(CNN) – New research finds a quarter of teens who vape say they’ve used e-cigarettes for an alternative technique known as “dripping.”
That number is more alarming when you take into account a December report from the surgeon general which says e-cigs are the most commonly used form of tobacco among young people in the United States
Dripping exposes these young vapers to a whole new set of risks. The normal process of vaping relies on an e-cigarette’s reservoir and wick to feed a liquid to a heating coil within the device. The liquid turns into a vapor which is then inhaled.
Dripping is when a user bypasses the usual battery-operated process and manually drips the liquid directly onto the coil.
According to a study in the journal pediatrics, dripping creates thicker clouds of vapor, gives a stronger sensation in the throat and makes flavors taste better.
Unfortunately dripping also increases the release of harmful chemicals. The toxins are linked to cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a progressive illness that makes it difficult to breathe.
Handling the liquid so often also means there is a greater risk of skin contact. If enough liquid is spilled a vapor could be exposed to toxic levels of nicotine.
Even before dripping became an issue, other health concerns led the FDA to announce it would regulate e-cigarettes the same way it regulates other tobacco products.