E-Cigarettes and Vaping
Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), also known as e-cigarettes or “vaping,” are becoming more popular in use, especially among young adolescents. Many cultural and behavioral factors have contributed to this increase, notably the perception that ENDS is a safer alternative to cigarettes and other traditional tobacco products.
More than 3.6 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in 2018 – a 48 percent increase in use among middle school students and a 78 percent increase in use among high school students from 2017 to 2018. Subsequently, the number of hospital admittances by otherwise healthy young people is increasing due to lung injuries from ENDS use. From 2019 to 2020, more than 2,500 people, including youth, ended up in the hospital due to severe lung illnesses and other health problems after e-cigarette use. Physicians and government agencies are currently working to identify the cause(s) of these lung injuries from ENDS use. However, many research gaps still exist.
Chemical Insights’ study, in collaboration with Georgia State University, will address some of the following research gaps that exist on ENDS emission and toxicity correlations: (1) Characterizing coarse, fine and ultrafine particle emissions separating by size range; (2) Characterizing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions; and (3) Direct measurement of ENDS particle toxicity via cellular assays.
In 2019, our scientific research focused on the design and development of a robot that automatically mimics smoking motion for research applications. Smoke was then released in a specialized exposure chamber to measure chemical exposure and human toxicity.