E-cigarettes expose teens to cancer-causing chemicals

Kristen Gonzales
March 7, 2018

A new study released Monday finds teens who smoke e-cigarettes have the same cancer-causing chemicals in their bodies as teens who smoke traditional cigarettes. Vapors are high in demand, and they are alternatives for traditional smokers so their smoking habits can be reduced. According to Rubinstein, the toxicity of non-nicotine e-cigarettes is caused by the propylene glycol and glycerin used to preserve the flavors.

"So while it sounds very bad, they don't compare it to cigarettes and they're not telling you what the levels in these devices are", owner of Norcal Vape Keri Hess said.

In fact, the American Cancer Society just recently changed its position on e-cigarettes and recommends physicians offer them to patients as a way to quit smoking. 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.

The study looked at 67 e-cigarette smokers, 16 people who smoke e-cigarettes and cigarettes, and 20 non-smokers to come up with their results.

Levels of toxic, cancer-causing chemicals were up to THREE times higher on average in e-cigarette users, compared with non-smokers, a team at the University of California, San Francisco discovered. The chemicals were discovered in products that didn't contain nicotine as well.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information said acrylonitrile is a highly poisonous compound used widely in the manufacture of plastics, adhesives, and synthetic rubber. Additionally, the EPA listed acrolein as "toxic to humans following inhalation, oral or dermal exposure".

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In 2016, more than two million U.S. middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, including 4.3 percent of middle school students and 11.3 percent of high school students, compared with 3.2 percent of USA adults.

The study found that young people using e-cigarettes who had smoked at least one cigarette would likely become an establish smoker-one who smokes more than 100 cigarettes-within one year.

The compounds examined in the study include acrylonitrile, acrolein, propylene oxide, acrylamide and crotonaldehyde, all of which have been associated with increased cancer-risk in previous studies. Despite massive gains in cutting cigarette use among young adults over the past few decades, e-cigarette use was the most common tobacco product among USA middle- and high-schoolers between 2014 and 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Electronic cigarettes generate nicotine in the vapor".

That risk level was the same for those using both e-cigs and tobacco. In 2016, the CDC reported that 11 percent of US high schoolers had vaped in the past 30 days.

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