Millions of Americans are vaping, and some are getting sick.
Since June 2019, 2,711 have been hospitalized and 60 have died due to EVALI (e-cigarette-associated lung injury), the devastating lung disease linked to e-cigarettes. Five million users are middle and high school students. Some are as young as 11, although it’s illegal to sell vaping products to anyone under 21.
Especially for kids, much of the lure is flavor. E-cigarettes offer attractive smells and tastes. Fruit, mint, candy and dessert flavors are the favorites, and studies suggest they ignite the desire to vape. That’s why the Trump administration just banned the sale of those sweet flavors from cartridge-based e-cigs, the delivery method most popular with teens.
One of us (Weihong) is a chemosensory neurobiologist, and the other (Rakaia) is a research assistant in my lab. Put simply, we study how the sensory systems and brain react to chemical stimulation. With e-cigarettes, we are focusing on how the enticing flavors ensnare our children.
But our studies have shown that the effect of flavor goes beyond the pleasure they may bring – the flavorings themselves may actually harm tissue.
Weihong Lin, Rakaia Kenney – The Conversation – January 29, 2020.