Researcher awarded grant to study effects of vaping

OKLAHOMA CITY–With vaping products rising in popularity over the past few years, it is important to focus on how users’ respiratory systems react to the nicotine product.

A researcher at the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center at Stephenson Cancer Center, Alayna Tackett, Ph.D., was recently awarded a five-year research grant by the National Institutes of Health to study the effects of vaping and vape products on human health.

“We’ve had generations to study the effects of combustible tobacco, but this is the first time we are looking at vaping,” Tackett said. “The goal of the study is to examine the effects that vaping has on the respiratory system.”

The grant, worth a total of $983,190, will help Tackett examine the respiratory differences between youth/young adult e-cigarette users and non-users over the course of a year. By measuring the volume of vapor inhaled by e-cigarette users and comparing it to non-users, Tackett will be able to examine the changes in respiratory function. The study will also examine if e-cigarette users become susceptible to other tobacco products, and will determine how the additional products impact users’ respiratory health.

This is one of the first studies in the nation to look at the long-term effects of vaping. Currently, there are no FDA regulations on vaping products and devices, so the results of this study, if taken into account,
could have the potential to inform tobacco regulatory efforts and policy to improve public health.

Tackett’s research is supported in part by the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET). An endowment created by the voters in 2000 to improve the health of Oklahomans, TSET is dedicated to reducing the state’s leading causes of preventable death – cancer and cardiovascular disease – caused by tobacco use and obesity.


Research reported in this press release was supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health under the award number 1K01HL148907-01.


Stephenson Cancer Center at OU Medicine ranks in the Top 50 in the nation for cancer care in the 2019-2020 U.S. News & World Report rankings. As Oklahoma’s only National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center, Stephenson Cancer Center is one of the nation’s elite centers, representing the top 2% of cancer centers in the country. It is the largest and most comprehensive oncology practice in the state, delivering patient-centered, multidisciplinary care for every type of cancer. As one of the nation’s leading research organizations, the Stephenson Cancer Center uses the latest innovations to fight and eliminate cancer, and is currently ranked No. 1 among all cancer centers in the nation for the number of patients participating in clinical trials sponsored by the NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network. For more information, visit


OU Medicine — along with its academic partner, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center — is the state’s only comprehensive academic health system of hospitals, clinics and centers of excellence. With 11,000 employees and more than 1,300 physicians and advanced practice providers, OU Medicine is home to Oklahoma’s largest physician network with a complete range of specialty care. OU Medicine serves Oklahoma and the region with the state’s only freestanding children’s hospital, the only National Cancer Institute-Designated Stephenson Cancer Center and Oklahoma’s flagship hospital, which serves as the state’s only Level 1 trauma center. OU Medicine is the No. 1 ranked hospital system in Oklahoma, and its oncology program at Stephenson Cancer Center and OU Medical Center ranked in the Top 50 in the nation, in the 2019-2020 rankings released by U.S. News & World Report. OU Medicine’s mission is to lead healthcare in patient care, education and research. To learn more, visit

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