E-cigarettes contain unknown substances that could have health risks that we do not yet know about.

E-cigarettes contain unknown substances that could have health risks that we do not yet know about.

A new study , conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, suggests that people who vape are using a product whose risks have not yet been fully determined and could be exposing themselves to chemicals with adverse health effects.

The study is the first to apply an advanced fingerprinting technique to vaping liquids and aerosols that is used to identify chemicals in food and wastewater.

Thousands of unknown chemicals

Using a high-resolution liquid chromatography / mass spectrometry-based chemical fingerprint technique, never used in vaping samples but used before to identify organic compounds in wastewater, food and blood, the team tested four popular products: Mi-Salt , Vuse, Juul and Blu . Although it is possible to buy vaping products in hundreds of flavors, here for consistency they only tried tobacco-flavored liquids.

They found thousands of unknown chemicals in the liquid and the amount of compounds increased significantly in the aerosol. In addition, they detected hydrocarbon-like compounds, typically associated with combustion, that manufacturers say take place during vaping. In traditional cigarettes, the condensed hydrocarbons generated during combustion are toxic.

Specifically, the team found nearly 2,000 chemicals, the vast majority of which are unidentified. Of those the team was able to identify, six substances were potentially harmful , including three chemicals never before found in e-cigarettes.

In fact, stimulant caffeine was found in two of the four products. Caffeine has been previously detected in e-cigarettes, but only in caffeine-oriented flavors like coffee and chocolate. In addition to caffeine, the team found three industrial chemicals, a pesticide, and two scents linked to potential toxic effects and respiratory irritation.