a man vapes while looking at his phone

In Search of Safer Vaping

Jun 6, 2023 | Campus Connections, Spring 2023

Vaping is often seen as a safer alternative to cigarette smoking, and its popularity has exploded in recent years, especially among young people. But some researchers are concerned that vaping – technically referred to as electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) – poses health risks. Vaping tools heat liquid to high temperatures in order to vaporize it, which creates a chemical reaction that generates potentially toxic products such as formaldehyde and acrolein, says Nathan Jackson, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Jackson is partnering with Pavan Muttil from the College of Pharmacy and Katie Zychowski from the College of Nursing to assess the feasibility of developing safer vaping technology. “Our technology uses a silicon substrate, where no metal is in contact with the liquid and it uses less heat, so potentially we can reduce the health risks associated with vaping,” Jackson said. “Also, our technology can generate micro-scale droplets instead of the nano-scale droplets found in current vaping tools, so that means that droplets are less likely to enter the blood stream and cluster together, which could also result in safer aerosols.” The trio has received a pilot award for a study called “Droplet and Metal Particle Analysis of ENDS,” from the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Spring 2023 Mirage Magazine Features


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