U of M researchers will try to establish a baseline to gauge the impact of e-cigarettes on the health of users.

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MINNEAPOLIS - Researchers at the University of Minnesota (U of M) are working to determine the level of nicotine and toxin exposures caused by the use of e-cigarettes on people who smoke them.

Health experts worry that it is a category of products that has 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.

They are recruiting subjects for the study right 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."

Statistics indicate E-cigarette use has doubled in 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 hazardous toxins.

No group has done significant research to determine whether e-cigarettes are safer or actually 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."

Researchers are looking for E-cigarette users, those who both use the products exclusively and those who also use cigarettes. To enroll, call 612-624-4568.

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