Hazardous chemicals discovered in flavored e-cigarette vapor

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E-cigarette Devices and Flavorings

In a recent study, atmospheric scientists at the Desert Research Institute (DRI) pay attention to the growing e-cigarette industry and the unidentified effects of vaping on human health.

New research published in Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T) reports that the aerosols (commonly called vapors) produced by flavored e-cigarettes liquids contain dangerous chemicals known to cause cancer in humans.

The study confirms that these toxic aldehydes are formed in the chemical breakdown of the flavored e-liquid during the rapid heating process (pyrolysis) that occurs inside e-cigarettes or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).

“How these flavoring compounds in e-cigarette liquids affect the chemical composition and toxicity of the vapor that e-cigarettes produce is practically unknown,” explained Andrey Khylstov, Ph.D.

“Our results show that production of toxic aldehydes is exponentially dependent on the concentration of flavoring compounds.”

E-cigarette liquids have been marketed in nearly 8,000 different flavors, according to a 2014 report from the World Health Organization.

Recent reports have shown that many flavors, such as Gummy Bear, Tutti Fruitty, Bubble Gum, etc., were found to be especially appealing to adolescents and young adults.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that 16-percent of high school and 5.3-percent of middle school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2015.

This makes e-cigarettes the most commonly used tobacco product among youth for the second consecutive year.

In 2014, 12.6-percent of U.S. adults had ever tried an e-cigarette, and about 3.7-percent of adults used e-cigarettes daily or some days.

Researchers measured concentrations of 12 aldehydes in aerosols produced by three common e-cigarette devices.

To determine whether the flavoring additives affected aldehyde production during vaping, five flavored e-liquids were tested in each device. In addition, two unflavored e-liquids were also tested.

The devices used in the study represented three of the most common types of e-cigarettes – bottom and top coil clearomizers, and a cartomizer.

In all experiments, the amount of aldehydes produced by the flavored e-cigarette liquids exceeded the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) for hazardous chemical exposure.

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News source: Desert Research Institute.
Figure legend: This Knowridge.com image is credited to DRI.