A new study released Monday finds teens who smoke e-cigarettes have the same cancer-causing chemicals in their bodies as teens who smoke traditional cigarettes.
While some regard e-cigarettes or vaping as a safer alternative to smoking, the study says vaping is still poisonous and fruity flavors popular with teens appear to be the worst.
The study comes from a team of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.
It found that teenagers who smoke tobacco-based cigarettes have the highest levels of cancer- causing chemicals in their bodies.
But those who vape e-cigarettes also have higher levels of the cancer-causing chemicals than nonsmokers.
Chemicals like acrolein, propylene oxide, acrylamide and crotonaldehyde and acrylonitrile, a chemical found in fruit flavored e-cigarettes.
Community education specialist for Shasta County’s tobacco program Manuel Meza says they’re well aware of the dangers of vaping.
In fact that information is part of the presentations they give to teens at local high schools.
“We touch on vaping and electronic cigarettes and how electronic cigarettes also have some chemicals that have been found to cause cancer,” Meza said.
He says companies also try to indirectly market their products to youth with visually-appealing packaging and colors.
“The way they advertise them is they have different flavors and different flashy packages so they look more like candy,” Meza said.
But one industry proponent said headlines about vaping tend to be misleading and they don't tell the entire truth.
“So while it sounds awful, they don't compare it to cigarettes and they're not telling you what the levels in these devices are,” owner of Norcal Vape Keri Hess said. “Also the sample size of the study was extremely small.”
Hess said there are countless other studies that prove vaping is 95 percent safer than smoking traditional cigarettes.
In fact, the American Cancer Society just recently changed its position on e-cigarettes and recommends physicians offer them to patients as a way to quit smoking.
So until more information comes out, the jury could still be out on the e-cigarette debate.