HealthDay News — Most flavored electronic cigarettes contain benzaldehyde, which has been shown to cause irritation of the respiratory airways in animal and occupational exposure studies, according to a research letter published online January 28 in Thorax.
Leon Kosmider, from the Institute of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health in Sosnowiec, Poland, and colleagues measured benzaldehyde in aerosol generated in a laboratory setting from flavored e-cigarettes.
The researchers detected benzaldehyde in 108 out of 145 products, with the highest levels detected in cherry-flavored products. The benzaldehyde dose inhaled with 30 puffs was frequently higher from flavored versus conventional cigarettes. The estimated median daily inhaled dose of benzaldehyde from cherry-flavored e-cigarettes was 70.3 µg, which was more than 1,000 times lower than doses inhaled in the workplace.
“While e-cigarettes seem to be a promising harm reduction tool for smokers, findings indicate that using these products could result in repeated inhalation of benzaldehyde, with long-term users risking regular exposure to the substance,” the authors write. “Given the uncertainty surrounding adverse health effects stemming from long-term inhalation of flavoring ingredients such as benzaldehyde, clinicians need to be aware of this emerging risk and ask their patients about use of flavored e-cigarettes.”
Two authors disclosed financial ties to companies that manufacture electronic cigarettes.
Kosmider L, Sobczak A, Prokopowicz A, et al. Cherry-flavoured electronic cigarettes expose users to the inhalation irritant, benzaldehyde. Thorax. 2016; doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2015-207895