Flavored e-cig vapor contains hazardous chemicals

By Rebecca Burton • Published: February 9th, 2017
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

E-cigarettes have been promoted as a healthier alternative to cigarettes. However, little is known about the effects of e-cigs and how they can affect human health.

Today, e-cigs are being marketed in almost 8,000 flavors, and critics argue that flavors such as bubble gum are created to target teenagers. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 16 percent of high schoolers and 5.3 percent of middle schoolers have used e-cigs, an activity also known as vaping.

A new study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology found that flavored e-cigs might be more dangerous than unflavored varieties. Results showed that the flavored liquids found inside e-cigarettes may contain dangerous levels of cancer-causing chemicals called aldehydes.

The study found that toxic aldehydes, such as formaldehyde, form during the chemical breakdown of the flavored liquid during a quick heating process used in e-cig devices to create vapor.

To conduct the study, researchers from the Desert Research Institute measured the amounts of 12 aldehydes in vapor from three commonly used vaping devices. They tested vapor from five flavored e-cigs as well as two unflavored ones. Results showed that liquids with a higher amount of added flavor resulted in larger amounts of aldehydes, which are known to cause cancer in humans. This finding indicates the toxic chemicals may be present because of the flavoring compounds used.

While research is still being done on the overall health aspects of puffing on e-cigs, the study suggests that the added flavors can have a sour effect on the user’s health.