Scientists have known for a long time that nicotine causes addiction. Nicotine
affects the brain, and youth
can become hooked on nicotine much faster than adults.
Researchers also found vape users have similar or higher levels of nicotine in their
blood than cigarette smokers.
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Vape flavors are often the same as food and candy flavors, but are
they safe to inhale?
There are thousands of vape flavors from cotton candy to popcorn. According to
Surgeon General, the "nation’s doctor," many vape flavors are safe to
eat in food, but the flavorings have not been tested enough to know if they're safe
to heat up and inhale.
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Chemicals in some e-juice can cause damage and swelling in the lungs.
Diacetyl is found
in many flavored e-liquids like caramel, pina colada, and
strawberry. Diacetyl is also used to give food a buttery taste or to make
sweet flavors. It's also blamed for a lung-damaging disease called popcorn
lung. The name comes from factory workers who got sick after inhaling a lot of
diacetyl while making microwave popcorn.
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Cancer-causing benzene can be found in some e-cigarette vapors.
A chemistry professor measured
benzene levels from e-cigarettes. One device, operated at high levels,
had benzene levels thousands of times higher than the surrounding air. Benzene, a
component of gasoline, has been linked to leukemia and
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Vape liquids may contain toxic metals like lead and chromium.
In 2018, a group of scientists published
a report after testing 56 e-cigarette devices. They found e-cigarettes
possibly expose users to toxic metals including lead and chromium. The scientists
believe the heating coils inside the devices are to blame. Toxic metals from the
coils transfer into the e-juice, which is inhaled by the user. The scientists say
more study is needed to learn the full health effects. Other research links chromium
to cancer and lead to heart
disease and cancer.
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Vapes can contain harmful chemicals like toluene.
Scientists tested vapors from 12 models of e-cigarettes looking for the same toxins
found in tobacco smoke. The vapors from most models tested included
toluene. Toluene is a volatile organic compound found in paint thinner and
some types of glue. Toluene can cause kidney
and liver damage.
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Vaping may be less toxic than smoking cigarettes, but we still don't
know all the facts.
A study for the National Institutes of Health looked at toxic chemicals in vape
devices and cigarettes. The scientists found, in most cases, toxic
chemicals in cigarette smoke were 9 to 450 times higher than
levels than vapor from e-cigarettes. So vaping is considered less harmful than
smoking, but still not safe. And there's still a lot we don't know about vaping
because it's so new. No one has completed a long-term test of the health effects.