Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Respiratory Institute reported today that adding peppermint flavor to e-cigarette liquids produced more vapor particles and was linked to worse lung function in smokers. You can also know more about vaporesso luxe x vs xros 3 .
Using a robotic system designed to mimic the mechanics of human breathing and smoking behavior, the researchers showed that commercially available vape oils containing menthol produced more toxic particles than those without. An accompanying analysis of patient records from a group of e-cigarette smokers showed that menthol e-cigarette users had shallower breathing and poorer lung function than non-menthol smokers, regardless of age, gender, race, number of years of smoking pack and nicotine use or cannabis-containing e-cigarette products.
Kambez H. Benam, PhD, senior author and associate professor in the Department of pulmonary, allergy and critical Care Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Many people, especially young people, mistakenly believe that e-cigarettes are safe, but even nicotine-free e-cigarette blends contain many compounds that can damage the lungs. Just because something is safe to eat as food doesn’t mean it’s safe to inhale.
To keep young people away from e-cigarettes and curb preventable deaths, the Food and Drug Administration continues to put pressure on cigarette manufacturers to eliminate menthol from combustible tobacco products, such as regular cigarettes and cigars. But the global market for vape products continues to expand, with menthol and menthol flavors remaining extremely popular among the 2.5 million young people who reported vaping in 2022.
Because traditional toxicity tests involving animals grown on flat surfaces or living cells can take weeks or months to produce high-quality clinically-relevant data, regulators are struggling to follow up and test the safety of products in a timely manner.
Traditional methods have other limitations. Mice and rats, the animals primarily used to test the safety and biological impact of atomizing products, have very different nasal anatomy compared to humans, which prevents them from taking active breath through their mouths, like taking a puff on a cigarette. The cellular systems used for toxicity testing are either exposed directly to the e-liquid or sprayed with continuous aerosols that take no account of human breathing patterns.
To improve preclinical testing of how mixing e-cigarette liquids and adding flavorings affect the vapor composition and its health effects, researchers have developed a biology-inspired vape robot. By accurately simulating temperature, humidity, suction volume and duration, the machine can simulate healthy and diseased breathing patterns and reliably predict lung toxicity associated with vaping.
The system can measure the size and number of atomized particles produced and how these parameters vary depending on the composition of the liquid. The effects of aerosols can then be tested on engineered lung-on-a-chip devices and quickly produce high-quality data that can be used to infer potential toxicity.
In their previous research, Benam and his team found that vitamin E acetate, a common additive in vaping liquids containing cannabinoids, produces more toxic small particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs and wedge into the strictest airways and the walls lining the trachea and bronchi.
While large clinical studies are needed in the future, this new study suggests that menthol additives may be just as dangerous as vitamin E acetate, which has been strongly linked to lung damage in e-cigarettes and vape users.
“The main message we want to get across is to people who haven’t smoked before, especially young people.” “Benam said. “Switching to e-cigarettes may be a better and safer option for those trying to quit regular tobacco products, but it’s important to fully understand the risks and benefits of e-cigarettes before trying them.”
The other authors of the study were Divay Chandra, Ph.D., and Rachel Bogdanoff, Ph.D., of Pitt; Dr. Russell Bowler of National Jewish Health in Denver.