Many teens use e-cigarettes for 'dripping' liquid nicotine

(Reuters Health) - One in four teens who use electronic cigarettes have tried "dripping" liquid nicotine directly onto the heating coils on the devices to get thicker clouds of vapor, a new study suggests.

Big U.S. tobacco companies are all developing e-cigarettes, battery-powered gadgets with a heating element that turns liquid nicotine and flavorings into a cloud of vapor that users inhale.

For the past decade, public health experts have debated whether the gadgets might help with smoking cessation or at least be a safer alternative to traditional combustible cigarettes, or whether "vaping" e-cigarettes or vape pens might lure a new generation into nicotine addiction.

20 PHOTOS
E-cigarettes and vaping
See Gallery
E-cigarettes and vaping

Employee at Cloud 10, an e-cigarette store in Simi Valley, CA, demonstrates the type of smoke, with no smell, comes out of an electric cigarette. Sales are Booming at this store.

(Lynne Gilbert via Getty Images

A customer exhales vapor while smoking an electric cigarette at the Betamorph E-Cigs store in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S., on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016. Sales in the U.S. vapor-device market are projected to rise by 21% annually through 2020, based on Euromonitor Passport data.

(Sergio Flores/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

An e-cigarette store in Simi Valley, CA, called Cloud 10, displays various types of electric cigarettes juice flavors for sale. Sales are Booming at this store.

(Lynne Gilbert via Getty Images)

Indonesian teenager exhaling smoke from Electric Cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as seen in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia on December 5, 2014 night. Electric cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are increasingly popular in Indonesia, especially among teenagers. In fact, cigarettes are actually more harmful than regular cigarettes with an increasing number of patients with poisoning after using electronic cigarettes and nicotine liquid continues to increase. The World Health Organization (WHO) notes, electronic cigarette brand has been produced in 466, 8,000 taste, spending budget of US $ 3 billion.

(Photo by Ivan Damanik/NurPhoto) 

Gdynia, Poland 29th, Dec. 2015 Polish Ministry of Health plans to ban electronic cigarettes sales to persons under the age of 18, restrictions on advertising and promotion and to introduce to them technical requirements. The new Tobacco Control law will come into force in the 2nd quarter of 2016. Pictured: Lady smokes electronic cigarette.

(Michal Fludra/Corbis via Getty Images)

Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand smokes an electric cigarette during day two of the World Cup of Golf at Kingston Heath Golf Club on November 25, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Electric cigarette 'juice' w/various flavors.This is at Cloud 10 in Simi Valley, CA This brand is the most popular at this store. Santa Monica just passed the law no e-cigarettes allowed anywhere. Business is booming at this location.

(Lynne Gilbert via Getty Images

Mitchell Baker who works at the Vapour Place a vaping shop in Bedminster, exhales vapour produced by an e-cigarette on December 30, 2016 in Bristol, England. Recent figures released by the e-cigarette industry has claimed that there as many as 1700 vaping shops across the country, with two new ones opening each day catering for the estimated three million vapers in the UK. The popularity of e-cigarettes has boomed in the last ten years, as it is seen by many as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, however some critics say the devices can carry the same risks as smoking especially as the long term affects are yet to be known.

(Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

E-cigarette merchandise is displayed for sale at the Vapour Place a vaping shop in Bedminster, on December 30, 2016 in Bristol, England. Recent figures released by the e-cigarette industry has claimed that there as many as 1700 vaping shops across the country, with two new ones opening each day catering for the estimated three million vapers in the UK. The popularity of e-cigarettes has boomed in the last ten years, as it is seen by many as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, however some critics say the devices can carry the same risks as smoking especially as the long term affects are yet to be known.

(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A reveller dressed in a Father Christmas costume smokes from an electronic cigarette device as he takes part in Santacon outside Euston Station on December 10, 2016 in London, England. Santacon is an annual parade taking place in cities around the world and sees revellers dressed in Father Christmas costumes take to the streets to spread seasonal cheer.

(Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Flavored vape juice bottles are displayed for sale at the Betamorph E-Cigs store in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S., on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016. Sales in the U.S. vapor-device market are projected to rise by 21% annually through 2020, based on Euromonitor Passport data.

(Sergio Flores/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A woman smokes an electronic cigarette during the Vapexpo 2015 Moscow, at Sokolniki Exhibition Center on December 05, 2015, in Moscow, Russia.

(Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

This picture taken on November 19, 2015 shows bottles of concentrated flavors displayed at a vape shop in Kuala Lumpur. Vaping' is soaring in popularity in Malaysia, the largest e-cigarette market in the Asia-Pacific region, but authorities are threatening to ban the habit in for health reasons -- a move that has sparked anger from growing legions of aficionados.

(MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)

A man smokes an E-Cigarette in the Vape Lab coffee bar, on August 27, 2014 in London, England. The Department of Health have ruled out the outlawing of 'e-cigs' in enclosed spaces in England, despite calls by WHO, The World Health Organisation to do so. WHO have recommended a ban on indoor smoking of e-cigs as part of tougher regulation of products dangerous to children.

(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

This picture taken on November 19, 2015 shows a worker (R) inspecting a coil, the metal heating element in an e-cigarette that produces vapour from e-juices, at a vape shop in Kuala Lumpur. Vaping' is soaring in popularity in Malaysia, the largest e-cigarette market in the Asia-Pacific region, but authorities are threatening to ban the habit in for health reasons -- a move that has sparked anger from growing legions of aficionados.

(MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman smokes an electronic cigarette during the Vapexpo 2015 Moscow, at Sokolniki Exhibition Center on December 05, 2015, in Moscow, Russia.

(Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A customer smokes an E-Cigarette at Digital Ciggz on January 28, 2015 in San Rafael, California. The California Department of Public Health released a report today that calls E-Cigarettes a health threat and suggests that they should be regulated like regular cigarettes and tobacco products.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

E-Cigarettes are sold at the V-Revolution E-Cigarette shop in Covent Garden on August 27, 2014 in London, England. The Department of Health have ruled out the outlawing of 'e-cigs' in enclosed spaces in England, despite calls by WHO, The World Health Organisation to do so. WHO have recommended a ban on indoor smoking of e-cigs as part of tougher regulation of products dangerous to children.

(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

In this photo illustration, a man smokes an E-Cigarette at the V-Revolution E-Cigarette shop in Covent Garden on August 27, 2014 in London, England. The Department of Health have ruled out the outlawing of 'e-cigs' in enclosed spaces in England, despite calls by WHO, The World Health Organisation to do so. WHO have recommended a ban on indoor smoking of e-cigs as part of tougher regulation of products dangerous to children.

(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The current study suggests at least some of the answers to these safety questions may have to account how people use e-cigarettes to get their nicotine hit, said Dr. Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, a psychiatry researcher at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.

"The risks of short term and long term use of e-cigarettes are not known," Krishnan-Sarin said by email.

While e-cigarettes may contain fewer toxicants than traditional cigarettes, they do contain chemicals like propylene glycol and glycerin, "which when heated at high temperatures like with 'dripping' can produce high levels of carcinogenic compounds like aldehydes," Krishnan-Sarin added.

"E-liquids also contain many flavor chemicals such as aldehydes, vanillins and alcohols which are considered safe for ingestion, but little is known about the toxicity of inhaling these chemicals, especially when they are volatilized at high temperatures," Krishnan-Sarin said.

To assess how often teens tried "dripping," researchers examined 2015 survey data from 7,045 students in eight Connecticut high schools.

Overall, 1,080 teens, or about 15 percent, said they had tried e-cigarettes, researchers report in Pediatrics.

About 26 percent of e-cigarettes users had tried dripping. Most often, teens did this to produce thicker clouds of vapor, though they sometimes tried dripping to enhance flavors of the liquid nicotine or to heighten the feeling of smoke inhalation in the throat or lungs.

The study didn't examine what flavors teens used for dripping or assess how much nicotine might be in the liquids adolescents used, the authors note.

Another limitation is that a large proportion of teens said they didn't know whether they had tried dripping, which might have led the authors to underestimate the prevalence of this behavior.

It's also not clear from one year of survey data that dripping is gaining in popularity, and it may actually be falling out of favor, said Dr. Riccardo Polosa, a researcher at the University of Catania in Italy who wasn't involved in the study.

Dripping was common in the early days of e-cigarettes when the devices had open-system atomizers and no tanks to hold liquid, Polosa said by email. It was considered a nuisance because users had to carry a bottle with liquids, add more fluids frequently and worry about flooding the atomizer.

Newer e-cigarette devices make dripping unnecessary, Polosa said.

Still, there's cause for concern, said Maciej Goniewicz, a researcher at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, who wasn't involved in the study.

"Inhaling aerosols from e-cigarettes seems to be less risky as compared to smoking tobacco cigarettes, but 'dripping' is not a safe technique for using e-cigarettes and should be avoided," Goniewicz said.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2kG191X Pediatrics, online February 6, 2017.


Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.