Researchers bought 10 “nicotine‐free” e‐liquids of different brands and flavours from online and over-the-counter Australian suppliers. None of which had disclosed ingredient information on the packaging.
They found 60 per cent of the e-cigarettes contained highly addictive stimulants and all had traces of toxic chemical, 2-chlorophenol, which is usually found in insecticides, herbicides and disinfectants.
Head researcher on the project Alexander Larcombe told AAP that he was surprised to find the toxin as it is known to irritate human airways and skin.
“It’s classified as acutely toxic. We also found other things – by-products of animal or human bodily functions – which indicates the process of making the e-liquids might not be as clean as you might hope,” professor Larcombe said.
Ingredients commonly used to make soaps, detergents and solvents were also found in the liquids as well as benign food additives.
“The real take-home message here is that people are buying these liquids unaware of what’s in them, and there’s no way they can tell based on what the label says,” Larcombe added.
E‐liquids containing nicotine cannot legally be sold in Australia. however inaccurate labelling means retailers and consumers may be unaware of potential danger.
This study was a collaboration between Telethon Kids Institute, Curtin University and The University of Western Australia.