Below are past articles previously published in Drugs & Addiction Magazine. These are filled with current and relevant information and statistics and can be used as great conversation starters with youth.
It’s Bell Let’s Talk Day!January 30, 2019
Former Insys CEO pleads guilty to opioid kickback schemeJanuary 17, 2019
Resolve to Detox Your Social CircleJanuary 16, 2019
Easing test anxiety boosts low-income students’ biology gradesJanuary 15, 2019
Craving insight into addictionJanuary 14, 2019
People with low self-esteem tend to seek support in ways that backfire, study findsJanuary 10, 2019
Ban on cigarette sales in NYC pharmacies starts Jan. 1January 9, 2019
Too many problems? Maybe coping isn’t the answerJanuary 8, 2019
Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14January 3, 2019
Sexting TeensDecember 19, 2018
Screen Addiction: Today’s Biggest Threat to Schooling?December 19, 2018
Texting Etiquette & Safety: 5 Rules for Keeping Your Kids & Teens Secure & Drama-FreeDecember 17, 2018
Amnesty International: Indigenous Peoples’ rightsDecember 17, 2018
New Canadians sworn in as Winnipeg museum celebrates International Human Rights DayDecember 13, 2018
Statement by the Prime Minister on Human Rights DayDecember 12, 2018
Fentanyl is the deadliest drug in America, CDC confirmsDecember 12, 2018
The Illustrated Version of the Universal Declaration of Human RightsDecember 11, 2018
Homeless man with terminal cancer donates to holiday toy driveDecember 10, 2018
Boy gets Colorado town to overturn snowball fight banDecember 6, 2018
Fortnite addiction is forcing kids into video game rehabDecember 5, 2018
Clarity on CannabisDecember 4, 2018
Mental health education recommended for RCMP members following inquestNovember 30, 2018
Social Media – 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based ViolenceNovember 28, 2018
Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based ViolenceNovember 27, 2018
#GIVINGTUESDAY TODAY ONLY YOUR GIFT CAN BE MATCHEDNovember 27, 2018
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based ViolenceNovember 26, 2018
#ENDViolence in schoolsNovember 23, 2018
Statement by Minister MacLeod on National Child DayNovember 22, 2018
November 20th marks National Children’s Day across CanadaNovember 21, 2018
National Child DayNovember 20, 2018
Facts & FiguresNovember 16, 2018
The Push For Change®November 15, 2018
Winter Giving 101November 14, 2018
First came the stroke, then the inspiration…November 13, 2018
Canadian Youth Speakers Bureau: Scott HammellNovember 9, 2018
John Connors’ brilliant IFTA Award speechNovember 9, 2018
Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help PhoneNovember 8, 2018
This teen pizzeria employee traveled 3 hours to deliver pizza to a man with terminal cancerNovember 6, 2018
Video captures joyful law student’s reaction to passing her bar examNovember 5, 2018
MADD Canada launches annual red ribbon campaign in HalifaxNovember 2, 2018
Nova Scotia’s Health Department says talks underway for province’s first overdose prevention siteOctober 31, 2018
Crystal meth eclipsing opioids on the Prairies: ‘There’s no lack of meth on the street’October 29, 2018
Opioids Don’t Discriminate: An Interactive Experience.October 26, 2018
Guelph police warn drug users of spike in purple fentanylOctober 25, 2018
What exactly are you inhaling when you vape?October 23, 2018
Study ADHD Medication OverdosesJune 14, 2018
A Cry for GuidanceJanuary 18, 2018
Your Friend’s Substance AbuseSeptember 15, 2017
DepressionSeptember 15, 2017
MethamphetaminesSeptember 15, 2017
AlcoholSeptember 15, 2017
25 Healthy Ways to Feel BetterSeptember 15, 2017
What exactly are you inhaling when you vape?October 23, 2018
New study shows unexpected chemical reactions with flavouring in vape liquids
· CBC News
What happens when various chemical compounds and flavouring agents are mixed together and then inhaled into the lungs? Nobody knows for sure.
That’s because scientists are just beginning to investigate the health effects of vaping products.
