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Health authorities: e-cigarettes contain more tar than ordinary cigarettes

Health authorities: e-cigarettes contain more tar than ordinary cigarettes

Posted June. 08, 2018 08:27,   

Updated June. 08, 2018 08:27


South Korea's health authorities have found that heat-not-burn tobacco products sold in the Korean market have the same level of nicotine as conventional cigarettes but contain more tar. The electronic cigarettes have also been found to contain five "group 1 cancer-causing substances,” undermining the public perception that e-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety on Thursday announced the results of its investigation into three tobacco heating devices -- IQOS by Philip Morris Korea Inc., British American Tobacco’s Glo and KT&G Corp.’s lil, saying that various “harmful” chemicals were found in the tobacco products, as is the case with conventional cigarettes. E-tobacco products are consumed with an electronic device that heats tobacco to a lower temperature than when a conventional cigarette is burned. Smokers inhale the steam.

An analysis of the new tobacco products with the internationally recognized ISO method showed that Glo contained 4.8 milligrams of tar, while lil and IQOS had 9.1 milligrams and 9.3 milligrams, respectively, higher than the amounts contained in conventional cigarettes that range between 0.1 to 8.0 milligrams. In terms of nicotine, Glo had 0.1 milligram, compared with 0.3 milligram in lil and 0.5 milligram in IQOS, similar amounts detected in ordinary cigarettes (0.01 to 0.7 milligram). “The amount of tar contained in e-cigarettes exceeded those of conventional cigarettes, while the nicotine level was about the same, indicating that e-cigarettes are not helpful to those wanting to quit smoking,” the ministry said.

According to the study results, five carcinogens, including benzene and formaldehyde, were found in the three e-cigarettes. The International Agency for Research on Cancer under the World Health Organization classifies the chemicals as “group 1” carcinogens. An analysis via the Health Canada method, which blocks the perforations on the cigarette filters, showed 1.4 to 6.2 times higher amounts of cancer-causing substances than via the ISO method.

Youn-Jong Kim zozo@donga.com