E-cigarettes not a safer alternative to smoking

UTA researcher suggests vaping just as unhealthy as smoking

Monday, Sep 18, 2023 • Neph Rivera : Contact

Headshot of UTA Professor Ziyad Ben Taleb" _languageinserted="true

Electronic cigarette use, or vaping, has been seen as a potentially less harmful alternative to traditional cigarette smoking. A University of Texas at Arlington expert says otherwise.

New research from Ziyad Ben Taleb, assistant professor in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation and director of the Nicotine and Tobacco Research Laboratory, says that vaping use is just as harmful to the body as cigarette smoking. Ben Taleb’s study appears in the journal Tobacco Induced Diseases.

“Vaping e-cigarettes is not a safe alternative to cigarette smoking, especially when it comes to preserving cardiovascular function,” he said.

In the study, a group of nearly 20 participants attended two lab sessions where they smoked both a traditional cigarette and a pod-based e-cigarette. To measure the effects of the vaping and smoking, the research team measured the rate at which participants’ blood vessels dilated back to their normal size. Results showed delays in that process for both electronic and traditional cigarette use.

“Blood vessel constriction can have major impacts on one’s health in the long term,” Ben Taleb said. “Studies link a delayed reaction and dilation to future negative cardiovascular events like strokes, high blood pressure and heart attacks.”

E-cigarettes’ sleek look, availability of flavors and image in social media and celebrity circles are major reasons why they are seen as a safer cigarette alternative, Ben Taleb said. But he noted their chemical makeup, which includes formaldehyde, causes harmful oxidation in the body.

“This can lead to chronic inflammation that, in turn, can lead to bigger problems in the long run, like clots and cardiovascular tissue damage,” he said.