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Vapes contain a host of potentially toxic industrial substances and caffeine

"More and more young people are using these e-cigarettes and they need to know what they’re being exposed to."

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Lung Injury Associated with E-cigarette or Vaping Products (CDC via Wikimedia Commons)

By Mark Waghorn via SWNS

E-cigagettes contain thousands of chemicals that could harm health, according to new research.

They include potentially toxic industrial substances and caffeine - to provide an extra kick.

The compounds are undisclosed by manufacturers - and not found in traditional cigarettes.

Scientists analyzed four popular tobacco flavored liquids including Mi-Salt, Vuse, Juul and Blu.

They identified the unique 'fingerprints' of almost 2,000 chemicals using a state of the art scanning technique.

Six were possibly harmful - including three never previously found in e-cigs. The vast majority were unidentified.

Gif via National Institute on Drug Abuse, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Alarmingly, hydrocarbon-like compounds were detected - typically associated with combustion - which manufacturers say is not happening.

In traditional cigarettes, the condensed hydrocarbons generated during combustion are toxic.

Lead author Dr. Mina Tehrani said: "One of the main ways electronic cigarettes have been marketed is they operate at temperatures below combustion, which would make them safer than traditional smoking.

"Our study shows this novel fingerprinting approach can be applied to assess whether combustion-like processes are going on."

She was particularly surprised to find caffeine in two of the four products.

The stimulant has previously only been found in e-cig liquid flavors like coffee and chocolate.

Tehrani said: "That might be giving smokers an extra kick that is not disclosed. We wonder if they are adding it intentionally."

Three industrial chemicals, a pesticide and two flavorings linked with possible toxic effects and respiratory irritation were also found.

Vaping products come in hundreds of flavors ranging from fruits, vanilla, and custard to bubblegum - and even donuts.

Senior author Dr. Carsten Prasse said: "People just need to know that they're inhaling a very complex mixture of chemicals when they vape.

"And for a lot of these compounds, we have no idea what they actually are."

It has particular implications for teenagers who believe e-cigs are a safer option than smoking tobacco.

The team at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, applied an advanced technique used to check organic compounds in food, wastewater and blood.

It found vaping could have adverse health effects - and the risks are yet to be fully determined.

Prasse said: "Existing research that compared e-cigarettes with normal cigarettes found cigarette contaminants are much lower in e-cigarettes.

"The problem is e-cigarette aerosols contain other completely uncharacterized chemicals that might have health risks that we don't yet know about.

"More and more young people are using these e-cigarettes and they need to know what they’re being exposed to."

Previous studies have looked specifically for evidence of the hazardous chemicals found in traditional cigarettes.

Prasse became interested in e-cigs after his cousin, a former smoker, started vaping, insisting it was healthy. He plans to send him the findings.

He said: "I have a problem with how vaping is being marketed as more healthy than smoking cigarettes.

"In my opinion, we are just not at the point when we can really say that."

Co-author Dr. Ana Rule, an expert in metals exposures from vaping, says young people aren't making a healthier choice - only a risky one.

She said: "There are millions of middle school and high-school students vaping that would not otherwise think of smoking. For them there is no risk reduction - only increased risk."

Last year University of Bristol researchers found teenagers who use e-cigs are nearly five times more likely to smoke tobacco later in life.

Vaping has been linked to 200 health problems including heart disease and pneumonia.

In August another US team found vaping just once can damage cells - increasing the risk of cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

The latest study is in Chemical Research in Toxicology.

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