ONE 30-minute vaping session increases type of stress in the body that can cause severe lung damage

Just one vaping session can cause stress that leads to severe lung damage and puts a person at risk for heart or neurological diseases, a new study finds. 

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) compared  oxidative stress in the lungs of routine cigarette smokers, vapers and people with no history of long term use of tobacco or nicotine devices. 

Oxidative stress describes the harmful effects that free radicals (unstable molecules) have on the body. 

Vaping for only 30 minutes caused oxidative stress levels two to four times higher than baseline levels in those with no history of previously smoking.

While vapes have been seen as a ‘safer’ alternative to tobacco and cigarette use by some, data in recent years have found there are many negative effects of using the devices.

Researchers found that non-smokers would have two to four times the amount of cells test positive for oxidative stress after vaping for only 30-minutes. Little overall change was found for those with smoking histories, though

For the study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, the UCLA researchers gathered 32 participants from the study aged 21 to 33.

They were split into three groups based on their history with cigarette or nicotine use.

Among the volunteers, there were nine regular cigarette users, 12 e-cigarette or vap, users and 11 participants who were non-smokers.

The team collected a type of immune cell called CD45 from all participants both before and after a 30-minute vaping session.

While those with little smoking history still had lower oxidative stress levels than the regular smokers, their CD45 immune cells were testing positive for oxidative stress at a two to four-fold increased rate. 

‘We were surprised by the gravity of the effect that one vaping session can have on healthy young people,’ said Dr Holly Middlekauff a professor of cardiology and physiology at UCLA. 

‘This brief vaping session was not dissimilar to what they may experience at a party, yet the effects were dramatic.’ 

Even a person that does not regularly use nicotine products can still be opening themselves to certain dangerous conditions, researchers found.

‘Over time, this imbalance can play a significant role in causing certain illnesses, including cardiovascular, pulmonary and neurological diseases, as well as cancer,’ said Middlehauff.   

Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radical cells and antioxidants.

Free radicals are harmful oxygen cells that can cause tissue damage, and antioxidants are responsible for combatting their harmful cells.

The tissue damage can leave a person more vulnerable to diseases like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes, among many other potential conditions.

Oxidative stress caused by using vapes or smoking can put someone at an increased risk of developing cancer, Alzheimer's and other conditions

Oxidative stress caused by using vapes or smoking can put someone at an increased risk of developing cancer, Alzheimer’s and other conditions

Smoking is a common cause of oxidative stress, and the damage it can cause to the lungs is responsible for the well-known link between lung cancer and smoking. 

E-cigarettes, and the brand JUUL which has become almost synonymous with the devices, have become widely used by teens and young adults.

JUUL first rose to prominence in 2015 as an easy, trendy and discrete way for people to smoke nicotine.

Their use among school-aged children can be attributed to their flavors, and the devices resemblance to a USB stick, allowing kids to easily carry them at school without getting caught.

Devices like JUULs are largely blamed for a recent increase in nicotine use by teens and young adults.

In 2020, nearly 40 percent of high schoolers who regularly smoke nicotine did so using an e-cigarette, according to a report by Tobacco Free Kids.

There has also been a legislative effort across the country to ban devices like vapes, e-cigarrettes and even menthol cigarettes that are blamed for the recent uptick in teen nicotine and tobacco use.

Researchers have found a link between teens using devices like vapes and e-cigarettes and the eventual use of cigarettes and tobacco

Researchers have found a link between teens using devices like vapes and e-cigarettes and the eventual use of cigarettes and tobacco

Last year, sale of all electronic cigarettes was banned in San Francisco and Chicago banned the sale of flavored nicotine.

The entire state of New York became the first to do so when they banned the sale of flavored tobacco products last year.

A bill in Florida that would have done the same passed through the state legislature in 2020, but was vetoed by Governor Ron DeSantis. 

Menthol cigarettes, which have a mint-type flavor, have recently been targeted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and are being pulled off of shelves.

The FDA claims the cigarettes are more likely to hurt minority and younger Americans, though some disagree with the potential ban.

Menthol cigarettes are already banned in Massachusetts, and also in the United Kingdom, Brazil and other countries.

A previous study finds that these types of bans could have a reverse effect though, and cause an increase in teenage tobacco use. 

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