In a new study, researchers found that chocolate-flavored e-cigarettes are particularly harmful to the lungs.
In fact, scientists found all 10 flavors tested caused some level of toxicity in the cells lining the lungs, resulting in cell death in some instances.
The toxins also strongly reduced the ability of immune system cells to remove bacteria and regulate inflammation.
The research was conducted by a team at Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia.
In the study, the team wanted to determine whether immune dysfunction and toxicity in the lungs previously observed in earlier studies were dependent on the flavor used, independent of the presence of nicotine.
They exposed lung cells of healthy, non-smoking subjects to the e-cigarette vapor produced from different flavors.
The team found that the chemical profiles of the e-liquid flavors studied (apple, banana, bubblegum, cappuccino, cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, mango, peppermint and tobacco) contained as many as 15 chemicals.
The most harmful flavors, such as chocolate and banana, included high levels of a chemical component called a benzene ring.
Flavors with a lower concentration of benzene ring were less harmful.
The researchers also found different brands of chocolate and banana flavored e-liquids with lower amounts of benzene ring chemicals were also less harmful.
The team says the findings provide evidence that the potential harm from using flavors does not come from the name on the bottle, but rather the flavoring chemical composition, the flavoring chemicals present, and their concentration.
One author of the study is Miranda Ween, Ph.D.
The study is published in the America Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology.
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