New Study Says Vaping Could Lead to DWI

by Staff Reporter / Jan 26, 2016 / comments

New Study Says Vaping Could Lead to DWI

Staff Report

A recent study by Yale University researchers found that people who used e-cigarettes performed poorly on psychomotor tests and had detectable levels of alcohol in their system.  E-cigs deliver nicotine to the user by vaporizing liquids, many of which contain alcohol and other chemicals.  Tests included one group of people who used liquids that had high levels of alcohol in them and another group that had low levels of alcohol in the vaping fluids. Neither group said they felt differently but the people who used the high level of alcohol liquid were affected by alcohol. 

“They didn’t actually know they were under the influence of alcohol.  It still affected their performance,” said Mehmet Sofuoglu, lead researcher and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine.

Sofuoglu said the study showed how e-cig users could end up being too impaired to drive because of how much more quickly and efficiently alcohol affected the brain after people inhaled vaporized booze compared to drinking it.

IN response to this study, the Santa Fe County DWI Program issued a warning that puffing on an e-cig while drinking could increase a person’s blood alcohol content without them realizing it.  “A beer or two and vaping all night could be enough to end the evening in handcuffs if you get behind the wheel and drive.” said a Santa Fe County press release.

“If you have any doubt about your ability to drive safely, don’t get behind the steering wheel. Take a Cab Ride Home instead.  Deaths due to drunk drivers were low for 2015 in Santa Fe County.  Tragically 4 people died, one less than the 5 that died needlessly in 2014, but even one is too many,” said Lupe Sanchez Santa Fe County DWI Program Coordinator.    

For residents of Santa Fe County, the Cab Ride Home service is offered Friday and Saturday nights and select holidays from 5:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Crash and arrest data show this is typically when more drunk drivers are on the road.  The Cab Ride Home program costs $5 for 1 or 2 people and $10 for 3 or more.  The DWI Program subsidizes the first $25 for these Cab Rides Home. Call 438-0000 for a ride.  A concerted public awareness campaign designed to remind people to not drink and drive, and enhanced and coordinated law enforcement activity are shown to be effective in lowering drunken driving crashes and fatalities.