- According to a study, there is evidence of hundreds of unknown compounds in electronic cigarette vaping liquid and aerosols.
- Six potentially hazardous substances were discovered among the chemicals identified by the researchers.
- An Australian study also discovered traces of nicotine in six of the vape liquids examined, despite the fact that they were explicitly labeled as nicotine-free.
Unknown compounds found in vapes and e-cig aerosols
According to a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University researchers, there is evidence of hundreds of unknown compounds in electronic cigarette vaping liquid and aerosols. The study includes a large number of undiscovered substances as well as a few recognized and possibly hazardous ones.
“Existing research compared e-cigarettes with normal cigarettes found that cigarette contaminants are much lower in e-cigarettes,” says Carsten Prasse, the study’s principal author. “The problem is that e-cigarette aerosols contain other completely uncharacterized chemicals that may have health risks that we do not yet know about.” Young people are increasingly smoking e-cigarettes, and they need to know what they’re getting into.”
The study is the first to use liquid chromatography/high-resolution mass spectrometry to undertake a complete non-targeted examination of all possible chemicals contained in vape liquids and aerosols. Four popular tobacco-flavored vape liquids were examined, as well as the aerosols produced by four popular electronic cigarette devices (one tank, one disposable, and two pods).
Researchers identify six hazardous substances
The investigation revealed nearly 2,000 distinct chemical compounds, the majority of which were previously unknown. Six potentially hazardous substances were discovered among the chemicals identified by the researchers. A couple of flavorings related to respiratory irritation, three industrial chemicals, a pesticide, and, perhaps most unusually, coffee were among them.
According to Mina Tehrani, the study’s primary author, two of the four vape liquids included caffeine. Caffeine is known to be present in flavors such as coffee and chocolate, but only tobacco vape liquids were examined, thus Tehrani was taken aback by this discovery.
“That might be providing smokers an extra kick that isn’t disclosed,” Tehrani says. “We’re wondering if they’re doing it intentionally.”
Another surprising discovery in the study was the presence of condensed hydrocarbon-like molecules in the vape aerosols. These chemicals are normally formed during combustion, however, they were also formed during the vaping process.
E-cigarettes not a ‘healthy’ alternative
Recent Australian research that used gas chromatography/mass spectrometry to evaluate the chemical makeup of 65 vape liquids discovered that every sample tested had at least one potentially hazardous component. Benzaldehyde, an airway irritant, and trans-cinnamaldehyde, an immunosuppressive agent, were among them. The Australian study also discovered traces of nicotine in six of the vape liquids examined, despite the fact that they were explicitly labeled as nicotine-free.
These are not the first studies to discover potentially harmful chemicals in e-cigarette liquids.
However, it is crucial to realize that these investigations are intended to detect any residues of substances. They are not looking into whether the chemicals directly cause harm in the context of vaping, or if they are present in sufficient levels to cause harm in the first place.
Instead, Prasse claims that the study confirms how little we know about the chemicals used in electronic cigarettes. While his study draws no comparison between the harm produced by vaping and the harm caused by smoking cigarettes, Prasse emphasizes that electronic cigarettes should not be considered a “healthy” alternative to traditional smoking.