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Ascorbic Acid Prevents Vascular Endothelial Dysfunction Induced by Electronic Hookah (Waterpipe) Vaping

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Background Electronic hookah (e-hookah) vaping has increased in popularity among youth, who endorse unsubstantiated claims that flavored aerosol is detoxified as it passes through water. However, e-hookahs deliver nicotine by creating an aerosol of fine and ultrafine particles and other oxidants that may reduce the bioavailability of nitric oxide and impair endothelial function secondary to formation of oxygen-derived free radicals. Methods and Results We examined the acute effects of e-hookah vaping on endothelial function, and the extent to which increased oxidative stress contributes to the vaping-induced vascular impairment. Twenty-six healthy young adult habitual hookah smokers were invited to vape a 30-minute e-hookah session to evaluate the impact on endothelial function measured by brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD). To test for oxidative stress mediation, plasma total antioxidant capacity levels were measured and the effect of e-hookah vaping on FMD was examined before and after intravenous infusion of the antioxidant ascorbic acid (n=11). Plasma nicotine and exhaled carbon monoxide levels were measured before and after the vaping session. Measurements were performed before and after sham-vaping control experiments (n=10). E-hookah vaping, which increased plasma nicotine (+4.93±0.92 ng/mL, P<0.001; mean±SE) with no changes in exhaled carbon monoxide (-0.15±0.17 ppm; P=0.479), increased mean arterial pressure (11±1 mm Hg, P<0.001) and acutely decreased FMD from 5.79±0.58% to 4.39±0.46% (P<0.001). Ascorbic acid infusion, which increased plasma total antioxidant capacity 5-fold, increased FMD at baseline (5.98±0.66% versus 9.46±0.87%, P<0.001), and prevented the acute FMD impairment by e-hookah vaping (9.46±0.87% versus 8.74±0.84%, P=0.002). All parameters were unchanged during sham studies. Conclusions E-hookah vaping has adverse effects on vascular function, likely mediated by oxidative stress, which overtime could accelerate development and progression of cardiovascular disease. Registration URL: Unique identifier: NCT03690427.

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