Eating cherry candy and consuming cherry-flavored drinks may be good, but using inhalation products like electronic cigarettes with cherry and other flavor chemicals, not so good, according to a new paper from Portland State University.
While the e-cigarette industry says they use “food-grade chemicals,” these chemicals “haven’t been proven safe for inhalation.” In fact, according to The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers, the safety of the flavors only applies to food.
In the study 30 different e-cigarette refill bottles with flavors such as “tobacco, menthol, vanilla, cherry, coffee, chocolate, grape, apple, cotton candy and bubble gum” were analyzed. The flavor chemicals ranged from more than 1% of the liquid volume in 13 of the products to higher than 3% in two of the liquids. That’s why the products taste so good. Flavor chemicals, such as vanillin (a synthetic form of vanilla) and benzaldehyde, which are known to cause respiratory irritation, were found to be high in the analyzed samples. When the authors estimated consumption rates (about 5ml per day), they discovered the amount of flavoring in the e-liquid “put users at an exposure of twice the recommended occupational limits.”
This study used only a small sample size, but the authors conclude that “the results are likely what a broad survey would have revealed.”
At the moment, users don’t know what is in the liquid they are vaping. One of the authors of the flavor study feels the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “should limit levels of flavor chemicals and require ingredient identification.”
According to the latest information out in Reuters, “use of e-cigarettes among middle- and high school students tripled between 2013 and 2014.” High school use jumped from 4.5% in 2013 to 13.4% in 2014. More high school students use electronic cigarettes now than traditional cigarettes with that number falling from 12.7% to 9.2% for traditional cigarettes. Scarely numbers, especially since the products are too new on the market for long-term health studies.
Just because vape shops tell you the products are safe, doesn’t mean they are. Didn’t the tobacco companies tell us cigarettes were safe too?