Flavored E-Cigarettes May Make Asthma Worse

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FRIDAY, Sept. 20, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Black licorice, banana pudding and other flavored electronic cigarette liquids may make respiratory diseases like asthma worse, a new international study finds.

Vaping has surged in recent years, especially among young people. An estimated 9% of 18- to 24-year-olds use e-cigarettes in the United States.

The new study comes just after the Trump administration announced that it had plans to implement a nationwide ban on flavored vape products, because of their attractiveness to kids. And earlier this month New York state became the first in the nation to ban flavored e-cigarettes.

Although e-cigarettes have often been touted as a healthy alternative to tobacco, little is known about how their vapor affects lung function, the authors of the new study said.

The study showed, however, that some flavored e-cigarettes -- even those without nicotine -- may change how lungs affected by allergic diseases work.

"This is especially important for those with respiratory disease," said study author David Chapman. He's a fellow in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney in Australia.

Most vapers use flavored liquids, "but there is some evidence that flavor additives can be toxic when inhaled," Chapman said in a university news release.

Not all flavorings affect the airways, however, the researchers said.

For example, in their study, the investigators found that a black licorice flavor caused airway inflammation, while a flavor called "Cinnacide" suppressed it.

Cinnacide also made airways more sensitive, and the flavor "Banana Pudding" caused tissue scarring, the findings showed.

In addition, e-cigarette liquids that contain nicotine suppressed airway inflammation, the study authors said.

While the researchers did not analyze the liquids, they noted that previous studies have found that flavors like "buttery/creamy" and "cinnamon" are toxic. They said these likely include Banana Pudding and Cinnacide.

Chapman's team advised people with respiratory disease, including asthma, to be cautious about vaping flavored e-cigarettes. They said policymakers should consider restricting their use.

The team included researchers from the University of Vermont. The report was published online Sept. 20 in the journal Scientific Reports.

On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the number of confirmed or suspected severe lung illnesses linked to e-cigarette use has risen to 530 cases across 38 states and the Virgin Islands.

There have also been eight confirmed deaths in the United States, in California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Oregon, the CDC said.

More information

For more on vaping, head to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCE: University of Technology Sydney, news release, Sept. 20, 2019

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