Vaping has been growing in popularity—and rather quickly—and health experts warn that we are still learning of its long-term health effects. For example, a new study advises that using a vape pen just one time—and even without any nicotine—can potentially damage blood vessels, reduce overall blood flow, and release dangerous toxins into the blood stream.
The study identified that the heat used to turn e-cigarette liquid into vapor stirs up its compounds into a handful of toxic particles; it is these particles that can damage blood vessels.
To investigate further, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine looked at 31 MRI scans of healthy non-smokers before and after using a nicotine-free vapor device. Each person took one 3-second drag from a vape pen with flavored (but nicotine free) vape liquid a total of 16 times. After vaping, they found, blood flow decreased within the femoral artery. This is the body’s main artery that delivers blood to the legs. In addition, each person who drew on the vape pen also had lower circulation quality, less oxygen in the blood, and stiffer arteries.
Lead investigator Felix Wehrli explains, “The results of our study defeat the notion that e-cigarette vaping is harmless. Beyond the harmful effects of nicotine, we’ve shown that vaping has a sudden, immediate effect on the body’s vascular function, and could potentially lead to a long-term harmful consequences.”
Now, while Wehrli’s team certainly identified the origins of cardiovascular disease, in relation to vaping, it is important to note that these issues can still take several years to develop. For example, the researchers observed an average reduction in femoral artery dilation of 34 percent. On top of this, they also found that vaping could lead to more than 17 percent reduction in peak blood flow as well as a 20 percent reduction in overall vein oxygenation.