Vaping is just as bad for your heart as cigarettes, landmark study finds

Sustained use of e-cigarettes can significantly impair function of body’s blood vessels, reports suggest

Holly Bancroft
Thursday 27 October 2022 11:54 BST
Juul CEO discourages non-smokers from vaping
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Long-term use of vaping products can be just as bad for your heart as smoking normal cigarettes, two new studies have found.

Scientists have found that sustained use of electronic cigarettes can significantly impair the function of the body’s blood vessels, leaving people at increased risk of heart disease.

The negative effect of tobacco on the heart has long been recognised, but less has been known about the impact of vaping.

Now an American study claims that the impact of vaping on blood vessel function is similar to the effect of smoking.

Researchers carried out two studies - one on humans and the other on rats. In the first study, they collected blood samples from 120 volunteers.

The volunteers were made up of long-term e-cigarette users, long-term smokers, and those who didn’t use either.

Long-term vapers were defined as users of e-cigarettes more than five times a week for more than three months. Long-term smokers were defined as having more than five cigarettes a day.

Long-term vapers may experience a similar risk of heart disease as regular smokers

They then tested the ability of molecules to pass through a layer of blood cells to the other side.

The more molecules that can pass through, the greater the risk of heart disease. They also tested the blood vessels’ ability to release nitric oxide, a chemical marker used to evaluate whether the cells are functioning properly.

“In our human study, we found that chronic e-cigarette users had impaired blood vessel function, which may put them at increased risk for heart disease,” said Matthew Springer, study leader and professor of cardiology at the University of California.

“It indicates that chronic users of e-cigarettes may experience a risk of vascular disease similar to that of chronic smokers,” he said.

E-cigarettes could lead to harmful health effects on the heart

In their rat study, the scientists found that there was not a single component that could be removed from the vapours of e-cigarettes that would stop the damaging effect on the heart.

“What I like to tell people is this: just breathe clean air and avoid using these products,” professor Springer said.

Lisa Postow, from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in the US, said the results “provide further evidence that exposure to e-cigarettes could lead to harmful cardiovascular health effects.”

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