The Ministry of Health and Drug Safety said it has detected risky substances such as vitamin E acetate and flavorings, potentially linked to lung diseases, in some liquid e-cigarettes.
The announcement came after the ministry investigated seven critical ingredients in liquid e-cigarettes currently distributed in the local market. The government recommended discontinuing the use of all liquid e-cigarettes until it announces the results of its comprehensive research on the substances’ harmfulness to humans.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also investigate the seven ingredients and disclose the results in the first half of next year.
The analysis of the seven substances, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), vitamin E acetate, and three flavorings (diacetyl, acetoin, 2,3-pentanedione), in 153 liquid e-cigarettes showed that the products did not have any THC. However, some cigarettes had vitamin E acetate and flavorings that are likely to cause lung diseases, the ministry said on Thursday.
Any of the cigarettes did not have THC probably because Korea bans the use of marijuana, the ministry noted.
The 13 types of e-cigarettes that contained vitamin E acetate are Juul Pod Crisp (Juul Labs), Siid Tobac (KT&G), X Pod Peach, X Pod Menthol (Monsters), Staroar Peach Paradise (My Vaper), Ignis Ice Peach (Lasal Korea), Swidn Ice Demon Green (unknown manufacturer), Alchemaster Mango Slush (Alchemaster), Soo Liquid 2 Snow Peach (WPN), I Love Aloe (JR Food), Cake Hazelnut Milk Tobacco (Cake Paper), ziri9 jmt Mix Melon (unknown manufacturer), and Labit Real Mango (Sinyoung Labit).
Forty-three types of the e-cigarettes contained at least one flavoring, and six products, three flavorings. Twenty-nine products had 0.3-115.0 ppm of diacetyl, 30 cigarettes, 0.8-840.0 ppm of acetoin, and nine products, 0.3-190.3 ppm of 2,3-pentanedione.
“Most liquid e-cigarettes have flavorings, so other products that did not contain the three substances must have used other flavorings. We need an additional study on other flavoring ingredients that may cause lung illnesses,” the food and drug safety ministry said.
Six products that simultaneously had the three types of flavorings (diacetyl, acetoin, and 2,3-pentanedione) are Cream of the Crop Salt (unknown manufacturer), BLVK Unicorn Tobacco Caramel (BLVK unicorn), Goddess Strawberry (Y Ten), Secret Recipe Luwak & Poppy Corn Chocolate (E&B), and Picnic Java Chip Milk Banana (VPS Korea).
Propylene glycol (PG) and glycerin (VG), which make up most of the liquid e-cigarette ingredients, were found in all the 153 products.
“To date, no clear hazard has been reported for both ingredients, but further research is needed to identify the harmfulness,” the food and drug safety ministry said.
In the first half of next year, the ministry also plans to carry out harmful substance analysis on emissions that are directly inhaled and affect the human body. Six substances such as vitamin E acetate, three flavors, propylene glycol, and glycerin, and nine major harmful chemicals, including nicotine, six carbonyl-related substances, and tobacco-specific nitrosamines, will be subject to the analysis.