HomeLifestyleHealth & FitnessNearly All E-Cigs, Vape Flavors in the US Tied to Organ Toxicity

Nearly All E-Cigs, Vape Flavors in the US Tied to Organ Toxicity

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The “cooling” effect in Mint and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes comes with many side effects.

Many studies show that e-cigarettes may help people stop smoking regular cigarettes, which would be good for their health in the long run. Young people who have never smoked regular cigarettes are also taking up e-cigarettes, which come in over 1,500 flavors such as bubble gum and candy floss.

In a survey of 12 to 17-year-olds in the United States, 81 percent of e-cigarette users said their first product was flavored, and that they are using e-cigarettes since “they come in flavors”.

Over 3.6 million children in the United States use e-cigarettes, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with a 78 percent increase (from 11.7 percent to 20.8 percent) in high school students reporting e-cigarette usage from 2017 to 2018.

In the United Kingdom, 1.6 percent of people aged 11 to 18 use e-cigarettes at least once a week, up from 0.5 percent in 2015.

Because nicotine is very addictive, there’s a chance that adolescent e-cigarette users will transition to regular cigarettes. E-cigarettes are referred to as a “gateway drug” by certain healthcare practitioners.

What’s more alarming is that, according to research presented at the ATS 2022 international conference, E-cigarette manufacturers are adding potentially harmful doses of the synthetic cooling agents WS-3 and WS-23 to disposable e-cigarettes and e-cigarette refills sold in the United States.

Due of their “cooling” effect, menthol and mint flavored e-cigarettes are very popular. Synthetic cooling agents have recently been marketed as e-cigarette additives with a cooling effect but no “minty” odor. Yet, very little is known about the content of synthetic coolants in e-cigarettes sold in the United States, as well as their health implications.

Dr. Jordt and colleagues began their research by scanning e-liquid seller websites for phrases like “kool/cool” and “ice.” They wanted to know if the businesses sold the cooling agents W-3 and WS-23. Puffbar—currently the most popular e-cigarette brand—was intended as a disposable e-cigarette to avoid the Food and Drug Administration’s regulation of “pod” devices like Juul, which use exchangeable cartridges. They concentrated much of their research on “ice” and “non-ice” variations of Puffbar.

The researchers used gas chromatography/mass spectrometry to identify distinct compounds within the e-liquids and synthetic coolants. The margin of exposure (MOE) was then computed to evaluate the danger of synthetic coolant exposure from e-cigarette use. An MOE of 100 indicates that the user’s exposure is 100 times lower than that which has been shown to cause harmful effects in animal organs. MOE below 100 implies higher danger, according to scientists examining potentially toxic compounds.

“Below 100, regulators such as the FDA or World Health Organization should review the safety of the product,” according to Dr. Jordt.

The scientists found WS-3 in 24 of the 25 refill e-liquids they tested. In both “ice” and “non-ice” flavors, nearly all (13 out of 14) disposable Puffbar flavor kinds included WS-23, with 5 of 14 also possessing WS-3.

Modeling vaped e-liquid consumption found MOEs below the safe margin (<100) for most levels of daily vaping, which is alarming. In all use scenarios, MOEs for WS-23 from 11 of 13 Puffbar products were less than 100.

Synthetic cooling agents were discovered in fruit and candy-flavored items, including Puffbar and other disposable e-cigarettes, as well as mint and menthol-flavored items. Puffbar sells varieties including mango, vanilla, berry, and a variety of other sweet flavors that are popular among teenagers.

“Our measurements and calculations demonstrate that e-cigarette users inhale WS-3 and WS-23 at levels higher than those considered safe by WHO, with the potential to cause organ toxicity,” adds Dr. Jordt.

“Regulators such as FDA should consider reviewing product safety of Puffbar vaping devices and the e-cigarette refill liquids we tested.”

“WS-3 and WS-23 are regulated by the FDA as food additives, but not for inhalation,” despite their presence in the most popular e-cigarette devices. By adding these compounds, e-cigarette producers are “flying blind.”

Image Credit: Getty

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