A common flavouring chemical used in cinnamon e-liquids could seriously damage people’s lungs, experts have warned.
Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill tested cinnemaldehyde – the chemical which gives cinammon its smell, and which is used in e-liquid.
Many e-cigarette flavours are certified as safe in foods – but have not been tested as safe for inhalation, the scientists warned.
The researchers exposed lung cells to e-liquids with different concentrations of cinnemaldehyde – and measured how cells responded.
Lead author Phillip Clapp said: “Our data suggest that when used in e-cigarettes cinnamaldehyde, like toxic aldehydes in cigarette smoke, significantly disrupts normal cell physiology in ways that may have implications for the development and exacerbation of respiratory disease”.
“Our finding that cinnamaldehyde impairs normal airway cilia motility is significant because it demonstrates that a common, food-safe flavouring agent, in the context of e-cigarette use, is capable of dysregulating a critical anti-bacterial defense system in the lungs.
“E-cigarette emissions contain chemicals that have not been evaluated for inhalation toxicities.
“The inhalation of flavouring agents, which are frequently reactive aldehydes, poses a significant unknown in regards to the potential health risks of e-cigarette use as many of these chemicals are structurally similar to toxic aldehydes in cigarette smoke.
“Moreover, aldehyde flavouring agents are often used in exceedingly high concentrations in e-cigarettes, which may lead to high exposure doses.”