These Nicotine-Free E-Liquids Can Damage Your Lungs

These Nicotine-Free E-Liquids Can Damage Your Lungs

A new study reveals that even nicotine-free e-liquids are not safe to inhale, especially these popular flavors.

The jury is still out on the safety of e-cigarettes in general, but most people thought that, at the very least, the e-liquids that are nicotine-free would be safer to use. Unfortunately, according to a team of US scientists, vaping flavorings like vanilla, butter, and cinnamon can harm your lungs, even with no nicotine present.

A team of researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center tested how monocytes, a type of white blood cells responsible for fighting bacteria and viruses, behaved when exposed to chemicals used to make flavored e-cigarette liquids. They found that exposure leads to inflammation and tissue damage to the cells, and the results were even worse when flavored e-liquids were mixed. The scientists tested many commonly used flavors and found that the most toxic ones are vanilla, butter, and cinnamon- which is not to say that other aromas are much safer.

This type of cell damage has been linked to fibrosis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, heart diseases, and even cancer. Even though there isn’t any “live vaping” data to back these findings up, seeing the results of these lab tests is more than enough to make a person question the safety of vaping, even when it’s nicotine-free.

To make things worse, the group at most risk are teenagers, who find sweetened e-juices with tantalizing flavors such as “cinnamon buns,” “butter caramels,” “vanilla ice cream,” or “custard cake” particularly interesting.

The paper published in the Frontiers of Physiology only adds to growing concerns about the safety of e-cigarettes. Although primarily marketed as the safest alternative to cigarettes, these battery-powered devices might not be as harmless as they claim to be, even in cases where there is no potential for physical addiction.

Photo credit: Hazem.m.kamal/Shutterstock

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