A study published this week found unexpected new chemical combinations in vape liquids that appear to activate cellular irritant receptors.
“Once the components are mixed there are chemical reactions happening that form new compounds with completely unknown toxicity,” said Sven Jordt, a biochemist at Duke University School of Medicine.
That could suggest a new reason to be concerned about long-term health risks from vaping.
With the popularity of Juul and other trendy vaping products, researchers are becoming more interested in the effects of long-term exposure to the more than 7,000 flavouring chemicals used in vaping liquids on young lungs.
“There is a big wave of users now coming up that have never smoked before that start using e-cigarettes and they are exposed to these chemicals,” Jordt said.
Some of the e-cigarette flavours can contain aldehydes. That interested Jordt’s team, because aldehydes are one of the main irritants in smoke, causing coughing and inflammation. In their study, they looked at vanilla, cherry and cinnamon flavours.
When they tested the resulting vaping mixtures, they were surprised to discover new compounds called acetals had formed.
“What we see is these are not stable liquids and these flavours undergo chemical reaction modifications forming a wide range of compounds that we don’t know much about.”
The researchers tested the acetals in human cells to see if they could activate irritant receptors and “found that they are a stronger irritant than the actual original flavours.”
Because the potential toxicity of the new compounds is different than either the basic vaping ingredients, usually propylene glycol and glycerin, or the added flavouring chemicals, the study concluded that “e-liquids are potentially reactive chemical systems,” so just knowing the original ingredients is not enough to determine the long-term safety of the heated vapour.
“Some of these flavours are safe to use in food, but there is very little safety information when they are inhaled,” Jordt said.
“We know the lungs are much more sensitive to chemicals than the skin or the digestive tract so this needs to be studied separately if there is a potential for causing disease, inflammation, asthma or emphysema.”
Public health paradox
How worried should we be?
The answer reveals the public health paradox at the heart of the vaping craze. Compared to the profoundly toxic exposure from cigarettes, experts agree that it’s much safer to vape.
But for young people with no smoking habit and no intention to smoke cigarettes, chemicals in the flavoured vapour could pose long-term health risks that are still unknown.
Eric Liberda, inhalation toxicologist with Ryerson University’s School of Occupational and Public Health, said the results of Jordt’s study need to be reproduced in animal and human models before the true health impacts can be assessed.
“While vaping has been shown to be successful in terms of smoking cessation, this whole idea that youth have access to it and are not smokers to begin with but they’re vaping could potentially be an issue,” he said. “That still needs a lot more research.”
Health Canada has issued a guidance document for the vaping industry advising that flavour ingredients “should be of food grade or higher purity, and those substances with known inhalation risk (e.g., diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione) should not be used.”
Diacetyl is the chemical associated with a condition dubbed “popcorn lung” after workers in factories that made microwave popcorn developed lung disease from breathing in the flavouring. When added to vaping liquids, it creates a buttery or caramel flavour, while 2,3-pentanedione is a diacetyl substitute.
The company that makes the popular Juul vaping product says on its website it does not add those particular flavouring compounds. But no list of flavouring ingredients is provided.
So far, no vape flavouring chemicals have been formally banned by Health Canada.
“The use of flavours in vaping liquids is not restricted under theTobacco and Vaping Products Act,(TVPA),” Health Canada spokesperson Maryse Durette said in an email.
There are also no federal requirements to list the flavouring ingredients on vaping packages in Canada.
But companies are prohibited from promoting certain flavours on the packaging, including candy, dessert and soft drink, which might appeal to young people.
“While flavours help make vaping liquids palatable to adult smokers seeking a less harmful alternative to tobacco, the promotion of certain flavours may appeal to young persons and induce them to use these vaping products,” Durette said. “In this way, the TVPA seeks to achieve a balance between these competing public health interests.”
Health Canada is still examining various proposals for regulating the vaping industry, including the requirement to list ingredients on the packaging.
Jordt and his team concluded there is a need for “a rigorous process” by regulators “to monitor the potentially changing composition of e-liquids and e-vapors over time, to identify possible health hazards.”