Nicotine-Free, Flavored E-Cigarettes Could Make Asthma Worse

The negative effects of e-cigarettes have been growing. A new study found that the device could worsen the severity of asthma, with and without nicotine.

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, found changes in lung functions in people after exposure to flavored e-cigarettes. The device mainly affected airways that are also involved in allergic diseases. 

"This is especially important for those with respiratory disease, whom are vulnerable to the effects of smoking," David Chapman, lead study author and researcher from University of Technology Sydney, said in a statement. "The majority of e-cigarette smokers use flavored liquids but there is some evidence that flavor additives can be toxic when inhaled."

The study is the first to use an asthma model to examine how e-cigarette flavors with and without nicotine affect the body, the researchers said. During lab tests, e-cigarettes that contained the flavor Black Licorice caused exaggerated airway inflammation, while the Banana Pudding flavor increased the level of tissue scarring. 

However, Cinnacide caused opposite effects. The flavor suppressed airway inflammation and increased airway sensitivity, MedicalXpress reported

All e-cigarette liquids that contained nicotine also reduced airway inflammation. Nicotine is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, the researchers said. 

But the team noted the study did not determine how the flavored e-cigarettes directly affected airway conditions. But earlier research showed flavors under the category of "buttery/creamy" and "cinnamon," which may include Banana Pudding and Cinnacide, respectively, have toxic effects.

"The exact effects on features of asthma were dependent upon the specific flavour, suggesting not all flavoured e-cigarettes will have the same consequences on lung health," Chapman said.

The researchers hope their findings would guide consumers in using flavored e-cigarettes, especially those with asthma and other respiratory diseases. They added policy makers may also use the study for future policies restricting the use of such potentially harmful products in the U.S. 

Estimates show that there has been a growing number of young and adult Americans using e-cigarettes. At least 9 percent of young people, ages 18 to 24, currently are using the device. 

Vaping has also been linked to a number of deaths in different states over the past months. The Trump administration is restricting the sale of certain e-cigarettes products to the youth to address the health issue. 

Vape Vaping has been linked to a number of cases of severe lung damage in e-cigarette users in the U.S. Pixabay