Even without nicotine, e-cigarettes can still damage lungs

UNTV News   •   February 12, 2018   •   8632

FILE PHOTO: Jerred Marsh (R) samples flavored vape juice from Nancy Reyes at the Vape Summit 3 in Las Vegas, Nevada May 2, 2015. REUTERS/David Becker/File Photo

(Reuters Health) – E-cigarette liquids sweetened with flavorings like vanilla and cinnamon may harm the lungs even when they don’t contain nicotine, a U.S. study suggests.

Researchers examined what happened to monocytes, a type of white blood cell, upon exposure to flavoring chemicals used in popular e-cigarette liquids. None of the liquids contained nicotine, but the flavoring chemicals still appeared to increase biomarkers for inflammation and tissue damage, and many of them also caused cells to die.

Over time, this type of cell damage can lead to wide range of lung problems including fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, and asthma, said senior study author Irfan Rahman, an environmental health researcher at the University of Rochester Medical Center in upstate New York.

“Nicotine-free e-liquids have generally been considered safe; however, the impact of flavoring chemicals, especially on immune cells, has not been widely researched,” Rahman said by email. “This study shows that even though flavoring compounds are considered safe for ingestion, it is not safe for inhalation.”

Big U.S. tobacco companies are all developing e-cigarettes. The battery-powered gadgets feature a glowing tip and a heating element that turns liquid nicotine and flavorings into a cloud of vapor that users inhale.

Even when e-liquids don’t contain nicotine, the lungs are still exposed to flavoring chemicals when the e-liquids are heated and the vapors are inhaled. Since the flavoring chemicals are considered safe to eat, e-cigarettes are often promoted as a alternative to traditional cigarettes, researchers note in Frontiers in Physiology.

When researchers exposed human lung cells to e-liquids in the laboratory, the cells increased their output of inflammation-related chemicals that can eventually lead to damage in the lungs.

Exposing cells to mixtures containing a variety of flavors appeared to cause a worse reaction than using a single flavor, the study found.

Among the single flavors, cinnamon and vanilla appeared the most toxic to the lung cells.

One limitation of the study is that the experiment didn’t involve people actually vaping and breathing in the e-liquids, the authors note. The study also doesn’t offer a complete picture of e-cigarette safety or address the potential for health problems to emerge after long-term use.

While more research is needed to better understand what happens to lung cells when people smoke e-cigarettes, the results suggest that e-liquids should be regulated and clearly labeled to list the mix of flavors used, the researchers conclude.

“It is expected that more complex mixtures or exposure at higher doses will have more adverse effects on isolated cells in the laboratory,” said Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, a researcher at the University of Patras-Greece and the National School of Public Health-Greece who wasn’t involved in the study.

While evidence to date suggests that e-cigarettes may be less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes, it still make sense for users to pay attention to what’s in the e-liquids they’re inhaling, Farsalinos said by email.

“Whether pre-mixed or do-it-yourself liquids, it is the amount of flavorings that would determine the level of potential adverse effects,” Farsalinos added. “I expect simpler mixtures to be safer compared to more complex blends.”

SOURCE: bit.ly/2Bkvc7p Frontiers in Physiology, online January 11, 2018.

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

DOH lauds House approval of alcohol tax bill

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 15, 2019

The Department of Health (DOH) has lauded the approval of House Bill 1026 or the bill seeking to increase taxes on alcohol products.

In a statement, the DOH said increasing excise taxes and other public policies on alcohol are ways to reduce pubic alcohol consumption.

“Increasing the excise tax on alcohol products is the best buy and win-win intervention for reducing alcohol consumption and increasing revenue for health,” according to the DOH statement.

The DOH has reported that the number of road and traffic accidents in the Philippines attributable to alcohol has reached a total of 10,372 fatal and non-fatal accidents from 2016 to 2018.

“The continuing partnership between DOH and the House of Representatives is certainly a positive proof that we are united in protecting the health of the Filipino people,” according to Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III.—AAC

House OKs alcohol tax bill on second reading; vape tax hike inserted

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 15, 2019

The House of Representatives (HOR) has approved the bill that seeks to increase the excise tax on alcohol, including heated tobacco and vapor products.

This was after the Committee on Ways and Means approved House Bill 1026 filed by committee chair Albay Representative Joey Salceda.

Under the proposed bill, there will be an ad valorem tax which will be topped with the specific tax, depending on the volume per category of alcoholic beverage.

The specific tax will increase by 7% annually starting in 2020 for wines, and 2023 for distilled spirits and fermented liquors.

Alcohol products like brandy, rum, whisky and gin will have a 22% imposed ad valorem tax rate plus a specific tax of P35 per liter beginning January 1, 2020.

For sparkling wine, there will be a 15% ad valorem tax per liter to be imposed plus P650 specific tax per liter.

Cooking wines with salt content of not less than 1.5 grams for every 100 milliliters will be exempted from excise tax.

There will also be an additional excise tax of P30 for each milliliter for vapor products such as nicotine salt and conventional “freebase” or classic “nicotines.” This is higher compared to the current P10 per 10 ml.—AAC

MMDA to inspect school perimeters for e-cigarettes, tobacco products

Robie de Guzman   •   May 29, 2019

A man uses an E-cigarette, an electronic substitute in the form of a rod, slightly longer than a normal cigarette, in this March 5, 2013 file illustration picture taken in Paris. CREDIT: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN HARTMANN/FILES

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced that it will check the 100-meter perimeter of public and private schools for establishments that sell, advertise and promote e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The MMDA said violators will receive verbal warnings if they are found smoking within the said distance from the schools.

The initiative is part of the agency’s preparations for the opening of the school year 2019 to 2020 in June.

It also aims to raise awareness on tobacco control and promoting a safer and healthier environment.

“Health and sanitation, urban protection and pollution control are among the seven mandates of the MMDA. We are tasked to promote and safeguard the health and sanitation of Metropolitan Manila especially the youth who will become our future leaders,” MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim said in a statement released on Tuesday.

A massive information drive will also be conducted by distributing leaflets to store owners, students, teachers, and public utility vehicle drivers containing the provisions of the law on access restriction and effects of smoking and cigarette smoke and conduct orientation on the dangers of smoking to high school students in public secondary schools.

“Our health environmental officers will be posting signage in public facilities to supplement these efforts,” Lim said.

The MMDA is also looking to enhance pedestrian lanes near the schools to protect crossing children and to increase visibility to drivers. /rrd 

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