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Flavoring, Higher Voltage Make E-Cigarettes More Toxic

The toxicity of e-cigarettes increase when the fillers are added with different types of flavors as well as with the increase in the device's battery output voltage, reports a recent study.

Researchers from Roswell Park Cancer Institute discovered that high toxicity was more associated with strawberry flavored fillers than flavors like menthol, coffee, tobacco and pina colada. They also noted that the toxicity increased when the device's battery output voltage was higher.

Maciej Goniewicz, Assistant Professor of Oncology in the Department of Health Behavior at Roswell Park, said that though the flavors used in the fillers are certified to be edible, the health effect of these products when heated and inhaled are relatively unknown. The study findings suggest that flavoring may increase inhalation toxicity and therefore e-cigarette users might have to be cautious while using them until further studies are done to clarify the issue.

For the purpose of the study, the investigators exposed the bronchial epithelial cells to aerosols from e-cigarettes of variable voltages. About six types of e-cigarette devices — with flavors including coffee, tobacco, strawberry, methanol and pina colada — at variable-battery output voltages were analyzed in the study. The metabolic activity, release of inflammatory mediators and cell viability as a result of exposure to different flavors and power were analyzed in detail.

It was observed that exposure to electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) aerosol increased the release of interleukin (IL)-1β, CXCL2, IL-6, CXCL1, IL-10, and CXCL10 but decreased cell viability and metabolic activity when compared to air controls. It was also found that the cell viability and metabolic activity were greatly affected by conventional cigarettes than e-cigarettes.

Goniewicz noted on the study findings that cellular toxicity caused to the bronchial cells differed significantly with different e-cigarette products. The researcher also emphasized the importance of regulating the power output of the devices as well as addition of flavors.

"These findings have important regulatory implications, because the features of e-cigarette products - such as the power of the device and the presence of flavorings - can be regulated and standardized," said Goniewicz, in Roswell Park press release. "Additionally, users may want to reduce their potential harm by choosing products with lower toxicity profile and operating their devices at lower power settings."

Meanwhile previous studies have shown that use of e-cigarettes have helped as many as 18,000 people in the U.K. quit smoking, reported Tech Times. It appears sensible for smokers to choose e-cigarettes that operate with low power and lower toxicity profile on their effort in quitting smoking habit.

The study was published online in journal Tobacco Control on Sept. 15.

Photo: Ecig Click| Flickr

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