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Study: Cherry-flavored e-cigarettes most harmful to users

A new study has revealed that a chemical called benzaldehyde, used in flavored e-cigarettes can irritate user’s lungs. Though the chemical is considered safe, it can be harmful in the long-term, when inhaled.

Benzaldehyde is commonly used in food, medicine and cosmetic products. The highest concentration of the chemical was found in cherry-flavored e-cigarettes. Researchers from Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) in the US found that the chemical was found in most of the flavored nicotine products. The chemical not only irritates the airways, but also causes irritation to the eyes.

“If the user of an electronic cigarette experiences some side effects, like coughing, it may be attributed to the flavorings,” said Maciej Goniewicz from Roswell Park Cancer Institute and co-author of the study.

Researchers studied 145 flavored e-cigarettes, consisting of 40 berry/tropical fruit flavored, 37 tobacco, 15 alcohol, 11 chocolate/sweet, 11 coffee/tea, 10 mint/menthol, 10 cherry and 11 others. The quantity of benzaldehyde was measured by taking a total of 30 puffs from each cigarette. The chemical was found in 108 out of the 145 e-cigarettes, and the highest was found in the cherry-flavored ones, about 43 times higher than in other flavored products.

The inhaled benzaldehyde from cherry-flavored e-cigarettes was found in higher levels, than in a regular cigarette. However, earlier studies have shown that e-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes as they expose the user to more than 7,000 chemicals and about 60 carcinogens that is linked to cancer. Researchers recommend usage of other flavors of e-cigarettes, instead of cherry e-cigs. Dr. Norman Edelman, senior scientific advisor for the American Lung Association said that the study showed the need for proper regulation of e-cigarettes.

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