Study finds electronic cigarettes contain ingredients linked to respiratory disease
by David Modica | January 15, 2016
Many smokers admit to using alternative nicotine delivery systems as a way to wean off of tobacco. One such product, the electronic cigarette, has been steadily growing in popularity. There was initial skepticism regarding the health effects of the practice, but it was unclear exactly how unhealthy “e-cigarettes” were until recently.
A recent study conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is among the first to offer a scientific medical examination of the chemicals in e-cigarettes and their effects on the human body. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that approximately 1.78 million children had experimented with e-cigarettes. In light of this staggering figure, the research team tested 51 different flavors of e-cigarettes that the group deemed attractive to a younger audience, including candy, fruit and cocktails.
Among the chemicals tested for was diacetyl, an ingredient common in a number of artificial flavoring concoctions which was linked to bronchiolitis obliterans—or “Popcorn Lung”—within the last ten years. Diacetyl received significant media coverage after investigators determined it was the cause of a rare, life-threatening and irreversible respiratory disease that workers in popcorn processing incurred because of the inhalation of chemicals used in the artificial butter flavoring.
The researchers found that diacetyl was present in more than 75% of the discharged electronic cigarettes. Also among the list of harmful chemicals was acetylpropionyl and acetone, other known carcinogens that also appeared at alarming levels.
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