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Researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center found that e-cigarette flavors like butter and cinnamon, among others, contained harmful chemicals. (WBMA)

Puff, puff, pass it up? E-cig flavors toxic, study finds

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By ANDREW DONLEY, ABC 33/40

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBMA) - You've seen the clouds, maybe even blown a few yourself. Vaping is a part of American culture, like it or not.

If you do like it, you might want to take a look at this medical study.

Researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center found that e-cigarette flavors like butter and cinnamon, among others, contained harmful chemicals.

There's a lot of conflicting information about e-liquids, so ABC 33/40 spoke with one local doctor to clear the air.

"There's a membrane that's 12 football fields long that's folded up in your lungs [which] absorb oxygen; they do a good job of it, the problem is they also absorb that other stuff. It's crazy," said Dr. Michael Vaughn.

So, when Vaughn sees people inhaling e-liquids, some of which have been used in food, like flavoring for popcorn, he has concerns.

"You could eat a leaf and it wouldn't hurt you but you wouldn't want to inhale the smoke from a burning leaf," said Vaughn.

It's a little extreme -- which could also be said about smoking something without having any knowledge of what it is or how it will affect the body.

"If you're going to put something in your body, you want to know what it is," said Vaughn.

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The e-cig flavorings' chemicals may damage white blood cells and the lung membrane that Vaughn described.

"[It] probably is toxic to your lungs," said Vaughn.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, e-cigs have the potential to benefit adult smokers if used as a complete substitute for smoked tobacco.

"It's probably better than cigarette smoking, but the more we find out about it, it's not that much better," said Vaughn.

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