E-cigarettes smokers are exposed to cancer-causing chemicals even when the e-cigarettes do not contain nicotine, researchers reported Monday.


A new study by UC San Francisco researchers shows that smoking e-cigarettes deliver chemicals that could potentially cause cancer and popular fruity flavors appear to be the worst.

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The study examined almost 100 teens from the San Francisco Bay area and it found that 67 teens used e-cigarettes only, 16 used both e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes and 20 nonsmokers.

The study published in the journal Pediatrics reveals adolescents who smoked e-cigarettes had as much as three times more of these cancer-causing chemicals in their body compared to teens who didn’t smoke. Several toxic chemicals known as volatile organic compounds or VOCs, are known carcinogens.

Lead author Mark L. Rubinstein, MD, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco said that teenagers should understand that the vapor produced by e-cigarettes has some of the same toxic chemicals found in smoke from traditional cigarettes and it’s not a harmless water vapor.  “Teenagers should be inhaling air, not products with toxins in them,” Rubinstein said.

E-cigarettes are so popular that they’re now marketed to adults who are trying to quit smoking as a harmless alternative to cigarettes.

Rubinstein says, “While they may be beneficial to adults as a form of harm reduction, kids should not be using them at all.” He added, “Electronic cigarettes generate nicotine in the vapor. And nicotine is a toxin to the growing, developing brain,” “These are not benign chemicals.”