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Mysterious vapour

21/2020, 10.06.2020

The new issue of the BfR science magazine BfR2GO focuses on the health risks posed by e-cigarettes

E-cigarettes are modern, considered by many to be cool and less harmful to health in comparison to conventional tobacco cigarettes. The BfR has examined the alternative to smoking. The result: e-cigarettes are not harmless. "Many of the substances used have not been sufficiently investigated", says Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel, President of the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). "For example, it is still unclear how the vaporising agents in e-cigarette liquids have an impact on users' health when inhaled over many years." Research into the health risks of "vaping" is the main topic covered in the current issue of the science magazine BfR2GO. Other topics in the magazine include coronaviruses in food, toxic substances in fish, pathogenic bacteria in raw milk, the BfR consumer conference on genome editing, organic plant protection products and biorhythms of cells.

BfR2GO 1/2020:

The health risk posed by an e-cigarette is less than that posed by a conventional cigarette when used as intended. The reason: the vapour contains fewer carcinogenic substances than smoke from tobacco cigarettes. Assessing the health risk of e-cigarettes in general is, however, difficult when faced with the variety of models and liquids. The ingredients in e-cigarette liquids are being investigated at the BfR. It is being examined which substances might be produced during vaping: for example, acrolein, acetaldehyde or the carcinogenic formaldehyde. Furthermore, the vapour from e-cigarettes usually contains nicotine, which is harmful to health and addictive. The science magazine BfR2GO shows how common e-cigarette models work and explains the health risks of contaminated or self-mixed liquids.

Coronaviruses are another topic in the sixth issue of BfR2GO. In recent months, many consumers have been worried that the virus could be transmitted via contaminated food, for example, through fruit and vegetables from particularly affected regions. The BfR2GO special shows that this is unlikely. Another research finding from the BfR is how and which viruses that cause disease are spread via food.

Also in the new BfR2GO: toxic substances in tropical fish, health risks from Campylobacter pathogens in raw milk, drug-like effects of food supplements, a consumer conference on genome editing, side effects of the bio-pesticide bacillus thuringiensis and how animal experiments can be replaced using the biorhythm of cells.

Compact and packed to the brim with knowledge, the science magazine BfR2GO provides up-to-date and substantiated information on the research, assessment and communication of possible health risks in food and feed, chemicals and consumer products. Each issue of BfR2GO presents a main topic focusing on one of the current fields of work of the BfR. Moreover, there are reports, interviews and information from all other BfR working areas.

The science magazine BfR2GO is published twice a year in German and English. It is published on the BfR website and can be downloaded free of charge or ordered directly. In addition, those interested can register for a free subscription.

About the BfR

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientifically independent institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany. It advises the German federal government and German federal states ("Laender") on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.

This text version is a translation of the original German text which is the only legally binding version.



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BfR2GO, Issue 1/2020, Key Topic: E-cigarettes
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