Flavored E-Cigarettes may Contain Serious Respiratory Irritant

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Highest levels in cherry-flavored e-cigarettes; levels >1,000-fold lower than those in workplace
Highest levels in cherry-flavored e-cigarettes; levels >1,000-fold lower than those in workplace

HealthDay News — Most flavored electronic cigarettes contain benzaldehyde, which has been shown to cause irritation of the respiratory airways in animal and occupational exposure studies, according to a research letter published online January 28 in Thorax.

Leon Kosmider, from the Institute of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health in Sosnowiec, Poland, and colleagues measured benzaldehyde in aerosol generated in a laboratory setting from flavored e-cigarettes.

The researchers detected benzaldehyde in 108 out of 145 products, with the highest levels detected in cherry-flavored products. The benzaldehyde dose inhaled with 30 puffs was frequently higher from flavored versus conventional cigarettes. The estimated median daily inhaled dose of benzaldehyde from cherry-flavored e-cigarettes was 70.3µg, which was more than 1,000 times lower than doses inhaled in the workplace.

"While e-cigarettes seem to be a promising harm reduction tool for smokers, findings indicate that using these products could result in repeated inhalation of benzaldehyde, with long-term users risking regular exposure to the substance," the authors write. "Given the uncertainty surrounding adverse health effects stemming from long-term inhalation of flavoring ingredients such as benzaldehyde, clinicians need to be aware of this emerging risk and ask their patients about use of flavored e-cigarettes."

Two authors disclosed financial ties to companies that manufacture electronic cigarettes.

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