Impact of E-cigarette flavorings on blood vessels

How the study was done

To carry out this study, researchers set up several lab tests where they examined what happened to endothelial cells to various e-cigarette flavorings.

These are cells commonly found in the arteries and veins. The impact of different concentrations was tested with popular flavorings like butter, banana, mint, eucalyptus, clove, cinnamon, vanilla, and burnt.

All these flavorings were found to damage cells under high concentrations during the lab tests. Vanilla, mint, burnt, clove and cinnamon impaired the production of nitric oxide. This molecule is necessary for preventing inflammation and clotting such that blood vessels can widen when blood pressure is too high.

“The absence of nitric oxide matters a lot given that it is linked to heart disease outcomes such as strokes and heart attacks,” explained Jessica Fetterman of Boston University School of Medicine and lead author of the study.

Fetterman added that this was the initial changes they saw in the blood vessels in the manner in which heart disease progresses and is one of the earliest indicators of toxicity. “Our study makes it clear that the flavoring additives can lead to cardiovascular disease.”

The e-cigarettes business is a boom

Major United States tobacco companies are into the e-cigarettes business. These normally heat up to convert liquid nicotine and flavorings into a cloud of vapor which the user inhales.

Even if nicotine was to be eliminated in the e-liquids, the flavoring chemicals still endanger the smoker’s lungs. Whereas some of the flavorings are said to be safe for eating, various past studies have shown that it is unsafe to inhale vapor from these chemicals.

In this study, cells from 9 nonsmokers and 12 traditional cigarettes smokers were tested in addition to testing commercially available endothelial cells from human hearts.

When the nonsmoker’s cells were exposed to chemical flavorings, the production of nitric oxide was ruined.

The study was limited by a number of factors, including its small size and the fact that it was not a controlled experiment. Also, clarity was not made with regards to whether these flavorings are more harmful than nicotine.

However, what is known is that vaping is not safer than traditional cigarettes.