Vaping delivers potentially cancerous chemicals found in tobacco cigarettes to teens, even if a e-cigarette has no nicotine, said a new study released on Monday by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.
The study, published the latest edition of the medical journal Pediatrics, found that levels of toxic organic compounds in tested teens were up to three times higher on average in the e-cigarette users compared with a non-smoking, non-vaping control group, UCSF said.
In teenagers who used both e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes, levels of toxic compounds were up to three times higher than in e-cigarette users only.
“Teenagers need to be warned that the vapor produced by e-cigarettes is not harmless water vapor, but actually contains some of the same toxic chemicals found in smoke from traditional cigarettes,” said Mark Rubinstein, a professor of pediatrics at UCSF. “Teenagers should be inhaling air, not products with toxins in them.”
The study said in its conclusion that messaging to teenagers about e-cigarettes should include warnings about the potential risk from toxic exposure to carcinogenic compounds generated by the products.
The study consisted of saliva and urine tests from 67 e-cigarette-only San Francisco-area users, 16 users of both cigarettes and e-cigarettes, and 20 age-matched controls who had not used e-cigarettes or nicotine, the American Academy of Pediatrics said.
UCSF reported that the study was the first to report on the presence of potentially cancer-causing compounds in the bodies of adolescents who use e-cigarettes, such as acrylonitrile, acrolein, propylene oxide, acrylamide and crotonaldehyde.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information said acrylonitrile is a highly poisonous compound used widely in the manufacture of plastics, adhesives, and synthetic rubber.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry listed acrolein as a “volatile organic compound” that is used as a pesticide to control algae, weeds, bacteria, and mollusks, along with making other chemicals.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that while the potential for propylene oxide to produce cancer in humans has not been determined, it has been classified “potential occupational carcinogen” by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The National Cancer Institute said studies in rodent models have found that acrylamide exposure increases the risk for several types of cancer.
According to the State of New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, crotonaldehyde is a colorless to straw-colored liquid with a strong odor used in making other chemicals and as a warning agent in gas fuels.
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