A new study seems to reinforce what those in the vaping community have been saying all along: the type of heating coil used in the devices, along with the amount of voltage sent through that coil, can have significant impacts on the overall risk of the activity, including damage to the user’s lungs.
Vaporizers work by heating a liquid to the point of vaporization by running electricity through a coil that is surrounded by a wick; in most cases cotton. The coil can be made of a variety of metals but the most common are steel and nickel-chromium. A study conducted by University of California, Irvine researcher Michael Kleinman exposed laboratory rats to vapor created using the metals at various temperatures and wattages and then examined the rats’ lungs for damage.
“When we got the new coils and we ran them at the high power settings, we immediately noticed after the first set of exposures, the animals were literally gasping for breath,” said Kleinman. “They were laying on the bottom of the cages, just huffing and puffing. Their color looked off. Their nose, which is normally pink, kind of looked pale.”
The study appears to fall into the same trap as many of the studies that seek to prove the harm of vaping – it fails to take into account how a human being actually uses the device. “It’s under conditions that normal e-cigarette users would never use,” said a board member of the Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association in response to Kleinman’s study. “An e-cigarette user isn’t going to use a product if it’s burning. They’re going to taste it burning.” The board member added that most popular vaping products and devices are specifically designed to prevent the user from creating the kinds of conditions created in the study. “Any of your pod-based devices, you really can’t change how you heat it,” she said. “This is done under really strict conditions to get these results.”