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Sweet Vapes, Deadly Risk? New Study Finds Dangers Lurk in Popular Flavors

Vaping has become widely adopted as an alternative to traditional smoking. The latest figures show 4.5 million people in the UK regularly use e-cigarettes.

However, there are many concerning unknowns about vaping’s long term health impacts, especially for the younger, “never-smoked” generations – for whom flavored vapes are the most attractive and common entry point.

To understand the health impact of flavored vapes on the population, I led a research project using artificial intelligence (AI) to predict the chemical changes that occur when vapes are used.

While it took over 30 years of research to gather the evidence that tobacco smoking causes cancers, AI allows us access to this key information more quickly for all vapes.

Although the UK government has introduced the tobacco and vapes bill, our findings indicate the need for even tighter regulation – fast.

Our study has uncovered something that, until now, has received limited attention: the potentially harmful substances produced when e-liquids in vaping devices are heated for inhalation.

We used an AI neural network model – a method that teaches computers to process data in a way that is inspired by the human brain – to simulate the effects of heating e-liquid flavor chemicals found in nicotine vapes.

Then, examining all 180 known e-liquid flavor chemicals, it predicted the new compounds formed when these substances are heated in a vaping device immediately prior to inhalation.

Worryingly, this revealed the formation of many hazardous chemicals including 127 classified as “acute toxic”, 153 as “health hazards”, and 225 as “irritants” (some were classified in more than one of these categories). Among these, volatile carbonyls (VCs) – chemicals known for their negative health effects – were predicted to form in the fruit-, candy- and dessert-flavored products that are most popular with younger vapers.

Source: Science Alert

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