Electronic cigarettes may expose users to a potentially harmful chemical. A research team led by Dr. Maciej Goniewicz, of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, found that benzaldehyde, a food flavoring, can irritate the respiratory tract.
Goniewicz says, the chemical is most highly concentrated in the vapor of cherry-flavored products. He suggests that users find an alternative if vaping causes a sore throat, cough or other symptoms.
"These symptoms, if they feel bad, may disappear once they change to the different product. So it's very important, stay away from smoking. Don't come back to smoking. Try a different product. Try a different flavoring. It may help," Goniewicz said.
The study is just the first step, Goniewicz says, towards understanding the "big unknown," about inhaling chemicals with an electronic cigarette. He says researchers will also be looking at the effect of chemical flavorings on the body's respiratory cells.
At the same time, Goniewicz says he doesn't want to discourage people who have switched from tobacco to electronic cigarettes.