By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new study finds that some of the liquids used in e-cigarettes might be toxic.

Many people believe using e-cigarettes, or vaping, is a healthy alternative to smoking, but researchers say it’s possible e-cigs could be just as harmful.

Rose Dean used to smoke cigarettes but got tired of her friends’ complaints.

“Don’t smoke, it’s bad for you, OK, I know this,” said Dean.

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Dean says she stopped smoking cigarettes and now vapes instead.

“I prefer this because it does less harm to me it feels like,” said Dean.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill say that might not be true.

“The public doesn’t know anything about the safety of these new devices,” said researcher Flor Sassano.

With grant money from the FDA and NIH, these researchers have been studying the varying levels of toxicity in the about 7,700 different e-cigarette flavors.

“There is a concern that these are not as safe as people believe,” explained Sassano.

Research slides show normal human cells compared to cells exposed to e-liquid. Indicating the e-liquid makes human cells die much quicker than normal.

However, it’s still unclear what if any long-term health effects these smoking devices have on humans. That information could take years to determine.

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“Remember 40 years ago, doctors were recommending cigarettes,” said Sassano.

Rose says she knows e-cigs aren’t healthy but they do have some proven advantages over cigarettes.

“It’s better than smelling like an ash tray,” said Dean.

Also, there’s now a lawsuit related to the regulation of electronic cigarettes.

Several medical organizations filed suit against the FDA, alleging that delays in the regulation of e-cigs will potentially put teenagers in danger.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court by the American Lung Association and others.