The latest report on teen smoking shows 20 percent of high school students have used at least one tobacco product recently - mostly e-cigarettes. Despite massive gains in cutting cigarette use among young adults over the past few decades, e-cigarette use was the most common tobacco product among US middle- and high-schoolers between 2014 and 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those who only vape had higher levels of certain chemicals in their body than traditional smokers and nonsmokers, tied to the "flavoring" used in many vape products.
"Teenagers need to be warned that the vapor produced by e-cigarettes is not harmless water vapor, but actually contains some of the same toxic chemicals found in smoke from traditional cigarettes", said lead author Mark L. Rubinstein, MD, a professor of pediatrics at UCSF.
'Teenagers should be inhaling air, not products with toxins in them'.
The study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco published their findings in the Pediatrics Medical Journal, identifying five chemicals that can cause cancer within the smoking devices. In 2016, the CDC reported that 11 percent of US high schoolers had vaped in the past 30 days.
It was the first known study to report on the presence of potentially cancer-causing compounds in the bodies of adolescents who use e-cigarettes. But on top of that, there hasn't been a ton of research done on how damaging they can be to kids with or without nicotine - until now.
"Although e-cigarette vapor may be less hazardous than tobacco smoke, our findings can be used to challenge the idea that e-cigarette vapor is safe, because numerous volatile organic compounds we identified are carcinogenic", the study read.
The researchers found that, compared with e-cigarette-only users, dual users had significantly higher urine excretion of metabolites of benzene, ethylene oxide, acrylonitrile, acrolein, and acrylamide (all P 0.05).
E-cigarettes contain additives and solvents, which can form carcinogenic compounds when heated, according to the study.
This is significant because 55 percent of e-cigarette users - and 67 percent of those who smoked and used e-cigs - preferred fruit flavors.
"The FDA's ban on truthful, non-misleading statements about the relative health risks of e-cigarettes and the substances contained in e-cigarette vapor will inevitably keep millions of smokers from hearing facts that could persuade them to switch to e-cigarettes-a decision that could ultimately save their their lives". The rising number of young Americans smoking e-cigarettes are at great risk for exposing themselves to these cancerous contaminants despite the products being marketed as healthier.
Dr Rubinstein said: 'I do not think teens are aware of the risks.