6th October (WNN) — A study published Wednesday by Chemical Research in Toxicology found that e-cigarettes and other vaping devices contain thousands of unknown chemicals and substances that are not disclosed by manufacturers, including industrial ingredients and caffeine.
The data shows that the aerosols produced by these devices contain more than 2,000 chemicals, most of which are unknown.
According to the researchers, six of these were potentially harmful, including three chemicals never before found in e-cigarettes.
Two of the four vaping devices tested contained the stimulant caffeine, even when the flavors were not either coffee or chocolate.
Researchers said the findings suggest that people who vape may be using a product whose risks have not yet been fully determined and may be exposed to chemicals with adverse health effects.
“More and more young people are using these e-cigarettes and they need to know what they are being exposed to,” study co-author Carsten Praess said in a press release.
“E-cigarette aerosols contain other completely untraceable chemicals that may have health risks that we don’t yet know about,” said Prasse, assistant professor of environmental health and engineering at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.
Previous studies of e-cigarettes have specifically looked for evidence of dangerous chemicals found in conventional cigarettes.
Although their chemical composition differs, vaping devices can cause similar health harms, including heart and lung complications, suggests research.
In addition, vaping aerosols containing vitamin E acetate have been linked to serious lung injury.
For this study, however, Prasse and his colleagues did not focus on specific chemicals, but sought to identify all that were present in the aerosols.
Using a chemical fingerprinting technique based on liquid chromatography and high-resolution mass spectrometry, which can identify organic compounds in wastewater, food and blood, the team tested four popular products: Mi-Salt, Vuse, Juul and Blue, the only tobacco-tasting tested product.
There are thousands of unknown chemicals in e-liquids, and even more in vaping aerosols, the researchers said.
These included compounds such as hydrocarbons commonly associated with combustion, which manufacturers claim are not produced during vaping, according to the researchers.
In conventional cigarettes, the condensed hydrocarbons produced during smoking are toxic, he said.
The data showed that in addition to caffeine, the products produced three industrial chemicals, a pesticide and two flavors associated with potentially toxic effects and respiratory irritation.
“People just need to know that when they vape they are breathing a very complex mixture of chemicals,” Prasse said.
“And for a lot of these compounds we don’t know exactly what they are,” he said.