n 2014, Oxford Dictionaries selected vape as their word of the year. Their selection reflected the sudden stratospheric popularity of electronic cigarettes, with readers 30 times more likely to encounter vape in news media that year than they were just two years before. Nowhere was their popularity more swift—and alarming—than with young people. As many as one in four teens have tried e-cigarettes, and children as young as 12 are now more likely to vape than they are to smoke. To get more news about Heat not Burn tobacco products, you can visit hitaste official website.

When we first started tracking e-cigarettes in 2008, we saw no uptake, no uptake, no uptake … then there was this huge jump and they suddenly were everywhere,” says Ryan Kennedy, PhD, an assistant professor in Health, Behavior and Society and a faculty member in the Institute for Global Tobacco Control.

For public health scientists, this has meant embarking on a quest to understand the potential health risks associated with vaping in order to inform both e-cigarette users and policymakers. Ranging from cigarette look-alikes to sleek, USB-rechargeable devices, e-cigarettes all heat a liquid to create an aerosol or vapor that users inhale. Early advertisements touted e-cigarettes as a safe alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes because they didn’t expose users to harmful combustion byproducts. Scientists in the U.K. and Europe have begun to think of e-cigarettes as a way to reduce the harms from cigarette smoking. But a recent spate of studies reveals that vaping may not be as safe as many public health officials hoped. Dangers ranging from flavorings in the e-liquids to metals in the heating coil may cause long-term health effects. Even if vaping proves safer than smoking, that’s still a long way from a gold stamp for their safety, according to Ana María Rule, PhD ’05, MHS ’98, an assistant professor in Environmental Health and Engineering.

Recent work by Rule and other scientists published in Environmental Health Perspectives in February found high levels of heavy metals in many e-cigarette aerosols, including arsenic and cadmium in some of the samples. This and other research is creating a more nuanced picture of the potential hazards of vaping that will influence how the FDA decides to regulate e-cigarettes.