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Liquids without nicotine also contain toxic compounds
Researchers have now found that the use of e-cigarettes exposes young people to a significant amount of toxic compounds that are also found in normal cigarettes. This is irrespective of whether the so-called e-cigarette liquids contain nicotine or not.
The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) scientists found in their investigation that the use of e-cigarettes releases large amounts of toxic compounds, regardless of whether nicotine is contained in the liquid. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Pediatrics".
Doctors examined the urine samples from adolescents
For their study, the experts analyzed the urine samples from a group of children who were on average 16.4 years old. Sixty-seven of the children only used e-cigarettes, while 17 subjects used both e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco cigarettes. The researchers then compared their results with those of 20 adolescents who did not smoke.
What did the investigations show?
The results showed that users of e-cigarettes had three times as many toxic organic compounds as were found in non-smokers. For their part, the teenagers who used both e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes had three times as many toxic compounds in their bodies as those who only used e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes do not release harmless water vapor
Adolescents should be warned that the vapor produced by e-cigarettes is not harmless water vapor, but actually contains some of the same toxic chemicals found in conventional cigarette smoke, says study author Mark Rubinstein from the University of California, San Francisco.
Which toxic compounds were found
Among the compounds, the researchers found, for example, acrolein, acrylonitrile, crotonaldehyde, propylene oxide and acrylamide. These substances all belong to the class of so-called volatile organic compounds (VOC). As is well known, toxic volatile organic compounds are also present in traditional tobacco products, the doctors explain.
Fruit flavored liquids particularly dangerous for teenagers
Some of these toxic substances have also been found in adolescents who used flavored cigarettes without nicotine. E-cigarettes with fruit-flavored liquids in particular produce higher amounts of acrylonitrile. This is of concern because fruit flavors are the most popular among teenagers. A previous study also showed that cinnamon and vanilla e-cigarette flavors can cause lung damage regardless of whether they contain nicotine.
Carcinogenic substances are produced by heating
Glycerin and propylene glycol can be considered safe at room temperature, the scientists say. Unfortunately, they can produce toxic and potentially carcinogenic substances if they are heated to the high temperatures needed for evaporation. Although e-cigarette vapors are less dangerous than tobacco smoke, the latest results again indicate that e-cigarette vapors are also very unhealthy because many of the volatile organic compounds identified are carcinogenic. (as)