Kiwi researcher discusses the safety of e-liquid flavors


Lead researcher Dr Graham Eyres, who has extensive experience in food flavor research, said flavoring substances currently added to liquids are regulated by the Food Standards Code. However, he added, the code only covers food flavors, not vape flavors.

“Electronic cigarettes heat a liquid in an aerosol or vapor cloud that is inhaled by the user, typically delivering doses of nicotine to the lungs,” said Dr Eyres. “In New Zealand, the range of flavors added to e-cigarette liquids has not been characterized or quantified. This is of concern because some of the volatile organic compounds generated during vaporization can be directly harmful if inhaled in high concentrations or can break down to form harmful compounds.

The researcher cited the use of diacetyl as an example. “Popcorn lung” is the popular name for bronchitis obliterans, a chronic lung disease linked to various air pollutants. One chemical that has been speculatively linked to is diacetyl, a natural fermentation product found in butter, red wine, and various other foods. It’s also used as a flavoring in some e-liquids, and while diacetyl is safe to ingest, there is some evidence that it may not be safe to inhale.

Cigarette smoke contains diacetyl in levels hundreds to thousands of times higher than any e-liquid, but there has never been a single case of popcorn lung linked to smoking. It’s also a disease that takes years of exposure to develop, so some experts find the idea that anyone could get an “instant popcorn lung” from vaping just absurd.

Nevertheless, Eyres points out that although this food flavor has been discontinued, international research has shown that 74% of e-liquids contain diacetyl, with over 40% at concentrations above the recommended safe limits.

“With this exploration grant, we will use methods developed in food and environmental sciences and redesign them to better understand what compounds are in these e-cigarette liquids and how these compounds are distributed in droplets. aerosol can of different sizes. Armed with this knowledge, we can then work with toxicologists and healthcare professionals to determine the level of risk for these compounds and hopefully provide regulators with the evidence they need to develop specifications and standards on. electronic cigarettes, ”said Dr Eyres.

Green apple flavor

Meanwhile, research conducted at Marshall University in West Virginia in the United States, find that the farnesene aroma in green apple flavored vaping products triggers reward-related behavior by promoting high-sensitivity nAChRs in the ventral tegmental area of ​​the brain. Simply put, this means that this compound makes this flavor addictive.

“With or without nicotine, flavored vapes pose potential risks to the brain and addiction,” said lead author Skylar Cooper. Cooper, who is an Austin Akers research technician and his research team, divided the study subjects (mice) into 3 groups. One group received nicotine, another received green apple-flavored farnesene or both, and the third received saline.

The researchers found that Farnesene was rewarding in itself, as the mice chose the farnesene chamber over the saline chamber. However, farnesene has also been found to increase the reward level even more when mixed with nicotine.

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