Published: Thu, February 09, 2017
Medical | By Dorothy Lyons

Teenage E-Cigarette Users Turn To 'Dripping' For More Intense Effect

Teenage E-Cigarette Users Turn To 'Dripping' For More Intense Effect

According to a new study published on Monday, February 6, in the journal Pediatrics, one in four teens who use e-cigs employ an alternative vaping technique called dripping.

Dripping is when e-cigarette liquid is dropped directly onto the hot coils of an e-cigarette to produce thicker, more flavor-filled smoke, USA Today reports.

Public health experts have been debating for a decade if the gadgets help be a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, or are a gateway to nicotine addiction for a younger generation.

Regular electronic cigarettes produce inhalable vapor by gradually drawing liquid into a heating coil through an automatic wick, explained lead researcher Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin.

Krishnan-Sarin said more research is needed to figure out if dripping is something tried once or occasionally, or if kids regularly drip - a question not asked in the survey.

"Although there is no evidence on the prevalence rates or toxicity of this behaviour among adults or youth, [researchers] have shown that dripping e-liquids directly onto the e-cigarette atomizers could expose users to high temperatures and toxic chemicals such as aldehydes", the study warned.

She said she learned about the practice while talking with teenagers, and chose to ask about it in a survey on e-cigarette use among high school students.

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The study, conducted in CT, found that among 1,874 students, 1,080 had tried vaping.

Among the teens surveyed, 64% said they dripped for the thicker smoke, 39% said it was for the heightened flavor, while 28% said it was for a stronger hit.

E- Cigarettes bringing a unsafe new trend for teens who vape. About 1,874 students reported having tried an e-cigarette, and 26 percent said they also tried "dripping".

Researchers have found though, that higher coil temperatures associated with dripping emit more harmful chemicals. "It's for monster clouds, and these individuals are manufacturing their own hardware", he said. "Many of them really don't have the background or ability to really put these things together".

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced its intention to regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products, but hasn't yet rolled out its new rules. "It's a lot of the "do-it-yourself" type guys that are into this". Almost all e-cigarettes would need a separate application for approval, and their sale to minors banned.

Krishnan-Sarin agrees: "What I always tell parents is that we know very little, I think, about the short and long-term effects of e-cigarettes".

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