Q&A: Although Nicotine in E-cigarettes is Not Very Harmful, Is the Essence of E-liquid Toxic?

February 22, 2022 0 By eleaf

Q: Although the Nicotine in E-cigarettes is not Very Harmful, is the essence of E-liquid Toxic?

A: “Fragrance is poisonous” is also an old e-cigarette rumor, compared with nicotine and heavy metals, it is more confusing. Indeed, although the artificial flavors of more than 8,000 known e-liquids have met food grade standards, this means that they are non-toxic when placed in food and the toxicity of inhalation after atomization has not been certified. The claim that vaping produces toxicity has been rampant in recent years. The most common claim is that diacetyl in e-cigarette flavors can cause popcorn lung.

How is the truth?

In 2015, a Harvard University study analyzed e-liquids. The results showed that 75% of the flavored liquids they tested contained a chemical called diacetyl, an artificial flavor with a buttery flavor that was discovered in 2000. It is thought to be the cause of eight workers in popcorn plant suffering from a rare lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans, also known as “popcorn lung”.

“Popcorn lung” is an irreversible obstructive lung disease in which the bronchioles are narrowed and blocked due to inflammation or fibrosis. There are many causes of the disease, such as viral infection, transplant rejection, and exposure to toxic chemicals including chlorine, ammonia, and ozone. The eight workers mentioned above are typical cases affected by the toxic environment, it is precisely because they have been exposed to high concentrations of diacetyl gas for a long time that they suffer from this disease.

In this regard, Professor Konstantinos Farsalinos of the University of Patras in Greece found 159 e-liquid samples of which 74.2% contained diacetyl, or only 56 micrograms per day, well below the National Institute’s safety standards. for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and 100 times lower than exposure to cigarettes.

Interestingly, although diacetyl levels in cigarettes are much higher than in cigarettes electronique, no cases of popcorn lung have been found in smokers.

In addition to the famous “popcorn lung theory”, due to the very complex composition of flavors, many media have also made other claims, such as the cytotoxicity of flavors exceeds that of cigarettes, and substances contained in flavorings can significantly damage the lungs and heart. a function. The e-cigarette report published by Public Health England in 2018 cracked down on these claims one by one.

According to the report, many media claimed that cinnamon flavored e-liquids have strong cytotoxicity and tobacco flavored e-liquids have high levels of nitrosamines, but the toxicant content of these e-liquids is lower by several orders of magnitude than that of cigarettes (orders of magnitude).

The report pointed out that many experiments aimed at proving the cytotoxicity of flavors did not use atomized e-liquids, but directly exposed cells to toxic molecules in the flavors. This type of experiment has no practical significance. , because the proportion of flavors in e-liquid only is 10%-15%, with different concentrations of toxic substances, the cytotoxicity will be very different. Even so, according to the report, it was far less toxic than cigarettes. As the old saying goes, talking about toxicity without a dose is hooliganism.

Although the medical community has not provided definitive evidence of the toxicity of perfumes, out of a cautious attitude of scientific research, the report still points out that due to the complex composition of perfumes, there are still avoidable risks after inhalation. , and further experiments are needed. To know its effects on the human body after inhalation.

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