Published: Tue, March 06, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

Vaping Delivers Cancerous Chemicals, New Study of Teens Shows

Vaping Delivers Cancerous Chemicals, New Study of Teens Shows

Tests on teenagers show that those who smoke tobacco-based cigarettes have the highest levels of these chemicals in their bodies, but those who vape e-cigarettes also have higher levels of the cancer-causing chemicals than nonsmokers, the team at the University of California, San Francisco found.

UCSF reported that the study was the first to report on the presence of potentially cancer-causing compounds in the bodies of adolescents who use e-cigarettes, such as acrylonitrile, acrolein, propylene oxide, acrylamide and crotonaldehyde. Sixty-seven used e-cigarettes only and 17 used both e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco cigarettes.

The group that used e-cigarettes was found to have levels of toxic organic compounds that were three times higher than the control group. Both forms of cigarette use caused the presence of much higher levels of unsafe chemicals in the users' bodies, including acrylonitrile, acrolein, propylene oxide, acrylamide and crotonaldehyde, the team reported.

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The researchers have noticed that the teenagers who were both smokers and vapers, at the same time, presented amounts of toxins in their urine samples by 300% higher than those who only use e-cigs. "Based on these results, if the teenagers kept using these products over the years, we believe it could be unsafe".

Test analysing the teens' pee and spit samples revealed traces of several chemicals linked to cancer, including acrylamide - found in chips and burned toast previous year. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

If your teen has an e-cigarette, then they're being exposed to cancer-causing chemicals even if they're not the kind with nicotine in them.

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"E-cigarettes are marketed to adults who are trying to reduce or quit smoking as a safer alternative to cigarettes", said Rubinstein. Those chemicals, as well, are associated with a higher cancer risk.

Rubinstein says, "While they may be beneficial to adults as a form of harm reduction, kids should not be using them at all". And those who used only e-cigarettes had much higher levels than those who used neither product. Acrylonitrile is a potentially carcinogenic chemical found in plastics, synthetic rubber and adhesive manufacturing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that while the potential for propylene oxide to produce cancer in humans has not been determined, it has been classified "potential occupational carcinogen" by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

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When asked whether they used liquid with nicotine, 31 percent of participants said "always", 39 percent said "sometimes", 15 percent said "unsure" and 15 percent said "never".

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