevent such careless use.

  • GaRUi says:

    IMHO the most important variable here in this research should be the heat flux.

    ce4 tank has 2,5Ohm resistance and it is probably single coil. I do not know exactly but 32gauge or thinner kanthal wire should be used in order to reach 2,5Ohms. For 32gauge, it is like 10 wraps. You can not use like 24gauge kanthal and fit it into a ce4 (correct me if I am wrong.)

    Now 2,5Ohm kanthal coil with 32gauge in a single coil build @15Watts produce 410 mW/mm² heat flux which is very hot vapor production and this is probably why the burning process begins.

    On the other hand,
    26gauge 0,5Ohm single coil build @15Watts produce 255 mW/mm² heat flux which is warm.
    26gauge 0,5Ohm dual coil build @15Watts produce 64 mW/mm² heat flux which is cold vapor (nearly no vapor).

    Although the coil length has an effect here narrowing all the heath flux result for the total system, the important thing is the wick and coil contact points. The wick and the juice which directly contacts the coil will get effected by most of this heat flux and will likely a chemical reaction will start.

    More technical guys correct me if I am wrong here.

    • Corey Gefroh says:

      That is definitely the gist of it! And that’s exactly why this study was such a poor way to measure what’s actually in the vapor we exhale. Nobody would voluntarily vape under the conditions that were tested with. With that high of heat with that high of resistance, you’d be vaping a burnt coil the whole time! Like you said, chemical reactions are bound to be produced in these conditions, which wouldn’t occur when we vape with the appropriate wattage/voltage levels for the ohms of our coil.

  • PFM says:

    I’m using a Joyetech e-go AIO. Their site states that it produces 3.7-4.2V, 20-30W. Is there a risk it produces formaldehyde?

  • Beninu Andersen says:

    They only test for formaldehyde and compare formaldehyde in combustible cigarettes with formaldehyde in ecigs at 3.3V and 5.0V respectively. They conclude that the amount of formaldehyde in ecigs at 5.0V (which is generally too much on a CE4 clearomizer at the standard 1.5 or 2.0 Ohm). What the blatantly ignore is the fact that this is only ONE of hundreds of carcinogenic substances in cigarettes. There are more than 4000 chemicals in a puff of smoke. We know for a fact that at least 110 of these are carcinogenic. (Studies vary a little, some say only 90 of these are carcinogenic while others say it is closer to 200 of these chemicals that might be carcinogenic). The point is:
    This study compare ONE of the carcinogenic substances in cigarette smoke to the only possibnle culprit found so far in vape. That is a ridiculous comparison. The hundred other carcinogenic substances in cigarette smoke will make me choose vape over smoke any day – formaldehyde or not!THE MOST IMPORTANT FACT THAT ARE OMITTED IN THE STUDY IS THIS:
    They only test for formaldehyde and compare formaldehyde in combustible cigarettes with formaldehyde in ecigs at 3.3V and 5.0V respectively. They conclude that the amount of formaldehyde in ecigs at 5.0V (which is generally too much on a CE4 clearomizer at the standard 1.5 or 2.0 Ohm). What the blatantly ignore is the fact that this is only ONE of hundreds of carcinogenic substances in cigarettes. There are more than 4000 chemicals in a puff of smoke. We know for a fact that at least 110 of these are carcinogenic. (Studies vary a little, some say only 90 of these are carcinogenic while others say it is closer to 200 of these chemicals that might be carcinogenic). The point is:
    This study compare ONE of the carcinogenic substances in cigarette smoke to the only possibnle culprit found so far in vape. That is a ridiculous comparison. The hundred other carcinogenic substances in cigarette smoke will make me choose vape over smoke any day – formaldehyde or not!

    I’ve read these comments and I think noone have mentioned that the study in question studied on Propylene Glycol (PG) and Glycerol, which are both lilquids many vapers consider of the past (epsecially Glycerol). I personally only smoke pure Vegetable Glycerine (VG) which may produce a little less throat hit but it allso causes less allergic reactions in large studies. Since this study didn’t test on VG there’s no way to know what reactions come from VG vape.

    Another variable is the coil material. Coils are made from so many different metals and amalgams, that one type of metal can be a catalyst of the chemical reaction producing formaldehyde and another isn’t.

    Finally. Many people get lost in the discussion about the voltage, wattage, etc. The voltage in the study is onlyu interesting for the coils used in the study. They used one of the most widely used beginner atomizers to get a study that is as broad as it could be – which is fair. But the focus on voltage is misleading. And quite a fews of the comments in this thread reveals a lacking understanding of the important factor here.

    For the sake of simplicity we skip the factors that the liquid can be of different types and the coil can be made of a dozen different types of metal and amalgams. What is of the real importance is what happens to the liquid if it is heated to a degree where it doesn’t only vaporize but also burn. It’s like the difference between boiling and burning.

    The main importance here is temperature. The temperature is what makes the liquid vaporize and the temperature is also what makes it burn if it is too high. Nither Voltage, Wattage, Joule or Ohm is solely responsible for the temperature of the liquid just before you inhale it. You can easily builld a coil that stays completely cold and effectless (it’s useless of course but just as an example), even though you send 8 Volts through the coil. You can also make a coil that burns any liquid that comes near the coil even though you only send 2.0 Volts through the coil. You cannot focus on Voltage alone. You can be a little more dependent on Wattage as that is actually telling you about the effect being used to heat the liquid. Watt is also a product of two of the other component wether you calculate it as Voltage multiplied by Amps (V x A) or Voltage Squared divided by resistance (V^2 / Ohm).

    But what really matters if the question is what happens to the liquid (not taking the coil into the factor) is what happens chemically to the liquid at different temperatures. And the point being made by many already is very valid. Liquid that gets burnt rellease formaldehyd – but it also taste bad, so vapers would lower the effect on their e-cig (wether it’s a VV or VW or TC) to avoid burning the liquid instead of vaporizing it.

    It should also be noticed that using a coild for too long will leave residue of burnt liquid on the coil that will eventually burn to a degree where it release formaldehyde. That is painfully obvious when you change your coil and you have been using it for too long. A large amount of black soot have built up on the coil, which means that some of the liquid have burnt in contact with the hot metal instead of vaporizing when heated in the wicking material, which in turn means, you’ve been using it for too long – and perhaps at a too high temperature. Don’t overspend your coils. A fresh coil obviously have less built up of soot and burnt liquid (and it also taste much nicer), so don’t be cheap – that will definitely also help. If you use a higher temperature you obviously should also change your coils more often. Keeping all you equipment in pristine condition will also help alot to get rid of what residue must reside inside your coul, atomizer, RBA and whatnot. (I personally use an professional ultrasound cleaner that I got from a jeweller who upgraded his to a larger model, but I know they also come in consumer models that can be bought in most hardware stores. I’ve even seen them sold in some vape stores – both brick-and-mortar and online stores.)

    In all fairness it should be said, that I know vapers that haven’t tried too many different setups and who just got used to the setup they use and who don’t really notice a slightly burnt sensation, who just got used to the bad taste or who may even have grown so accustomed to that taste that they just believe that’s the way it’s meant to taste. These vapers are clearly in the danger-zone. But so are people who use the oil in the deep frier for too long or too high temperature, and so are people who overcook ther meat, and so will people who drink too many units of alcohol pr. week, etc. There will always be someone that overdo things. They are not the norm.

    Do what you can to make sure the temperature on your e-cig/mod/etc. vaporize your liquid instead of burning it. Check your coil for residue/soot regularly. Change coils often. Change wick/wickingmaterial often. Be aware of even the slightest burnt taste and lower the power on your device to where the burnt sensation subsides. And if you by mistake have burnt the wick or coil at a much higher setting than they where built for, do change them as they may have taken lasting damage – especially the wicking material that may in fact be burnt to ashes near the coil.

    Despite this article being either totally wrong or totally right, the choice is still between a product that emits hundreds of carcinogenic chemicals with each puff or a product that may or may not emit one carcinogenic chemical with each puff. That is not a hard choice – at least not to me.

  • >