BLAIR EMERSON Bismarck Tribune
A new study found e-cigarettes may not be a safer alternative to smoking tobacco.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health recently published the results of a study that found popular e-cigarette flavors contain diacetyl, a chemical linked to a severe lung disease.
“This latest study … is yet another reminder that e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to tobacco use,” said Jeanne Prom, executive director of the North Dakota Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy.
Researchers studied 51 types of flavored e-cigarettes that appeal to youths. Many E-cigarette brands offer fruit and candy flavors, which Prom said are unique and target kids.
The North Dakota 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey reports that 22 percent of high school students report using e-cigarettes at least once in the month prior to taking the survey.
“Our own North Dakota high school students have tried these products,” Prom said. “It’s not a safe alternative. … You’re really just swapping out one poison for another.”
Diacetyl is a flavoring chemical linked to a type of lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans, or “popcorn lung,” which got its name after workers contracted the lung disease while working in microwave popcorn factories.
Currently, e-cigarettes are unregulated, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed a rule to regulate e-cigarettes just as the agency regulates cigarettes and other tobacco products.
“It is our hope that the FDA’s final rules are released very soon and can provide some regulatory framework that can lead to these products being more properly regulated and less available to kids,” she said.