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Toxins produced by e-cigarettes vary by flavor

A study released in late February of this year found that e-cigarette vapors tested positive for lead and arsenic. And a new study may bring clarity to which e-cigarette vapors are most dangerous. Researchers at Penn State University have found that different flavors of vapors “produce different levels of free radicals, toxins often associated with cancer and other diseases.” Their studies showed that while some flavors of e-cigarette vapors increased the amount of free radicals produced, others actually lowered it.

Unstable molecules are commonly referred to as “free radicals”. They have been known to “cause damage to healthy cells, and have been linked to conditions like inflammation, heart disease and cancer.” When someone smokes using a common e-cigarette, they inhale these free radicals. What’s unique about e-cigarette vapor oil is that it’s approved for consumption, but it hasn't been evaluated for "safety when heated”.

The studies conducted by researchers at PSU tested 50 flavors of e-cigarette vapors, and compared them to flavorless vapors. The flavored vapors had 43 percent higher levels of “free radical production”. And when isolating the flavors they were able to identify the ingredients that were consistent with producing free radicals as “linalool, dipentene and citral, which are often used to give products citrus or floral notes.” While an ingredient like ethyl vanillin, used when making vanilla flavors, reduced free radical production by 42 percent.

So what does this all mean? Well, it could mean that there’s clear evidence that flavorless e-cigarette vapors are the “healthier choice” when it comes to vaping. Though, that would be an oversimplification of the studies conducted. What is clear is that more studies need to be conducted, and that being a non-smoker is the safest way to avoid exposing yourself to free radicals and other cancer-causing chemicals.

To learn more about the dangers of free radicals in flavored e-cigarette vapors, click here: