U of M researchers investigating exposures caused by e-cigarettes

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Investigations are underway at the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, to determine the level of nicotine and toxin exposures caused by the use of e-cigarettes, a category of products with no established baseline.

The research is being led by Dorothy Hatsukami, Ph.D., associate director for Cancer Prevention and Control in the Masonic Cancer Center and Forster Family Professor in Cancer Prevention in the Department of Psychiatry, and Stephen Hecht, Ph.D., the Wallin Land Grant Professor of Cancer Prevention in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and member of the Masonic Cancer Center. Patients are being recruited for the study now.

“We want to look more closely at e-cigarette users to understand what they are being exposed to by using these products,” said Hatsukami. “We need to examine both nicotine and other toxicants because despite significant variety among products, even within the same brand, the toxicant exposures presented by these products have not yet been studied.”

E-cigarette use has doubled in just the last three years, with sales for 2013 expected to reach $1.6 billion worldwide. Many users have begun supplementing or substituting regular cigarette use with these products, in an attempt to cut back on toxicants. Research has yet to be done to determine whether e-cigarettes are safer or limit exposure to toxicants.

“The components of e-cigarettes vary widely and the toxicant profile of e-cigarettes has not been fully explored,” said Hecht. “We want to get an idea what users can expect from this emerging and expanding market.”

The study is recruiting e-cigarette users, both who use the products exclusively and those who also use cigarettes. To enroll, please call 612-624-4568.