The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) expressed concern over the rising use of e-cigarettes among adolescents, as a survey past year showed that 80.9 percent of e-liquids contained nicotine and some also contained harmful or potentially harmful ingredients. A research coordinator made sure sure the participants did not cough or swallow the vapor. Comparing the pre- and post-MRI data, the single episode of vaping resulted in reduced blood flow and impaired endothelial function in the large (femoral) artery that supplies blood to the thigh and leg.
The researchers applied a cuff to the participants' thighs to constrict the blood vessels, measuring how quickly blood flowed following its release and using an MRI procedure to observe changes in vascular function.
'E-cigarettes are advertised as not harmful, and many e-cigarette users are convinced that they are just inhaling water vapor, ' said lead study author, Dr Alessandra Caporale. "But the solvents, flavorings and additives in the liquid base, after vaporization, expose users to multiple insults to the respiratory tract and blood vessels". Citing data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) showing a spike in e-cigarette use by teenagers a year ago, he anxious that vaping would ultimately lead to more smoking.
While the blood vessels return to normal after vaping, the researchers are anxious about the long-term effects on people's cardiovascular health.
The study is the most recent addition to a proliferation of research aiming to measure the impact of e-cigarettes on the heart, blood vessels, lungs and brain.
"Beyond the harmful effects of nicotine, we've shown that vaping has a sudden, immediate effect on the body's vascular function, and could potentially lead to long-term harmful consequences".
Meanwhile, the surgeon general of the United States has described youth e-cigarette use as an "unprecedented epidemic".
For this study, researchers measured the effects of inhaling nicotine-free e-cigarette aerosol by performing MRIs on non-smoker participants before and after inhalation to look for things like vascular reactivity and tone changes.
"While e-cigarette liquid may be relatively harmless, the vaporisation process can transform the molecules-primarily propylene glycol and glycerol-into toxic substances", said Felix W. Wehrli, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the US. Until then, one health advocate says, "E-cigarettes are guilty until proven innocent".
This article was originally published by Pharmacy Times.