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E-Cigarette Use Not Associated with Heavy Metal Presence in Blood and Urine, Study Finds

According to a new study from researchers at West Virginia University, levels of heavy metals in the blood and urine of e-cigarette users are not were similar to the ones observed in people who didn’t smoke or vape.

The study, titled Association of electronic cigarette use with lead, cadmium, barium, and antimony body burden: Nhanes 2015-2016, is due for publication in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology in December 2020, but an abstract has already appeared online and it shows that vaping is not associated with the presence of dangerous levels of heavy metals in blood and urine.

Like youth nicotine addiction and respiratory issues, exposure to heavy metals has long been one f the favorite arguments of vaping opponents when preaching against e-cigarette use. To be honest, I personally had been wondering about this for years, but the little research we had on this topic showed that vapers’ exposure to heavy metals was within safety limits. Now we have a new study that confirms these findings.

R. Contance Wiener and Ruchi Bhandari, two researchers from West Virginia University, in Morgantown, conducted a study on the association between vaping and the presence of heavy metals like lead, cadmium, barium, and antimony in blood and urine, using data from the 2015-2016 NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey).

In the study abstract, research mention that participants were split into different categories, based on their past or current tobacco use: e-cigarette use (current or former), current or precious smoking history (including dual-use with electronic cigarettes, and no smoking/vaping history. This is important, because many current vaping studies fail to make the distinction between effects of e-cigarette use and those of previous smoking history.

Interestingly, after measuring and analyzing the levels of heavy metals in the blood and urine of participants, the study authors found that “current or former e-cigarette use failed to reach a statistical significance in the association with metals”. However, they did note that participants with a smoking history were more likely to have higher levels of lead in their blood and cadmium in their urine than former or current vapers and never-smokers/vapers.

“Blood lead levels, and urinary cadmium, barium, and antimony levels were similar between participants who used e-cigarettes and participants who did not,” the study concluded.

Although we’ll have to wait until December of this year for the full study to see the exact figures and the methodology used by the researchers, the results are definitely some much-needed good news for vaping.

Photo: Belova59/Pixabay

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