SOURCE: Tobacco Control, news release, April 15, 2015
WEDNESDAY, April 15, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A new study raises concerns about the levels of chemicals used to flavor some brands of fluids used in electronic cigarettes.
Flavorings used in e-cigarette fluids are mostly the same as those used in food and candy products, the study authors said.
However, the safety of these flavorings relates to exposure through eating, not inhalation, the U.S. Flavor Extracts Manufacturers Association has previously noted, according to the researchers. Another concern is that the chemicals used for flavoring are rarely included on e-cigarette fluid labels, the study authors pointed out.
Researchers tested the types and levels of flavoring chemicals used in 30 e-cigarette fluids. Some of the flavors tested included cherry, grape, cotton candy and bubble gum. The current study didn't specifically look at whether or not these chemicals were safe, only what types of chemicals were present and how much was present.
The investigators found that levels of chemicals in some brands exceeded recommended exposure limits. Some of these chemicals may be respiratory irritants, the researchers said.
The findings were published online April 15 in the journal Tobacco Control.
While the study included only a small number of products, the results are "likely to be similar to what a broad survey would have revealed, and in any case strongly suggest that very high levels of some flavor chemicals are undoubtedly present in a great number of the thousands of products currently available," James Pankow, a professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering at Portland State University in Portland, Ore., and colleagues wrote.
The researchers called for new regulations on e-cigarettes. They would like to see mandatory listing of ingredients and limits on the levels of certain flavorings. The study authors would also recommend limits on the total levels of flavoring, particularly since it is believed that flavored fluids may make e-cigarettes more attractive to young people.
The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about electronic cigarettes.