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.

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.”