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Why e-cigarette flavors are so dangerous

Flavored e-cigarettes could cause disease by triggering inflammation, according to new research.

Additives that make them taste like fruit, sweets, soft drinks or even desserts change their chemistry – making them potentially more harmful.

It could make teenagers, in particular, more prone to irritation, allergies and asthma as their lungs are still developing, scientists warn.

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The finding adds to increasing evidence that flavors like bubblegum, orange, creme brulee and mango smoothie may trigger serious health problems – including tumors.

Senior author Professor Sven-Eric Jordt said the sweet, fruity flavorings react with vaping liquid, or e-juice.

These create different compounds that increase the risk of irritation and inflammation when inhaled.

Prof Jordt, a cancer biologist at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, explained: ‘These individual ingredients are combining to form more complex chemicals that are not disclosed to the user.

‘When inhaled, these compounds will persist in the body for some time, activating irritant pathways.

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‘Over time, this mild irritation could cause an inflammatory response.’

A study earlier this year found some flavors, particularly citrus and floral based ones, produce free radicals – toxins associated with cancer.

Last month the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) described teen vaping as ‘an epidemic’ and said flavored e-cigs could be banned, before launching a raid on the Juul headquarters – the biggest raid in the agency’s 100-year history.

Now Dr Jordt and colleagues have found when flavorings like vanilla, cherry, citrus and cinnamon mingled with the e-cig solvents polypropylene glycol and glycerol, they turned into acetals.

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Lab experiments showed these chemicals created from mixing flavors into e-liquids fired receptors that cause lung irritation.

These are the same molecules that maintain irritation and inflammation in people with asthma – or those who have inhaled smoke or fumes, reports Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

Now Dr Jordt and colleagues have found when flavorings like vanilla, cherry, citrus and cinnamon mingled with the e-cig solvents polypropylene glycol and glycerol, they turned into acetals.

Lab experiments showed these chemicals created from mixing flavors into e-liquids fired receptors that cause lung irritation.

These are the same molecules that maintain irritation and inflammation in people with asthma – or those who have inhaled smoke or fumes, reports Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

Daily Mail

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