Vape Liquid Can Negatively Impact Vascular Health, Even Without Nicotine


Aug 27, 2019


Inhaling a vaporized liquid through an e-cigarette immediately impacts vascular function, even when the liquid does not contain nicotine, according to new research published in the journal Radiology.

The process of inhaling vaporized liquid is known as vaping, which has become a common replacement for cigarette smoking. The liquid used in vaping devices usually contains propylene glycol/vegetable glycerin-based liquid, flavoring, occasionally nicotine and other chemicals. Sometimes, vapes are also used to inhale THC, the mind-altering chemical found in marijuana, or other synthetic drugs.

“The use of e-cigarettes is a current public health issue because of widespread use, especially among teenagers, and the fact that the devices are advertised as safe despite uncertainty about the effects of long-term use,” said Alessandra Caporale, Ph.D., a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, in a statement.

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To study the effects of vaping on vascular function, researchers performed MRI exams of the femoral artery, aorta, and brains of 31 healthy, non-smoking young individuals with an average age of 24. The exams were conducted before and after the subjects inhaled nicotine-free e-cigarette vapor.

The comparison of pre- and post-MRI data showed that a single episode of vaping resulted in reduced blood flow and impaired vascular reactivity in the femoral artery. There was a 34% reduction in the dilation of the artery when blood flow increased. The researchers also found a 3% increase in the rate at which pressure waves move down the aorta, which means increased blood pressure, known to increase the risk of heart attacks.

Previous studies have also linked flavoring liquids used for vaping to heart disease. According to Euromonitor International statistics, the number of vapers has increased from 7 million in 2011 to 35 million in 2016. It also estimates the number of vaping adults worldwide will reach 55 million by 2021.


Written By Aditi Murti

Aditi Murti is a culture writer at The Swaddle. Previously, she worked as a freelance journalist focused on gender and cities. Find her on social media @aditimurti.


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