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Science

Flavored Juul E-Cigarettes Contain Unlisted, Toxic Compounds, Yale Study Shows

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Seth Wenig
/
AP
Juul products are displayed at a smoke shop in New York in 2018. Altria, one of the world's biggest tobacco companies, is spending nearly $13 billion to buy a huge stake in the vape company Juul as cigarette use continues to decline.

A new study from Yale University found some users of the popular e-cigarette brand Juul might be inhaling unexpected chemicals.

Researchers analyzed several flavors of Juul cartridges, like Creme Brulee and Cool Cucumber.

Yale researcher Hanno Erythropel says Juul uses a set of odorless alcoholic solvents in their liquids.

“There is a reaction that can take place between vanillin, the compound that makes vanilla smell, and these solvents.”

The FDA bans vanillin in traditional cigarettes, and there are safety limits for places like bakeries where it’s used. Erythropel says in Juul products, the compound can mix with solvents to create new chemicals that can irritate user’s airways.

“It is a little surprising to buy a commercial product like an e-liquid and then to find out that there can be chemical reactions between the constituents. We really don’t know the inhalational safety of these new compounds that form when users are exposed to them.”

A spokesperson for Juul labs says the study failed to take into account real world conditions. They say a person would have to consume seven or more Juul cartridges in a day to reach a comparable level.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong announced last week he’s opening an investigation into Juul’s marketing practices.