Research reports like this on e-cigarettes annoy me. Ordinarily I might suggest that the press releases are making things appear more shocking than the paper, but it seems like the paper writers have also overemphasised the results of this study. This research appears to be a presence/absence experiment, rather than an actual harm experiment. The thought process seems to follow something like the following:
- E-cigarettes contain some nasty toxic chemicals in detectable quantities
- These toxic chemicals are nasty and toxic, and cause damage in high concentrations
- Therefore, E-cigarettes are bad and shouldn't be used
The problem is that studies of this sort aren't actually demonstrating harm. It's like saying that air contains carbon monoxide, so we shouldn't breathe it. In the paper, there are a few weasel words used that encourage thoughts like this:
Chemical analysis of e-liquids and vapors emitted by e-cigarettes led to the identification of several compounds of concern due to their potentially harmful effects on users and passively exposed nonusers... compounds are considered possible or probable carcinogens
The researchers say that they'll do the actual harm testing as an additional step:
The researchers are working on a follow-up study focusing on the health and environmental impacts of e-cigarettes.
Or, in the paper:
These chemical emissions are associated with both cancer and noncancer health impacts that will be quantitatively evaluated in an ensuing paper.
But until that's done (and has meaningful results) it's difficult to make a good case that E-cigarettes are doing the wrong thing and should be avoided.