Does Flavoring in E-Cigarettes Contribute to Lung Disease?
the MPR take:
A viewpoint in the Journal of the American Medical Association warns that flavorings used in electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), vape pens, e-hookah, e-cigars, e-pipes, or other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) may pose significant safety risks but there is no regulatory program in place to assess these hazards. Jessica L. Barrington-Trimis, PhD, from the University of Southern California, and colleagues state that the long-term safety of ENDS is unknown and that little attention has been paid to the potentially toxic effects from inhaled flavorings. One of the issues with research on toxicity is that at least 7,764 unique flavors were on the market as of January 2014; to evaluate all existing flavors and user-created combinations would take a great deal of time and resources. The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association reviews chemicals used in food flavorings for safety, and many of these are also used in ENDS. However, the safety of these chemicals for inhalation is not evaluated and can only be “generally recognized as safe” for use in ingested foods. Finally, there is no jurisdiction to regulate the consumption of e-liquids and no regulatory programs to review the potential hazards of flavorings in ENDS. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed changes that would extend the agency’s authority to regulate a wider range of tobacco products, including ENDS, but additional research on the safety of these products is necessary regardless.
Use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), vape pens, e-hookah, e-cigars, e-pipes, or other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) has increased rapidly since their introduction in the United States in 2007, growing to a $2 billion market.