The varied array of fruit and candy flavors that tempt millions of young people to embrace vaping can actually damage their hearts, a preclinical research led by the University of South Florida Health (USF Health) found. More studies demonstrate that the nicotine and other various chemicals delivered by e-cigarettes, while usually less toxic than regular cigarettes, can seriously harm the lungs and heart.
“But so far there has been no clear understanding about what happens when the vaporized flavoring molecules in flavored vaping products, after being inhaled, enter the bloodstream and reach the heart,” said the research’s principal investigator Sami Noujaim, Ph.D., an associate professor of molecular pharmacology and physiology at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.
Vape Flavorings Harm the Lungs and Heart
In their paper published on November 20th in the American Journal of Psychology – Heart and Circulation Psychology, Dr. Noujaim and colleagues wrote about a series of experiments analyzing the toxicity of vape flavorings in cardiac cells and young mice.
“The flavored electronic nicotine delivery systems widely popular among teens and young adults are not harm-free,” Dr. Noujaim said. “Altogether, our findings in the cells and mice indicate that vaping does interfere with the normal functioning of the heart and can potentially lead to cardiac rhythm disturbances.”
Dr. Noujaim’s lab is one of the first beginning to assay the potential cardiotoxic impacts of the numerous flavoring chemicals added to the e-liquids in electronic nicotine delivery systems or ENDS. Usually referred to as e-cigarettes, ENDS include various products such as vape pens, pods, and mods.
Vaping involves inhaling an aerosol created by heating an e-liquid that contains nicotine, solvents including propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, along with flavorings. The vaping device’s heat, powered by a battery, converts this e-liquid into an aerosolized mixture that looks like smoke, also known as e-vapor.
E-cigarettes Faux Facts Advertising
Manufacturers market e-cigarettes as a handy tool to help quit smoking, but there’s no evidence of their effectiveness for smoking cessation, and they are also not FDA approved for this use. E-cigarettes contain the exact same amount of the highly-addictive nicotine found in tobacco products. Still, many teens and young adults think they are safe.
“Our research matters because regulation of the vaping industry is a work in progress,” Dr. Noujaim said. “The FDA needs input from the scientific community about all the possible risks of vaping in order to effectively regulate electronic nicotine delivery systems and protect the public’s health. At USF Health, in particular, we will continue to examine how vaping may adversely affect cardiac health.”