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Just ONE puff of flavoured e-cigarette vapour ‘contains dangerous levels of cancer-causing chemicals’

Flavoured liquids used in the devices exposes smokers to “unacceptably high” levels of aldehydes, produced when a compound decomposes

JUST one drag of a flavoured e-cigarette exposes a smoker to “unacceptably high” levels of cancer-causing chemicals, experts warned today.

They found aerosols – commonly called vapours – produced by the devices contain the dangerous substances.

These toxic aldehydes, including formaldehyde, are produced during the chemical breakdown of the flavoured e-liquid during the rapid heating process that happens inside e-cigs.

Dr Andrey Khylstov, of the Desert Research Institute, Las Vegas, said: “One puff of any of the flavoured e-liquids that we tested exposes the smoker to unacceptably dangerous levels of these aldehydes, most of which originates from thermal decomposition of the flavouring compounds.”

His team found the production of toxic aldehydes “is exponentially dependent on the concentration of flavouring compounds”.

E-cigarette liquids are marketed in nearly 8,000 different flavours, according to a 2014 report by the World Health Organisation.

Recent reports show many of these flavours, such as Gummy Bear, Tutti Fruity, and Bubble Gum, to name a few, are especially appealing to teens and kids – encouraging them to use the devices.

Around 2.8million adults use the devices in the UK and a 2014 study revealed more kids aged 11 to 15 experimented with e-cigs than traditional cigarettes.

In the US, 16 per cent of high school students regularly vape – making them the most commonly used tobacco product in teenagers.

To examine the dangers, Dr Khylstov and his team measured the levels of aldehydes in vapour produced by three common e-cigs.

To determine if flavourings were to blame for producing the cancer-causing chemicals, the researchers tested five flavoured liquids, as well as two control unflavoured liquids.

Researcher Dr Vera Samburov explained: “To determine the specific role of the flavouring compounds we fixed all important parameters that could affect aldehyde production and varied only the type and concentration of flavours.”

She said the devices used in the experiments were three of the most common types of e-cig.

Using a controlled system, the researchers were able to ensure the same level of “puff” each time, simulating common vaping conditions.

All tests revealed the level of cancer-causing chemicals produced by flavoured e-liquids exceeded limits set by American authorities, designed to protect against hazardous chemical exposure.

Dr Khylstov added: “These results demonstrate the need for further, thorough investigations of the effects of flavouring additives on the formation of aldehydes and other toxic compounds in e-cigarette vapours.”

The findings are published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

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