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Nicotine-Free E-Cigarettes Can Also Harm You, Study Warns

The industry introduced e-cigarettes to help people avoid disease-causing tobacco. But a new study found that smoking the nicotine-free alternatives can also negatively affect the body.

Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania said a single time of smoking e-cigarettes can already damage blood vessels, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. The study was published in the journal Radiology

"While e-cigarette liquid may be relatively harmless, the vaporization process can transform the molecules -- primarily propylene glycol and glycerol -- into toxic substances," Felix Wehrli, lead researcher and a professor of radiologic science and biophysics, said in a statement. "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."

In the study, 31 healthy, non-smoking adults took MRI exams before and after using a nicotine-free e-cigarette. Researchers provided vapes that contained propylene glycol and glycerol with tobacco flavoring. 

Each participant did 16, three-second puffs. The researchers then evaluated each vaper’s vascular reactivity. 

Results showed that a single episode of vaping caused lower blood flow and impaired endothelial function in an artery that provides blood to the thigh and leg. These changes affect the endothelium, the lines on the surface of blood vessels that support blood circulation. 

Researchers said a less functioning endothelium could cut blood flow to the heart and the brain that could trigger a heart attack or stroke.

"E-cigarettes are advertised as not harmful, and many e-cigarette users are convinced that they are just inhaling water vapor," Alessandra Caporale, lead study author and a postdoctoral researcher at Penn, said. "But the solvents, flavorings and additives in the liquid base, after vaporization, expose users to multiple insults to the respiratory tract and blood vessels."

To date, there are more than 10 million adults who use e-cigarettes in the U.S. It has been getting more attention among teens and young adults. 

But there have been reports about people who suffered from severe lung injury that doctors linked to the use of e-cigarettes. Health experts said people should consider that the effects of vaping are still unclear.

More studies are required to better understand how long-term use of these tobacco alternatives will affect the body.

vape The medical community continues to conduct studies to understand how e-cigars or vaping could affect the body. Pixabay

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