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Animal Study Points to Heating Coil Behind Serious Vaping Injuries | Health News

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter


THURSDAY, Oct. 8, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The type of heating coil used in an e-cigarette and the amount of voltage sent through it could be contributing to vaping-related lung injuries, a new animal study contends.

Laboratory rats suffered lung injuries when exposed to vapor from devices using high-powered heating coils made of nickel-chromium alloy, something that did not occur in earlier experiments using stainless steel heating coils, researchers report.

“When we looked at their lungs, we saw they had very severe damage to the lung structure,” said lead researcher Michael Kleinman, a professor of occupational and environmental medicine at the University of California, Irvine. “We found we got the worst effects in coils that contained nickel and chromium, which is a typical kind of coil.”

E-cigarettes turn liquid into vapor using a heating coil similar to those found in toasters, Kleinman said. The coil is surrounded by the liquid, and when voltage is sent through the coil, it rapidly heats up.

Kleinman and his colleagues were doing vaping research on lab rats using devices equipped with stainless steel coils when they made their discovery.

The manufacturer stopped making the specific device they were using, so they had to switch to a compatible model that used nickel-chromium coils, Kleinman recalled.

“When we got the new coils and we ran them at the high power settings, we immediately noticed after the first set of exposures, the animals were literally gasping for breath,” he said. “They were lying on the bottom of the cages, just huffing and puffing. Their color looked off. Their nose, which is normally pink, kind of looked pale.”

Kleinman noted that the rat experiment used an e-liquid that was a 50-50 blend of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin (the two main ingredients in most such liquids), with a little tobacco flavor added in. It did not include nicotine, THC or vitamin E additives.

E-cigarette advocates countered that these sort of experiments achieve their results by operating vaping devices in ways no consumer ever would.

“It’s under conditions that normal e-cigarette users would never use,” said Lindsey Stroud, a board member of the Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association. “An e-cigarette user isn’t going to use a product if it’s burning. They’re going to taste it burning.”

She added that the most popular e-cigarette products — pod-based or disposable — do not have power settings that can be changed by the user.

“Any of your pod-based devices, you really can’t change how you heat it,” Stroud said. “This is done under really strict conditions to get these results.”

However, the American Lung Association says this study is a perfect example of why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration needs to regulate these products more tightly.

“The FDA has the opportunity to take research like this and only permit products that demonstrate their design is appropriate for the protection of the public health,” said Erika Sward, assistant vice president of national advocacy for the lung

Parents often clueless when teens start vaping, study says

Parents are often clueless when their kids start smoking e-cigarettes, a new study finds.

On the other hand, Mom and Dad usually can tell if their children take up traditional smoking, said researchers from the University of California, San Francisco.

Having strict household rules against any form of tobacco is the best form of prevention, researchers found. And those rules should apply to adults, too.

“Tobacco use by children is troubling, and dentists, like all health care providers, should be concerned about preventing youth tobacco use,” study co-author Dr. Benjamin Chaffee, an associate professor in the university’s School of Dentistry.

“We know that tobacco-free homes are a key tool to help prevent smoking by kids,” he said in a university news release.

The study included parents of more than 23,000 kids aged 12 to 17. Researchers found the parents were less likely to know or suspect that their child used e-cigarettes, non-cigarette tobacco products or smokeless tobacco, compared with traditional cigarettes or other tobacco products.

As traditional smoking declines among American youth, use of e-cigarettes is rising. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last year that 1 in 4 high school students vapes.

The new research looked at cigarettes and e-cigarettes, and also cigars, pipes, hookahs and bidis. It also examined use of smokeless tobacco products such as snuff, chewing tobacco, snus and dissolvable tobacco.

Researchers found that parents were more likely to know or suspect a child was using tobacco if the child was older, male, white, lived with a smoker, and if parents were less educated. Mothers were more clued in than fathers.

Moreover, teens and tweens whose parents had the strictest rules against tobacco use were 20% to 26% less likely to start using tobacco, compared with kids in the most permissive homes.

To stop kids from using tobacco, the researchers suggest parents:

  • Not smoke themselves.
  • Insist on tobacco-free homes.
  • Maintain strict rules against all tobacco use by anyone in the home.
  • Have clear communication with your children about not smoking.

The report was published Oct. 5 in the journal Pediatrics.

More information

For more on children and smoking, see the American Lung Association.

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Parents less aware of their kids vaping than smoking, study says

Parents and guardians are less likely to know or suspect when their children vape or use other tobacco products than they are when they smoke cigarettes, the study, published in Pediatrics, said.

About 70% of the parents and guardians of children who smoke reported being aware or suspecting it. For kids who use e-cigarettes, the percentage is about 40%, the study said.

“When parents think about tobacco, many will picture smoking a cigarette but other tobacco and nicotine products may not come to mind,” said Dr. Benjamin Chaffee, a senior author of the study and associate professor at University of California San Francisco School of Dentistry.

“E-cigarettes, in particular, may look like a tech device and don’t produce a lasting odor.”

Other types of tobacco products more likely to go unnoticed are non-cigarette combustible products or smokeless tobacco. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, according to the CDC.

“Any tobacco or nicotine use by children is concerning,” Chaffee told CNN. “Any product that delivers nicotine has a high risk of addiction. Nicotine exposure is particularly concerning for adolescents, whose brains are still developing.”

Vaping is an epidemic

Two years ago, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams declared vaping among young people an “epidemic.”
In 2020, 3.02 million high school students and 550,000 middle school students reported being current users of e-cigarettes, according to data from the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey analyzed by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration.
So you want to quit vaping? Read this to do it for good
During the coronavirus pandemic, the correlation between smoking and vaping and higher risk of severe Covid-19 cases has also been investigated.
In August, lawmakers asked the FDA to clear the market of all e-cigarettes for the duration of the crisis, citing concerns about vapers as young as 13.

Parents and awareness

The UCSF study used nationally representative data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study, and tracked more than 23,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 17.

Parents and guardians were more likely to know or suspect their child uses tobacco or nicotine products if the child was older, male, White and lived with a tobacco user, according to the study.

The study also found that parents with lower levels of education were more likely to know or suspect their child uses tobacco or nicotine products. Mothers were identified as being more aware than fathers.

The study was conducted before the 2019 outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries, which Chaffee said may have raised awareness about the dangers of vaping for young users.

The role of household rules

Another focus of the study, along with parental awareness, was the role of household rules in connection with tobacco use.

Children living in homes with stricter rules around tobacco use for kids and adults, as well as visitors, guests and workers, were 20% to 26% less likely to start using tobacco, the study reported.

US e-cigarette sales rose by nearly 300%, says a new CDC report

“Parents are role models for their kids,” Chaffee said. “The first thing parents can do is not use tobacco products