The safety of e-cigarettes, or vaping devices, has been the topic of fierce debate recently. Some advocates suggest that vaping devices may be beneficial for people trying to quit smoking because they offer a less addictive alternative to cigarettes without some of the harmful contaminants regular cigarettes have (such as tar). Simultaneously, there are growing claims that vaping devices are causing a growing number of younger people to become addicted to nicotine products, leading to bans on certain vaping products by US authorities. And yet the FDA is set to either approve or deny nearly 2 million new vaping products, highlighting that there is still popularity with these products.
Timely research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress highlights that vaping products that contain nicotine may still pose serious health risks, including an increased risk of blood clots, underscoring arguments that the widespread use of these products may be causing more harm than good.
The research team followed 22 participants (men and women) who sometimes smoked. The research objective was to measure physiological changes between participants who were asked to use a vaping device compared to those who did not use one. The team collected blood samples before and after use of a device to gauge any changes in hormone levels, and also performed tests that allowed them to measure any changes in participants' blood vessels.
Specifically, researchers found that the use of a vaping device led to the following:
These findings reinforce claims that vaping products containing nicotine can be just as harmful as using regular cigarettes, eroding support for claims that they are a viable solution for individuals trying to stop smoking.
“Some people may use e-cigarettes [vaping devices] when attempting to quit smoking because they are marketed as being safe, but this study adds to the growing evidence on the harmful effects of e-cigarettes. Other aids to quitting smoking which are evidenced-based and recommended by ERS, such as patches or gum, do not result in the lungs being exposed to high concentrations of potentially toxic compounds.”