Drugs & Health Blog

E-Cigarettes: Inhaling More Than You Bargained For

©Shutterstock/Bjoern Wylezich

The NIDA Blog Team

You’ve heard before on this blog that we need to learn a lot more about e-cigarettes. Now we’ve learned they’re even more dangerous than we thought. Scientists recently discovered that teens are inhaling at least five toxic (poisonous) cancer-causing compounds when they vape. Many of these compounds are also found in tobacco cigarettes.

Inhaling harm

Makers of e-cigarettes add flavoring chemicals and compounds that can be inhaled when a person vapes, or that break down into harmful chemicals during vaping. Here are just a few of the toxic compounds the recent study found in e-cigarettes or e-cig flavoring:

  • Acrylonitrile is used to make plastics and adhesives. It’s extremely poisonous in large doses.
  • Propylene oxide can irritate the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract, and depress the central nervous system.
  • Crotonaldehyde is a poisonous and highly flammable liquid with a suffocating odor.
  • Acrylamide is used in treating wastewater, including sewage. It may increase the risk for several types of cancer.

These chemicals are found in small amounts in e-cigs, so we aren’t sure yet how much you’d need to inhale to be in danger.

A long list

Earlier studies found other dangerous things in e-cigs, including formaldehyde, a gas that’s been linked to cancer; diacetyl, a chemical that can harm the lungs; plus many others.

Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. In liquid form (as in e-cigarettes), nicotine can be dangerous to drink, sniff, or even touch. And there are even more reasons e-cigs can be dangerous for your health.

So, don’t fall for the hype: E-cigarettes might not always be safer than tobacco. Check the facts, so you can make an informed choice about what you put into your body.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.

Add new comment

Current state: Approved
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.