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Study Finds 1 in 4 Teens Who Have Used E-Cigarettes Have Tried Dripping E-Liquids, Potentially Increasing Exposure to Toxins

A new study found a quarter of teens who have used electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) tried “dripping” e-liquids directly onto the heating coils for thicker clouds of vapor, a practice with possible health risks. For the study in the March 2017 Pediatrics, “E-Cigarettes and`Dripping’ Among High-School Youth,” (published online Feb. 6), researchers surveyed 7,045 students at eight Connecticut high schools. Among the 1,080 respondents who had ever used e-cigarettes, more than 26 percent had used e-cigarettes for dripping. Reasons cited for dripping included producing thicker clouds of vapor (64 percent), better flavor (39 percent), a stronger throat hit (28 percent) and others such as curiosity (22 percent). While currently there is no evidence of harmful effects beyond those associated with e-cigarettes in general, study authors said, other existing research suggests that dripping liquid nicotine directly onto the devices’ atomizers can expose users to high temperatures and toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acetone in the vapors, and to higher levels of nicotine if the e-liquid used contains nicotine. Especially as e-cigarettes become more popular among youth, they said, there remains a “critical need” to better understand potential health risks from the devices, including the risks produced by variations of use such as dripping.


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.

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