New research shows e-cigarettes could be exposing users to toxic chemicals

(CBS) -- More and more teenagers have been trying e-cigarettes. Now a new study in the journal Pediatrics shows teens who use them are exposed to significant levels of chemicals that could potentially cause cancer.. also found in traditional cigarettes

"One of the chemicals is called Acrolein and it’s is so toxic that it is used in chemical weapons," says Dr. Jon Spangler with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. "Acrylonitrile is another chemical that's found in the study. If you breathe it in it will irritate your lungs. It also is possibly related to brain cancer and breast cancer."

Teens who used e-cigarettes had three times the amount of toxic chemicals compared to teens who didn't use them. Among teens who used both traditional and e-cigaretttes, those toxic chemical levels were up to three times higher than in only e-cigarette users.

E-cigarettes are so popular that they’re now the most commonly used form of tobacco among teens in the United States.

Dr. Spangler cautions the long-term effects of vaping are not known.

"Electronic cigarettes generate nicotine in the vapor. And nicotine is a toxin to the growing, developing brain," he says. "These are not benign chemicals, that we don't need to worry about. These are things that we need to warn our children and young adults about. We need to tell our patients that these can be toxic as well."

The most recent data shows more than two million middle school and high school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2016.