YALE. — A new Yale University study finds that people who used a commercially available electronic cigarette liquid with a relatively high alcohol level had their motor skills significantly impaired — even though they didn’t feel like they were “buzzed” from the vaporised booze.
E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular in recent years as users seek alternatives to traditional tobacco products, which cause cancer.
The battery-operated e-cigs vaporise a liquid, which contains nicotine and often flavourings.
“They didn’t actually know they were under the influence of alcohol,” said Dr Mehmet Sofuoglu, a professor at the Yale School of Medicine who co-authored the study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. “It still influenced their performance.”
“In this study, they had motor impairment, but they didn’t know they were intoxicated.”
Several of the study participants ingested enough alcohol via the e-cigs that metabolised booze was detected in their urine.
Sofuoglu said the findings are “worrisome,” particularly on the heels of new data showing a dramatic upward spike in the number of middle school and high school students using e-cigarettes.
There’s also cause for concern, researchers said, because of the popularity among e-cig users of making their own vaping liquids — which can have higher alcohol levels than commercially sold liquids.
Sofuoglu said the study showed how e-cig users, even if they didn’t end up having enough detectable alcohol in their urine to trigger a DUI charge, could end up being “intoxicated” and too impaired to drive because of how much “more quickly and efficiently” alcohol affected the brain after people inhaled vaporised booze compared to drinking it.
E-cig vapours who use liquids high in alcohol content may be on the track to “a faster level of dependence” on both alcohol and nicotine, Sofuoglu said. — CNBC.