Teenagers who use e-cigarettes are exposed to significant levels of potentially cancer-causing chemicals also found in regular cigarettes, even when they do not contain nicotine, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) studied urine samples from 104 adolescents in the Bay Area with an average age of 16.4. Sixty-seven used e-cigarettes only and 17 used both e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco cigarettes. They were compared with a control group of 20 non-smoking teens.

Lead author Mark L. Rubinstein, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at UCSF, said in a press release, “Teenagers need to be warned that the vapor produced by e-cigarettes is not harmless water vapor, but actually contains some of the same toxic chemicals found in smoke from traditional cigarettes.”

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