Results from a new study suggest that vaping flavours like cinnamon and vanilla could increase the risk of developing life-threatening diseases.
Vaping is often thought of as the healthier alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes, but the new findings show that e-cigarettes might not be as harmless as people think.
Researchers exposed immune cells to chemicals that are used in e-cigarette flavouring – which is an element of vaping that appeals many users – and found that the cells produced substances that are responsible for inflammation and tissue death. They also then found that many of the chemicals caused significant cell death.
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The study was conducted by scientists at the University of Rochester, with results published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Senior author Dr Irfan Rahman of the Environmental Health Sciences Center said that vaping flavours may not actually be safe for inhalation, despite what many think. The research also found that some flavours were more toxic than others.
"Currently, these are not regulated, and alluring flavor names, such as candy, cake, cinnamon roll and mystery mix, attract young vapers,"Dr Rahman said.
"Our scientific findings show that e-liquid flavors can, and should, be regulated and that e-juice bottles must have a descriptive listing of all ingredients. We urge regulatory agencies to act to protect public health."
His team also believe that tighter regulations are needed to reduce the risk of 'inhalation toxicity' due to exposure to vaping flavoring chemicals.
"E-juice bottles must have a descriptive listing of all ingredients,"Dr Rahman explained. "We urge regulatory agencies to act to protect public health."
Fellow author Dr Thivanka Muthumalage also added that, while flavouring compounds tested may be safe for ingestion, the results show that they might not be safe for inhalation.
Muthumalage said: "Cinnamon, vanilla and butter flavoring chemicals were the most toxic but our research showed that mixing flavors of e-liquids caused by far the most toxicity to white blood cells."
Another recent study also warned against the use of e-cigarettes, claiming that vaping causes mutations in DNA that can cause cancer.
The new research by Moon-shong Tang has proven fairly controversial, as it contradicts the previous suggestions that vaping was healthier for you than normal smoking.
"Based on these results, we propose that [e-cigarette vapour] is carcinogenic and that E-cig smokers have a higher risk than non-smokers to develop lung and bladder cancer and heart diseases," reads the research.
Dr Mehmet Kesimer, who led the study said: "There is confusion about whether e-cigarettes are 'safer' than cigarettes because the potential adverse effects of e-cigarettes are only beginning to be studied.
"Our results suggest that e-cigarettes might be just as bad as cigarettes."
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