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Researchers Repeating Mint Errors

Researchers at the Duke University School of Medicine in North Carolina have repeated errors they made in 2019 to claim vapers are inhaling dangerous levels of a substance

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Researchers at the Duke University School of Medicine in North Carolina have produced work saying that vapers are “inhaling potentially dangerous levels of a synthetic cooling agent used to mimic mint and menthol flavours”. They are repeating the errors they made when claiming daily use of mint and menthol eLiquids exposed vapers to high concentrations of a carcinogenic additive called pulegone.

Lead author Professor Sven-Eric Jordt has a history of producing electronic cigarette research that is always negative about vaping and frequently criticised by independent scientists and harm reduction experts. This latest study weas presented to the American Thoracic Society 2022 International Conference - the American Thoracic Society is a devotedly anti-vape body.

Jordt’s team looked at online sites searching for the terms "koolada", "kool/cool", "ice", or WS3/WS23. Then, “Margin of exposure (MOE), a risk assessment parameter, was calculated to assess the risk associated with synthetic coolant exposure from E-cigarette use.”

They concluded: “Synthetic cooling agents (WS3/WS23) were present in US-marketed E-cigarettes, at levels that may result in consumer exposures exceeding safety thresholds set by regulatory agencies. Synthetic coolants are not only found in mint-or menthol-flavoured products, but also in fruit- and candy-flavoured products, including popular disposable E-cigarette products such as Puffbar.”

Professor Alan Boobis OBE, Emeritus Professor of Toxicology at Imperial College London and Chair of The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) commented on the work: “It is useful to know that such substances are found in some ENDS [electronic nicotine delivery systems], to help in their continued evaluation. However, it is difficult to make any definitive comments on this, as information on the assumptions made in modelling exposure is not provided, nor on what toxicological values were used to assesses the MOEs.

“These substances have not been assessed by COT and to determine the absolute risk to users of ENDS would require assessment using the procedure developed by COT for that purpose, including information on exposure of the UK population. Should there be a health concern, this should be addressed by manufacturers to the extent possible.

“However, when considering the possible impact of constituents in ENDS on human health, it is important to determine the risk relative to that of continuing to smoke conventional cigarettes. Hence, the nature (severity and reversibility) of the adverse health effect of any constituent and the magnitude of exceedance of safe exposure values need to be taken into account."

Jordt is the type of enlightened person who denies that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking.

In 2019, his pulegone study was slammed by Professor Paul Aveyard, Professor of Behavioural Medicine at University of Oxford. He said that Jordt had made massive flaws in his assumptions and failed to measure the precise thing his conclusion said it found.

Dr Lion Shahab added: “The study did not assess actual exposure in humans which is important because exposure is not simply a function of e-liquid constituents but also of the interaction between users and how they use e-cigarettes to warm up the e-liquid.”

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Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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