Research links vaping to cognitive impairment

Adolescents who vape frequently have more uranium and lead in their urine than occasional smokers, according to a study based on data from a survey of adolescents between 13 and 17 years old that includes 200 who only smoke electronic cigarettes.

The study recalls that, as previous research has shown, exposure to certain metals from aerosols and liquids from electronic cigarettes is especially harmful during development.

It is proven that exposure to these substances is related to cognitive impairment, behavioral disorders, respiratory complications, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

Although this is an observational study – so no definitive conclusions can be drawn about the levels of toxic metals – the researchers say that the results prove that It is urgent to apply specific regulations and prevention measures for adolescents.

In this study, published in the journal Tobacco Control, researchers wanted to find out if the levels of potentially toxic metals could be associated with the frequency of vaping and if taste plays a role.

For this, they were based on the responses from the PATH Youth Study, one of the most important national health studies in the US – carried out between December 2018 and November 2019 – which included 1,607 adolescents between 13 and 17 years old. , two hundred of them exclusive smokers of electronic cigarettes.

Urine samples were analyzed to detect the presence of cadmium, lead and uraniumand the frequency of consumption was classified as occasional (1-5 days per month), intermittent (6-19 days) and frequent (more than 20 days).

The flavors were grouped into four mutually exclusive categories: menthol or mint; fruit; sweet, such as chocolate or desserts; and others, such as tobacco, cloves or spices, and alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages.

Of the 200 exclusive consumers (63% women), 65 declared occasional consumption, 45 intermittent and 81 frequent; Information on the frequency of consumption was missing for 9 of them.

The average number of recent puffs per day increased with frequency of consumption: occasional (0.9 puffs), intermittent (7.9 puffs), frequent (27).

In the previous 30 days, 1 in 3 consumers (33%) reported having consumed menthol flavors; half (50%), fruity flavors; just over 15%, sweet flavors; and 2%, other flavors.

More lead and uranium in frequent vapers

Analysis of urine samples showed that lead levels were 40% higher among intermittent smokers and 30% higher among frequent smokers than among occasional smokers.

Uranium levels in urine were also twice as high among frequent smokers as among occasional smokers.

When comparing between flavors, the study showed uranium levels 90% higher between vapers who preferred sweet flavors to those who opted for menthol/mint.

No statistically significant differences were found in urinary cadmium levels between vaping frequency or flavor types.

Being an observational study, they were unable to draw definitive conclusions about the levels of toxic metals and the frequency or flavors of vaping. Additionally, the levels of toxic metals in vapes will vary depending on the brand and type of vaporizer used, the study points out.

But the study warns of a particularly worrying fact: the increase in uranium levels in the sweet flavor category.

The sweet taste of electronic cigarettes can suppress the harmful effects of nicotine and enhance its reinforcing effects, which leads to greater brain reactivity,” they warn.

(With information from EFE)