Popular e-cigarette flavors produce different levels of toxins – News-Medical.net

April 9, 2018

The flavor of an e-cigarette may affect more than a consumer’s taste buds, according to Penn State researchers who say the chemicals that make up different flavors also produce different levels of free radicals, toxins often associated with cancer and other diseases.

The researchers analyzed popular e-cigarette flavors and the amount of free radicals they produced and found that many of the chemicals used to flavor e-cigarettes increased the production of free radicals, while a few actually lowered it.

John Richie, professor of public health sciences and pharmacology, Penn State College of Medicine, said the results are an important step in learning more about the potential dangers of e-cigarettes.

“When these products first came on the market, many people were saying they were harmless and that it was just water vapor,” Richie said. “We know that’s not true, but we also don’t have the numbers on how dangerous e-cigarettes are. But now we know that e-cigarettes do produce free radicals, and the amount is affected by the flavorants added.”

Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause damage to healthy cells, and have been linked to conditions like inflammation, heart disease and cancer. Consumers inhale these free radicals when they smoke a combustible cigarette.

While e-cigarettes do not give off smoke, they do contain many different chemicals to flavor the e-liquids, which are absent from traditional, or “combustible,” cigarettes. The researchers said that while the flavorings are approved for consumption, they aren’t evaluated for safety when heated.

“E-cigarettes have a coil for heating the liquid that gets quite hot and may aid the production of free radicals,” Richie said. “It’s important to look at the effect of flavors on these free radical levels because e-cigarettes come in hundreds of flavors, many of which are marketed toward kids,

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