Vaping aerosols contain thousands of unknown chemicals and substances not disclosed by manufacturers, including industrial chemicals and caffeine, Johns Hopkins University researchers found.
The study is the first to apply to vaping liquids and aerosols an advanced fingerprinting technique used to identify chemicals in food and wastewater.
The results, just published in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology, suggest people who vape are using a product whose risks have yet to be fully determined and could be exposing themselves to chemicals with adverse health effects.
Existing research that compared e-cigarettes with normal cigarettes found that cigarette contaminants are much lower in e-cigarettes. The problem is that e-cigarette aerosols contain other completely uncharacterized chemicals that might have health risks that we don’t yet know about. More and more young people are using these e-cigarettes and they need to know what they’re being exposed to.”
Carsten Prasse, senior author, assistant professor of environmental health and engineering at Johns Hopkins
Previous studies of e-cigarettes have looked specifically for evidence of the hazardous chemicals found in traditional cigarettes. But here the researchers performed a non-targeted analysis to explore the full range of chemicals both in the vaping liquid and the aerosols.
Using a chemical fingerprinting technique based on liquid chromatography/high-resolution mass spectrometry, never used on vape samples but used before to identify organic compounds in wastewater, food and blood, the team tested four popular products: Mi-Salt, Vuse, Juul and Blu. Although it’s possible to buy vaping products in hundreds of flavors, here for consistency they tested only tobacco flavored liquid.
Tehrani, M.W., et al. – News Medical Life Sciences – 2021-10-06.