The vaping industry loves to compare itself to cigarettes, saying it is a “safer” alternative and “less harmless,” but a new study says chemicals in the e-cigarette flavorings, especially fruit-flavored, contain cancer-causing toxins.
The study looked at 103 participants with an average age of 16. The participants were divided into three groups: e-cigarette users, “dual users” who both vape and smoke tobacco cigarettes, and teens who didn’t vape or smoke. Rather than measure the toxins in the e-liquid, the researchers measured what gets into the user when they smoke or vape through urine samples. The samples from teens who vape found elevated levels of five different toxins – acrolein, acrylamide, acrylonitrile, crotonaldehyde and proplyene oxide – all of which are “suspected carcinogens.” When they compared teens who vape versus those who didn’t, those who vape had levels “up to three times greater amount of toxins in their urine.” The five toxins mentioned above are known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Fruit flavored vaping products are popular with teens and although the liquids are approved as food additives, they form other compounds, such as the VOCs, when heated to the point they become vapor. Acrylonitrile, a known carcinogen, is found in fruit flavoring. Even liquids that don’t contain nicotine create VOCs such as acrylonitrile and acrylamide which were found in the urine of teens who said they didn’t use nicotine e-liquid products.
The researchers believe the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) needs to “step up regulation of e-cigarettes” when it comes to teen use. According to researchers, rather than turn to e-cigarettes to replace smoking, smokers need to think of cessation. And when it comes to teens, the safe approach is smoking prevention.
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