Study Reveals that E-cigarettes Used for 'Dripping' by Teens

Posted February 09, 2017

Not all e-cigarette products contain nicotine, but increased nicotine levels can lead to stronger throat hits.

E-cigarettes heat liquid and turn it into vapor, which a user inhales and then exhales in a large puffy cloud.

Dr. Krishnan-Sarin says many kids who are vaping are not smokers. Dripping may expose users to higher levels of nicotine as well as to harmful non-nicotine toxins, like acetaldehyde and formaldehyde, which are carcinogens.

For her research, Krishnan-Sarin had 7,045 students from eight CT high schools answer an anonymous survey on tobacco use.

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Researchers reviewed survey responses from 1,080 e-cigarette users at eight CT high schools and learned that 26.1 percent had tried dripping.

Dripping produces thicker clouds of vapor, gives a stronger sensation in the throat and makes flavors taste better, according to a study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. Sometimes, the liquid is contained in the device that's disposable or rechargeable. "Still, he said that 'it's much better to have them play around with vaping devices versus conventional tobacco", a product he believes is more harmful to health than e-cigarettes.

"If the e-liquid is vaporized at a high temperature, you could get a big shot of nicotine", Krishnan-Sarin said.

They did not ask whether the students added nicotine to e-liquids for dripping, or how often the devices were used for dripping.

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Reasons the students gave for dripping included producing thicker clouds of vapor (64 percent), which suggests these users may engage in smoke tricks or vape competitions, the study authors said.

Experts warn the risky new fad, known as "dripping", drastically increases one's risk of being exposed to toxins and nicotine, which is normally limited by the device. "Many of them really don't have the background or ability to really put these things together". Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association's CEO, Ray Story, for example, says that there will always be some extreme groups who will use any given product in alternative ways, including e-cigarettes. "It's a lot of the "do-it-yourself" type guys that are into this". In general, the process of vaping relies on the e-cigarette's wick (passed through a coil), and tank.

In August, the Food and Drug Administration began regulating all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, prohibiting sales to youths under the age of 18.

Professor Shihadeh says some people resort to the alternative vaping technique because it allows the e-cigs users to conveniently change between liquid flavors without wasting liquid.

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Krishnan-Sarin, however, said more research is needed on the long- and short-term effects of e-cigarettes.