E-cigarettes are common with people who are working towards quitting smoking. The latest report from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 10% of US smokers have tried using e-cigarettes at least once and around 4% already use it on a daily basis. The promoters of e-cigarettes claim it to be a healthy alternative to the more harmful tobacco cigarettes.
Though the long-term effect of e-cigarettes can only be determined after research. There have been many studies already questioning the safety of using e-cigarettes and the effects of vaping nicotine-free e-cigarettes.
New research that investigates this topic has been published in the Radiology Journal. The study was carried out at the Structural, Physiologic as well as Functional Laboratory imaging University of Pennsylvania of Philadelphia by a post-doctoral researcher called Alessandra Caporale.
The study involved around 31 healthy non-smoking adults in the age group of 24 years. An MRI was undertaken before and after them using nicotine-free e-cigarettes. The participants had to take 16 puffs in total with each lasting for 3 seconds.
The e-cigarette content was free from nicotine but included glycerol and propylene glycol with a tobacco flavor. The researchers measured ‘reactive hyperemia’ or a short rise in the arterial blood flow post occlusion, of their subjects after they constricted and released their blood vessels.
The MRI scans did show that there was a reduction in the femoral artery’s blood flow. The Femoral is the main artery responsible for delivering blood to the thigh and leg area of the body. Another note that the team made was about a reduction in reactive hyperemia as well.
Based on the study, the researchers concluded that smoking nicotine-free e-cigarette aerosol does affect the endothelial function in healthy smokers transiently. Endothelial is the thin cell layer that lines the inner side of blood vessels. If the endothelium is damaged, it will lead to thickening of the arteries and thus poor blood circulation. This could further lead to life-threatening conditions like stroke or heart attack.
The final results showed that there was a decrease in dilation in the femoral artery by 34%. Post vaping while the venous oxygen levels dropped by 20%, the blood flow by 17.5%, and the reactive hyperemia by almost 26%. The results as per the main investigator and professor of radiologic science as well as biophysics Dr. Felix W Wehrli mean that the liquid of the e-cigarettes was to some extent harmless but the process of vaporization had the ability to transform the primary molecules namely glycerol and propylene glycol into toxic substances. Vaping also has an instant and sudden effect on the vascular function of the body and could have harmful effects in the long run.
So, if you use e-cigarettes, be warned that they aren’t really a safe alternative as per the results of the study and that if you are planning to start, do not.