They taste like sweets, menthol or fruit – sweet, flavored e-cigarettes appeal to young people in particular. How high the dangers are read here.
A study by the US-based Dartmouth College, the results of which were published in the journal “Public Health Reports”, concludes that adolescents are particularly sensitive to sweet flavors in e-cigarettes. For two reasons, the authors of the study are worried: On the one hand, the sweet-tasting steam cigarettes can accustom a growing number of adolescents to nicotine. On the other hand, there is increasing evidence that the flavoring agents themselves are harmful to health.
How do e-cigarettes work?
Originally, e-cigarettes were considered a more harmless variant of the classic Glimmstängels or even as an instrument for smoking cessation: In an e-cigarette flavored, partly nicotine-containing liquids are electrically evaporated. These liquids, also called liquids, are located in a cartridge next to a battery and an electric heating element.
The result is no smoke, but an aerosol that is inhaled. Overall, the aerosol is considered to be less harmful to health than tobacco smoke, with more than 70 carcinogens – however, many of the flavors used are insensitive to long-term health effects.
Sweet flavors popular among teenagers
The team led by Samir Soneji of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire wanted to find out which age groups are using what kind of e-cigarettes and how taste preferences affect their consumption. A result of the representative study: “The availability of appealing flavors for e-cigarettes was more severe as a reason for vaping in adolescents and young adults than in older adults,” says Soneji.
The population scientist, who specializes in the effects of tobacco use, describes that teenagers (12-17 years) and young adults (18-24 years) are more likely than older people to consume e-cigarettes when they taste like fruits or sweets , 77.9 percent of adolescents and as many as 90.3 percent of young adults cited taste as the reason for their steaming. The older users, on the other hand, mainly explained that they were using steam for less harmful than traditional cigarettes.
“We also found that current smokers who wanted to quit smoking last year were more likely to consume tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes than those who did not smoke conventional cigarettes,” Soneji said. The great popularity of sweet flavors among adolescents is particularly problematic because studies suggested that they are particularly harmful to health because of the chemicals contained.
Many of the common ingredients affected pulmonary function and led to inflammation at the cellular level as well as irritation and respiratory diseases. In the US, it is precisely the liquids for the popular e-cigarette models that have a very high nicotine content, which far exceeds the dosage permitted in the EU member states.
Demand of stricter provisions
The authors of the US study argue for differentiated rules for e-cigarettes: “Stricter provisions or even a ban on flavored e-cigarettes that taste like fruits or sweets could achieve two goals,” summarizes Samir Soneji The proportion of young people who smoke is lowered without this being at the expense of older smokers who want to get away from the traditional e-cigarettes. “
In the US, the FDA is now warning of an epidemic of fumes, especially among adolescents. The number of consumers in middle and high schools has risen by 1.5 million within one year. Moreover, as a recent survey commissioned by the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) has shown, more and more adolescents are trying to use e-cigarettes in Germany as well. Between 2014 and 2018, the proportion of 16- to 29-year-olds who had ever moved to a vaporizer almost doubled from 11 to 20 percent.
Entry into the classic tobacco use?
The regular consumption among young people is still rare, but still problematic, as e-cigarettes could be an introduction to the classic tobacco use, warns the DKFZ.
This was also suggested by a study from Kiel commissioned by the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA), whose results were published last year: According to her, adolescents who had already consumed e-cigarettes at the beginning of the study are also more likely to do so Try out tobacco cigarettes. Overall, the calculated risk for the “e-cigarette testers” was about twice as high as for those who had not steamed.