Researchers are searching for volunteers to take part in a new study being launched into the potential health effects of passive vaping.
Experts from the universities of Dundee, Abertay, and St Andrews will collaborate on the Vascular Effects of Passive Exposure (Vape) study, which aims to determine what – if any – health impacts vaping in close proximity to others has on their vascular health.
The study will focus on the effects on women and children and researchers are looking to recruit 300 of them to take part.
Researchers said it is “imperative” that any risks to vascular health from passive vaping are identified as e-cigarettes grow in popularity.
Jacob George, professor of cardiovascular medicine and therapeutics at Dundee and Vape’s chief investigator, said: “The health effects of passive smoking are well-established but very little is known about the potential risks of passive vaping.
“Following the explosion in popularity of e-cigarettes, determining how these impact on the vascular health of bystanders is critically important.
“These devices are often perceived as less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, but there is potential that they could be having negative health impacts on those living with or sharing spaces with those using them, including children.”
Vape researchers are looking to recruit women over the age of 18 who do not vape or smoke, and children between the ages of five and 12 who live in a household where there is regular exposure to tobacco smoke or e-cigarette vapes.
Recruits will be asked to attend a brief appointment with investigators, where basic measurements will be taken and health information recorded.
The next day, participants will be asked to provide saliva and urine samples, which will be collected from their homes and analysed.
Both adults and children will receive shopping vouchers up the value of £40 for their participation.
It comes as concern around the potential health impact of vaping rises, with paediatricians calling on the Scottish Government to ban disposable vapes.
Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf has already said a complete ban is not off the table, with an expert group looking at the issue.
Professor George said: “Non-smokers may actively avoid people smoking tobacco cigarettes, being aware of the negative health effects and because of the associated smell of cigarette smoke.
“However, less stigma surrounds vaping as they are often manufactured with sweet, synthetic smells that may not prove as unpleasant to someone who does not use the device.
“Because of this lack of a deterrent to non-vapers, it is imperative that any risks to vascular health from passive vaping are identified and that is what the Vape study aims to resolve.”
Professor George is regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on the cardiovascular effects of vaping.
In 2019 he published the findings of Vesuvius, a British Heart Foundation-commissioned study on the vascular impact of e-cigarettes versus tobacco cigarettes.
It found that chronic smokers who transitioned to e-cigarettes made significant gains in vascular health.
That study also found that women who made the move made increased gains in health over men, which is why the Vape study is focusing on female subjects.
The Vape study is backed by the NHS Tayside Endowment Fund.
Alberto Fiore, professor of food technology and chemistry at Abertay University, has led previous studies looking at vaping.
He said: “Vaping remains a better option than smoking and has clear benefits when viewed as a cessation tool, but the recent growth in popularity, particularly among children, is a cause for concern.
“Despite that growth, vaping is still a relatively new lifestyle choice in terms of us fully understanding the cardiovascular effects, so it is vital that we continue to research both active and passive vaping to build up a reliable dataset that can inform any future decision making around health policy, regulation and marketing rules.”
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