E-cigarettes are often touted as safer than traditional tobacco products, but according to a study released by the Harvard School of Public Health, they may still be extremely harmful to smokers’ health.
It looks as if they may not pose the traditional cigarette threat, but they pose a different one altogether. Diacetyl is a flavoring chemical used in E-cigarets which are linked to cases of a severe respiratory disease, most notably the incurable condition called “Popcorn Lung.” This condition was first noticed in workers in microwave popcorn processing facilities who inhaled the artificial butter flavoring. The disease is totally debilitating and irreversible. It’s a respiratory disease which causes scarring in tiny air sacs in the lungs. This leads to shortness of breath and excessive coughing.
They took 51 different flavored e-cigarettes and analyzed them. The author, Joseph Allen, along with his team, discovered that at least 1 of 3 top toxins were found in 47 of the e-cigarets. These toxins are diacetyl, acetoin, 2,3-pentanedione.They also discovered the following:
“The amount of diacetyl in 39 of the e-cigarettes exceeded the amount that was able to be detected by the laboratory. Diacetyl and other related flavoring chemicals are used in many other flavors beyond butter-flavored popcorn, including fruit flavors, alcohol flavors, and candy-flavored e-cigarettes.”
Allan also noted how scary these findings are as the flavor names of these e-cigarettes include cotton candy, cupcake, and other flavors which would clearly be attractive to young people.
But that’s not all. Due to the fact that e-cigarettes are so new, it wouldn’t be a stretch to figure that even more risks will pop up in the near future. David Christiani, Elkan Blout Professor of Environmental Genetics, was the co-author of the study and said the following:
“Since most of the health concerns about e-cigarettes have focused on nicotine, there is still much we do not know about e-cigarettes. In addition to containing varying levels of the addictive substance nicotine, they also contain other cancer-causing chemicals, such as formaldehyde, and as our study shows, flavoring chemicals that can cause lung damage.”
It looks like the fruity-flavored “safe” alternative to traditional smoking, may not be all that after all, and it probably is best to cease any e-cigarettes habits until further research is done on this emerging smoking trend.