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Chemicals in vapes could be highly toxic when heated, research finds

AI analysis of 180 vape flavours finds that products contain 127 ‘acutely toxic’ chemicals, 153 ‘health hazards’ and 225 ‘irritants’.

Chemicals used to produce vapes could be acutely toxic when heated and inhaled, according to research.

Vaping devices heat the liquid flavouring to high temperatures to form an aerosol that is then inhaled. They contain chemicals including vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, nicotine and flavourings, blended in various amounts.

Previous experiments have shown that some fruit-flavoured vapes – such as strawberry, melon and blueberry – produce dangerous compounds called volatile carbonyls due to this heating process.

These compounds are known to have health implications for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardiovascular disease and cancers.

With so many chemicals used in tens of thousands of different vape products, conducting experiments to test every brand and flavour for toxicity could take decades of research.

Instead, the study used AI to analyse the chemical composition of 180 vape flavours and simulate how they decompose when heated. The research, published in Scientific Reports, predicted that vapes produce 127 “acutely toxic” chemicals, 153 “health hazards” and 225 “irritants”.

Nearly every flavour put through the AI predictor showed at least one product that was classified as a health hazard, with many predicting several. The toxins were associated with vapes containing no nicotine, as well as those with.

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