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Vaping exposes users to toxic metals like lead and uranium, study says 

Toxic metal exposure has been linked to cognitive impairment, behavioral issues, respiratory problems, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
Woman using electronic cigarette
Posted at 5:14 PM, Apr 30, 2024

Frequent vaping among teenagers could significantly increase their likelihood of being exposed to toxic metals such as cadmium, lead, and uranium, harming the development of their brains and organs.

According to a new study published in the British Medical journal's Tobacco Control, the presence of metal elements in e-cigarette varies depending on the device and brand used, and while the number of puffs or amount smoked does play a big role in determining how much of these toxic metals a person is ingesting, any amount can harm the smoker both acutely and chronically, particularly affecting child and adolescent development.

The study says that for those who often smoke, higher metal exposure has been linked to cognitive impairment, behavioral issues, respiratory problems, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.

Researchers also investigated whether urinary levels of metal toxins varied based on vaping frequency and types of flavors.

A disposable vape product

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"There may have been changes over time in e-cigarette devices and e-liquid formulations that could influence the results. Nonetheless, there remains a historical association between tobacco product use and exposure to cadmium. In addition, increased uranium biomarkers found within the sweet flavour category are of particular concern because candy-flavoured e-cigarette products make up a substantial proportion of adolescent vapers,and sweet taste in e-cigarettes can suppress the harsh effects of nicotine and enhance its reinforcing effects, resulting in heightened brain cue-reactivity," the study read.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that lead exposure can harm the brain and nervous system, slow growth and development, lead to learning and behavioral issues, and cause hearing and speech impairments. Meanwhile, cadmium exposure increases the risk of osteoporosis and acts as a major carcinogen, posing risks for various cancers. Uranium exposure can cause renal and kidney failure and negatively affect the reproductive system, among many other things.