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Vaping Could Damage Blood Vessels

Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Even without nicotine, vaping could damage the body in other ways.

There are many concerns over vaping, but a newly arisen concern is that it creates dangerous toxins that temporarily reduce blood flow and damage blood vessels. Many of these effects were seen in people who were using e-cigarettes with the absence of nicotine.

Many cases related to vaping have landed people in the hospital, which has sparked up some curiosity as to why this is happening. Researchers noticed that many of the problems were spread well beyond the lungs into the body’s blood vessels and blood circulation.

To test this, 31 healthy adults that do not smoke were recruited to participate in the study. They were asked to have a tight cuff tied around their thighs, which would remain for a couple of minutes to restrict blood flow through a major vein and artery in the leg. This is known as the femoral artery and vein.

After a few minutes, the cuff was removed and an MRI was used to measure blood flow. When blood circulation is cut off, one would expect that the demand for increased blood flow would occur once access was regained. The tissue is starved of oxygen and nutrients, so it needs to be replenished quickly. The researchers saw that blood flowed much faster and returned to a normal velocity after a few minutes, confirming their initial theory.

They then re-administered the experiment, but this time had the participants take 16 puffs from an e-cigarette that did not contain nicotine. After a couple of minutes, they removed the cuff and noticed that the participants’ blood vessels did not dilate as much as before in order to let the blood in. The blood’s acceleration was almost 26% slower, blood flow was down 17.5%, and oxygen levels dropped by 20%.

Results clearly indicated that vaping just once can lead to temporary changes that impair the function of blood vessels. Since e-cigarettes come in different brands and flavors, the only constant in all of them was glycol and glycerol. When glycol and glycerol are heated to very high temperatures, they can create toxic substances. So, it makes sense that smoking e-cigarettes causes a toxic immune response.

The concern is that over the long term, people who vape consistently will not leave their body time to revert back to normal, which could lead to diseases over time.