Vaping: Sheffield involved in biggest cardiovascular vaping study in world following UK disposable vape ban

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The study, which is still recruiting participants, will continue as planned despite the upcoming ban on single-use vapes.

Sheffield Hallam and Leeds Beckett universities are working on the biggest research study in the world into the long-term impact of vaping on the heart and lungs. 

The study, funded by Heart Research UK, is looking for 100 Sheffield volunteers across four groups: those who currently vape but have never smoked; those who currently both vape and smoke; ex-smokers who vape; and ex-smokers who do not vape.

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It will also recruit 100 participants from Leeds. The number of participants, extent of tests, and length of the study makes it the most thorough study so far into the long-term cardiovascular impacts of vaping.

Dr Markos Klonizakis, the lead researcher at Sheffield Hallam, has confirmed that the study will continue as planned despite the recently announced ban on disposable vapes.

He said: “The recent developments on disposable vapes do make it all too topical. Hopefully, it will interest people more about the effects on their health and they will want to join the study.

“We know that smoking does terrible things to the heart and veins. If you start vaping instead of smoking, you get an improvement in cardiovascular function, but we don't know what happens in the long term for these different subgroups.”

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The research team will investigate and measure vascular health, risk factors for heart disease, blood test data, and lung function. All this information will be available to the participant.

Dr Klonizakis said: “This is a very widespread habit and we cannot make decisions based on speculation. And for people to make decisions about their own health we need to know the facts, and at the moment we don’t.”

Around seven per cent of adults in England were vaping in 2021. In 2023, more than 20 per cent of UK children aged 11 to 17 have tried it, and 7.6 per cent are vaping regularly.

Dr Klonizakis added: “We need to help the people who make decisions to make the right decisions based on scientific evidence. For example, it is recommended that using vaping as an alternative to smoking is good, but you aren’t allowed to vape outside a hospital, which is a bit conflicting.”

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Participants in the study can attend either Leeds Beckett University’s Headingley Campus or Sheffield Hallam University every six months for a total of five times over the course of two years, with each visit taking approximately one hour.  

If you are interested in taking part, contact Emma McIntosh ([email protected]) to take part in Sheffield.

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