Dripping, a new trend in smoking e-cigarettes was confirmed to be way more dangerous than regular vaping, according to a study from Yale University School of Medicine.
The technique is now more common because dripping produces thicker clouds of vapor and makes the vape flavor taste better. The danger comes from the vaping liquid being exposed to higher temperatures while dripping, releasing formaldehyde and acrolein, which are associated with chronic pulmonary disease and cancer.
To drip is to vape, but not the other way around
Regular vaping has the user inhaling vapor, which is produced when the e-cigarette heats up a special liquid which comes in many different flavors. The e-cigarette feeds liquid to the heating chamber, where an electric coil resides.
When the user manually drips the liquid onto the exposed heating coil, to then puff several times, the user inhales more vapor and can expel a thicker cloud. Dripping also allows changing between different e-cig liquid flavors without too much hassle.
According to lead researcher Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, heating the e-liquid at a higher temperature than what it is designed to sustain will provide a much higher dose of nicotine. Besides, data shows that e-cigarettes contain a diverse array of harmful chemicals such as glycerine and propylene glycol, known to cause cancer.
Researchers questioned teens from eight southeastern Connecticut high schools during spring 2015. 1,874 of them reported having vaped some time in their lives, and 26 percent of them admitted having tried dripping. Being a white male and having tried other tobacco products were factors that increased the probability for the teen to have tried dripping.
Dripping or not, it’s still addictive and dangerous
The study shows that even handling the liquid can be harmful, seeing that the liquid contains nicotine, and nicotine can be absorbed through contact with human skin. A large enough spillage of liquid on the heating coil could create a thick cloud containing toxic levels of nicotine.
According to Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s report issued last December, e-cigarettes are the most popular form of tobacco smoking for young consumers in the United States, surpassing the consumption level of both cigarettes and any other conventional method.
Nicotine levels vary depending on the flavor and the manufacturer, which means that certain vaping liquids may be more addictive than others. Health practitioners in the U.S. are on high alert concerning the dangers of vaping, mainly because they are still not sure about the long and short-term effects of using e-cigarettes.
On the other hand, flavor-enhancing additives in e-cigarette liquids are mostly based out of food additives. According to an investigation published by the American University of Beirut, common food additives such as saccharides which are sweet to taste are not meant for inhalation, and their combustion decomposes the chemical down to furan compounds, which are considered toxic.
“More study is needed. We can’t just assume e-cigarettes are being used the way everybody thinks they’re being used,” stated Krishnan-Sarin to CNN.