E-Cigarettes Contain Hazardous Chemicals Linked to Severe Respiratory Diseases

by Reshma Anand on  December 9, 2015 at 6:32 PM Respiratory Disease News
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E-cigarettes have gained popularity as an alternative for traditional cigarettes. It has been found that three in four e-cigarettes use a flavored liquid that has been linked to severe respiratory disease.
E-Cigarettes Contain Hazardous Chemicals Linked to Severe Respiratory Diseases
E-Cigarettes Contain Hazardous Chemicals Linked to Severe Respiratory Diseases

Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a nicotine-containing liquid, which is inhaled much like a cigarette.

Unlike traditional cigarettes, the devices are not regulated by US authorities, leading to concern among some experts that they may be harmful to health -- and that their candy and fruit flavors may appeal to youths and put them at risk of addiction.

For the study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, scientists at Harvard University tested flavors that may appeal to young people such as Cotton Candy, Fruit Squirts and Cupcake.

They found that 75 percent of tested samples contained diacetyl, which when inhaled has been linked to the respiratory disease bronchiolitis obliterans -- sometimes called "popcorn lung" because over 10 years ago it was discovered in workers who inhaled artificial butter flavor in microwave popcorn processing facilities.

Of the 7,000 varieties of flavored e-cigarettes, researchers focused on testing 51 types sold by leading brands for the presence of diacetyl, acetoin and 2,3-pentanedione, two related flavoring compounds that are listed as 'high priority,' because they may pose a respiratory hazard in the workplace, the study said.

In a lab testing environment, each e-cigarette was attached to a device that drew air through the e-cigarette for eight seconds at a time, with a resting period of 15 or 30 seconds, to mimic the action of a human smoker.

The air stream was analyzed, and at least one of the three chemicals was detected in 47 of the 51 flavors tested, according to the report.

Diacetyl was detected above the laboratory limit of detection in 39 of the flavors tested. Acetoin was detected in 46 flavors, and 2,3-pentanedione was found in 23 of the flavors.

"Since most of the health concerns about e-cigarettes have focused on nicotine, there is still much we do not know about e-cigarettes. In addition to containing varying levels of the addictive substance nicotine, they also contain other cancer-causing chemicals, such as formaldehyde, and as our study shows, flavoring chemicals that can cause lung damage," said study co-author David Christiani, a professor of environmental genetics.

Source: AFP

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I'm really concerned about this product. I started with Safe Cig roughly 5 years ago. Then V2. Slowly, V2's became less available in the convenience stores near me. I switched to VUSE. WOW! Heavy stuff! Of course, I'm sucking down 2 of them a day, and finally am worried about what possible side effects could be [beyond a rapid heart rate, etc]. I've had coughing fits that I can't stop. My lungs feel wheezy, at times, and I'm a little concerned about the e-cigs, but too darn hooked to quit! While doing a personal search on benefits and risks to e-cigs, I learned about the Popcorn Lung study. Researchers from Harvard found that the flavoring chemical, diacetyl, when inhaled, was linked to irreversible scarring to their lungs. VUSE lists their ingredients, including "natural and artificial flavors." What are the artificial flavors? I called them directly, and a man named Chris, put me on hold to ask his supervisor. He came back to me and stammered "they are pro..pro...uh, I can't say it." He started to spell "proprietary." Oh! So, they're a secret for only Big Tobacco to know, right??? I asked for his supervisor. He put me on hold, again (1-2 minutes). He then told me I had to give them all of my information (DOB, full name, address) BEFORE transferring me to a supervisor. It made me feel uncomfortable. Once John, the supervisor, answered the phone, he said he could not tell me the proprietary ingredients, but that he would forward the request to the appropriate parties. I also asked him to tell me how much nicotine was in each cartridge. He had to put me on hold again, and finally responded "4.8%." That's 48mg of nicotine per cartridge. I'm sharing my experience with others to see if anyone else has the same side effects (occasional uncontrollable coughing, wheezing) from using VUSE. Please share! And as they refused to tell me the "artificial" flavorings, I must go back to V2's. If they're still around. I'd love to quit, so...maybe this is a good time to start. I don't trust R.J. Reynolds. I'm tempted to send my cartridges to a lab to have them tested.

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