Vaping: Dangerous without Nicotine

Scientists have been alerting us that vaping is dangerous. Since the introduction of e-cigarettes there has been ongoing debate about the relative benefits and risks of the devices. Numerous studies have been conducted to understand those risks and benefits. Particular attention has been given to the effects of vaping on teens. Soon after their introduction, many smokers embraced e-cigarettes as a way to stop smoking or as a substitute for nicotine-Woman vaping SM - Isabella Mendes-pexels-photo-338710loaded cigarettes. Since then, we have learned that many e-cigarettes contain more nicotine than cigarettes (making them more addictive). A new report claims that even the e-cigarettes without nicotine are dangerous to users.

A massive report (600+ pages) presents the analysis of 800 peer-reviewed studies of vaping. Its conclusion was that vaping requires far more caution than previously recognized, particularly for young smokers. Recent studies have raised concerns about the ingredients in e-cigarettes that are not related to nicotine.

Effects of Vaping

One article published in the journal of the American Heart Association, “Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis and vascular biology,” argues that the flavor additives in these e-cigarettes may impair the proper functioning of blood vessels. Another article, by Jessica L. Fetterman, PhD (assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School Medicine), identifies nine chemicals used as flavoring agents in many e-cigarettes:

  • Menthol (mint)
  • Acetylpyridine (burnt flavor)
  • Vanillin (vanilla)
  • Cinnamaldehyde (cinnamon)
  • Eugenol (clove)
  • Diacetyl (butter)
  • Dimethylpyrazine (strawberry)
  • Isoamyl acetate (banana)
  • Eucalyptol (spicy cooling)

These chemicals were tested to understand their effects on endothelial cells, which line blood vessels and the inside of the heart. These lab tests found that they damage the endothelial cells at the highest chemical levels tested. Some of the chemical also caused higher levels of an inflammatory marker called interleukin-6 at all concentrations. These chemicals also reduced levels of nitric oxide, which inhibits inflammation and clotting, and promotes vasodilation in response to greater blood flow. Dr. Fetterman concluded, “Increased inflammation and a loss of nitric oxide are some of the first changes to occur leading up to cardiovascular disease and events like heart attacks and stroke, so they are considered early predictors of heart disease.”

These flavoring chemicals are dangerous and affect blood vessels and the heart. Perhaps most alarming is the fact that the chemicals are more dangerous when combined.

Research is moving at a rapid pace and can be expected to continue at that pace. The chemicals in e-cigarettes are believed to be damaging to the circulatory system. The chemicals also damage monocytes (immune cells), resulting in potential pulmonary toxicity and tissue damage.

It remains to be seen what regulation and other steps will be taken to protect the public health. Certainly, more studies will be forthcoming and warnings to potential users will become stronger. We may not know the effects of vaping over time until a generation of e-cigarette users can be studied after years of use.

E-cigarettes and extensive vaping will affect your health. Vaping has effects upon gum tissues and upon teeth, as well. We are providing this information because we care about you and about your health. Please tell us if you are vaping – whether your e-cigarettes do or do not contain nicotine. We want to do all that we can to protect your health.