Johns Hopkins University has some good news and some bad news for people who have taken up vaping. The good news is that the amount of regular cigarette contaminants is much lower in e-cigarettes. The bad news is that the aerosols in vaping contain thousands of undisclosed substances, ranging from caffeine to industrial chemicals, that could be harmful.
"More and more young people are using these e-cigarettes and they need to know what they're being exposed to," said Carsten Prasse, senior author of the study. Using an advanced technique, the research team found nearly 2,000 chemicals in the e-cigarettes, including a pesticide and three industrial chemicals, as well as caffeine, which had never been found in the products before.
Prasse said he was particularly bothered by the marketing of e-cigarettes as safer than regular cigarettes. "People just need to know that they're inhaling a very complex mixture of chemicals when they vape," he said. "And for a lot of these compounds we have no idea what they actually are."
A view of vaping:
- Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik invented and patented the e-cigarette in 2003; it was on the market a year later.
- A study by the Centers for Disease Control found that 99 percent of e-cigarettes in the United States contain nicotine.
- In the United States, about half of all calls to poison control centers regarding e-cigarettes involve children who are five years old and younger.