AUG 11, 2021 11:39 AM PDT

Vaping Seems to Rapidly Increase Oxidative Stress

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Even though we know now that vaping is harmful and addictive, it's still thought to be healthier than smoking cigarettes, for the simple reason that e-cigarettes are assumed to contain far fewer chemicals than tobacco cigarettes, which are estimated to contain 7,000 chemicals or more. But e-cigarettes are not safe. Now a study reported in JAMA Pediatrics has determined that it only takes a single 30-minute session of vaping to increase oxidative stress in the immune cells of healthy people.

Image credit: Pxfuel

Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance in the very reactive chemicals in the body known as free radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS), and cellular mechanisms like antioxidants that can neutralize them. ROS are normal byproducts of cellular processes and can be important to physiology, but if they accumulate they can lead to tissue damage and disease. Oxidative stress has been linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and many other disorders.

In this small study, 32 volunteers aged 21 to 33 were put in three groups based on their habits; eleven people were nonsmokers, nine smoked tobacco regularly, and twelve smoked e-cigarettes regularly. Immune cells were collected from the participants before and after a 30-minute vaping session, and another control session in which the volunteers puffed on a straw and air. The researchers assessed the levels of oxidative stress in the cells, and then compared them among the groups.

The research indicated that oxidative stress levels were twice to four times as high after nonsmokers vaped compared to before vaping. However, this increase was not seen in the regular smokers of either e-cigarettes or regular cigarettes. The study authors suggested that the baseline levels of oxidative stress are already high in the smokers and vapers.

“We were surprised by the gravity of the effect that one vaping session can have on healthy young people. This brief vaping session was not dissimilar to what they may experience at a party, yet the effects were dramatic," noted the senior study author, Dr. Holly Middlekauff, a professor of cardiology and physiology at UCLA.

Vaping continues to increase in popularity especially among teens and young adults, making the results particularly troubling, said the researchers.

More research will be needed to determine why oxidative stress rises, and whether it's due to nicotine or something else. Middlekauff's team is planning to pursue that question.

“While there’s a perception that e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco cigarettes, these findings show clearly and definitively that there is no safe level of vaping,” Middlekauff said. “The results are clear, unambiguous and concerning.”

Sources: AAAS/Eurekalert! via University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA) Health Sciences, JAMA Pediatrics

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
MAR 25, 2021
Cardiology
Improved Triage Method to Get STEMI Patients from Door to Treatment
MAR 25, 2021
Improved Triage Method to Get STEMI Patients from Door to Treatment
A heart attack is an incredibly sudden and dangerous cardiac event that requires quick action for a successful recovery. ...
MAY 19, 2021
Health & Medicine
Who Ages Better, Men or Women?
MAY 19, 2021
Who Ages Better, Men or Women?
The answer depends on what's considered more important – quantity or quality of years?  Previous studies ...
JUN 21, 2021
Health & Medicine
Essential Hypertension: The Basics
JUN 21, 2021
Essential Hypertension: The Basics
Also known as primary hypertension, essential hypertension is high blood pressure without a specific, known cause. It is ...
JUL 16, 2021
Technology
Echocardiogram May Help Predict COVID-19 Patients at Risk for Heart Complications
JUL 16, 2021
Echocardiogram May Help Predict COVID-19 Patients at Risk for Heart Complications
Researchers learned early on in the pandemic that COVID-19 infections caused a range of complications throughout the bod ...
AUG 20, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Blood Pressure Drugs Boost Survival in Colorectal Cancer
AUG 20, 2021
Blood Pressure Drugs Boost Survival in Colorectal Cancer
Common drugs used to regulate blood pressure may improve survival rates among patients with colorectal cancer, also know ...
SEP 16, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Your T-Shirt Could Soon Tell You if Your Heart Is Ok
SEP 16, 2021
Your T-Shirt Could Soon Tell You if Your Heart Is Ok
Forget uncomfortable chest straps or clunky wristbands—thanks to a new innovation in nanotechnology, your t-shirt ...
Loading Comments...