Study: Artificial flavoring in e-cigarettes linked to lung disease

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There’s new information about e-cigarettes and the chemicals that go into them.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that more than 75% of the 51 flavored electronic cigarettes and refill liquids studied contain a flavoring chemical called diacetyl, which has been linked to bronchiolitis obliterans.

The severe lung disease is commonly known as “popcorn lung” because it first appeared in workers who inhaled artificial butter flavor in microwave popcorn processing facilities.

The study also found two other potentially harmful compounds, Acetoin and 2,3-pentanedione, in many of the tested flavors.

There are currently over 7,000 varieties of flavored e-cigarettes and e-juices on the market. While e-cigarette use is increasing, there is a lack of data on their potential health effects with many studies investigating nicotine.

“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,” said study co-author David Christiani, Elkan Blout Professor of Environmental Genetics.

E-cigarettes are not currently regulated. But in April 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a proposed rule to include e-cigarettes under its authority to regulate certain tobacco and nicotine-containing products.

In their conclusions, the researchers recommended urgent action to “further evaluate this potentially widespread exposure via flavored e-cigarettes.”Flavoring Chemicals in E-Cigarettes: Diacetyl, 2,3-Pentanedione, and Acetoin in a Sample of 51 Products, Including Fruit-, Candy-, and Cocktail-Flavored E-Cigarettes

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