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Smokers Beware: Cancer-Causing Chemicals Found in Flavored E-Cigarettes

Nov 11, 2016 04:30 AM EST
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A group of scientists at the Desert Research Institute (DRI) with more than 30 years of rich experience in air quality research in the most polluted environments on Earth has now shifted their focus to the thriving e-cigarette industry and the unidentified detrimental effects on human health. A new research published in the popular journal Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T) states that the aerosols or cigarette vapors contain high levels of unhealthy chemicals that can lead to cancer in humans. Titled "Flavoring compounds dominate toxic aldehyde production during e-cigarette vaping," the study validates that toxic aldehydes are formed when the flavored e-liquid in these cigarettes break down. This is caused by the speed heating process, also known as pyrolysis, that takes place inside these cigarettes.

According to Andrey Khylstov, associate research professor at DRI, the technique by which the compounds in the liquids impact the chemical composition is unknown. However, the results have proved that the generation of toxic aldehydes depends on the concentration of flavoring compounds.  To find out the role played by these flavoring compounds, the team fixed some of the fundamental parameters that could possibly affect the production of aldehyde and changed just the concentration and type of flavors. They then measured the concentrations of twelve different aldehydes in aerosols generated by three different types of e-cigarette devices. It was found that the quantity of aldehydes so produced by the flavored liquids was way higher than the Threshold Limit Values (TLV) for poisonous chemical exposure as laid down by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.

A single puff of these flavored liquids exposes the smoker to dangerous levels of aldehydes, with a majority of them produced by thermal decomposition of the compounds present, said the team. The research, which was funded independently by the DRI, was conducted in their Organic Analytical Laboratory based in Nevada.

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