All e-cigarettes have been found to contain many potentially harmful chemical compounds, as well as carcinogens. However, a new study indicates flavored e-cigarettes may be more harmful than non-flavored, and one flavor is reportedly the most toxic of all.
Formaldehyde, acrolein, acetoin, propylene glycol, glycerin, diacetyl and 2,3 pentanedione have all been detected in e-cigarette liquids and their vapors. The risk level of exposure depends on how old the e-cigarette is, how many coils it has, temperature, voltage, flavor and brand.
A study published in Tobacco Control, a division of BMJ Online Magazine, discovered that, out of all flavors tested, strawberry may be the most toxic.
When the researchers exposed bronchial cells to five flavors – piña colada, menthol, strawberry, coffee, and plain tobacco – the strawberry had a higher “cellular toxicity” effect than the other flavors.
The study also advised that the higher the voltage of the e-cigarette device, the higher the risk to its user.
Higher emissions of potential toxins with higher voltage is confirmed in another study published by EHP. The study’s lead author, Joseph G. Allen, assistant professor of exposure assessment science at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said, “The flavoring is in a liquid form and our concern is that the exposure pathway is similar to that of the workers who are getting sick.”
The workers Allen refers to are the eight microwave popcorn plant workers who were diagnosed with obliterative bronchiolitis after long-term exposure to diacetyl, a chemical used to mimic the smooth, creamy flavor of butter. Obliterative bronchiolitis is a serious lung disease in which the smallest airways of the lungs become scarred and restricted, showing symptoms similar to COPD. It is only curable by lung transplant.
Allen further explained that inhaling heated flavoring chemicals is similar to the exposure that the workers experienced.