Mint vapes damage lungs more than any other flavour, warn scientists

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When e-cigarettes were first introduced as a mainstream alternative to traditional cigarettes it was hoped they would prove to be a healthier choice. While vaping has been shown to expose the user to fewer toxic chemicals than regular tobacco, health experts have still warned that it comes with its own risks. And now scientists have shown the flavour of vape you choose is relevant.

A new study has shown that mint-flavoured vapes damage lungs more than any other flavour.

This is because it produces more toxic microparticles compared to menthol-free liquids.

The research, published in the journal Respiratory Research, revealed that those using mint vapes took shallower breaths and had poorer lung function than other smokers.

This was regardless of how long they smoked cigarettes, whether they used cannabis-laced vaping products, and their age, gender, and race.

Scientists warn the minty flavour could be as dangerous as cannabinoid vapes which have been strongly linked to lung injury.

It comes amid the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) continuing pressure on cigarette manufacturers to ban menthol in regular tobacco products including cigarettes and cigars.

Despite this, vaping is growing more popular with around 3.2 million adults in the UK reported to use e-cigarettes.

Senior author Professor Kambez Benam, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, warned: “Many people, especially youth, erroneously assume that vaping is safe, but even nicotine-free vaping mixtures contain many compounds that can potentially damage the lungs.

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“Just because something is safe to consume as food does not mean that it’s safe to inhale.

“The main message that we want to put out there is for people, especially young adults, who haven’t smoked before.

“Switching to e-cigarettes may be a better, safer alternative for someone who is trying to quit smoking regular tobacco products.

“But it’s important to have full knowledge of e-cigarettes’ risks and benefits before trying them.”

The vape-particle numbers can then be engineered and applied to model lungs – or “lung-on-chip” devices – to quickly yield high-quality data indicating potential toxicity.

Previously, Professor Benam’s team discovered vitamin E acetate, a common additive in cannabinoid e-cigarette liquids, generates more toxic small particles.

These particles can travel deep inside the lung and wedge themselves in the narrowest airways and lining of the walls of the trachea and bronchus.

This study concluded that menthol additives could be just as dangerous as vitamin E acetate – strongly linked with lung injury in e-cigarette and vape users.

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